Trip Date: Sunday, August 3, 2014
Elevation Gain (m): 550
Round Trip Time (hr): 6
Total Trip Distance (km): 11
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1/2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties but there are some very steep sections of trail that some hikers won’t be used to.
Technical Rating: TL3; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps
On Sunday, August 3 2014, I took my family on a day hike that I’d wanted to do for a long time already – Picklejar Lakes. There are a couple of scrambles in the area but I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t be doing those – I’d save them for another day. Lineham Ridge and “Picklejar Peak” (a GR nearby). We arrived at the Lantern Creek parking lot (note: you don’t start at the Picklejar day use area for this route) at around 09:30 and could immediately see that something wasn’t right. There were four vehicles in the parking lot and every single one of them had its driver’s side window smashed in!! Not cool. After walking around the vehicles we could tell that all of them were there over night. We debated whether to hike or not but reasoned that the thieves were long gone and not likely to come back during the day. A few other vehicles were driving in already and this is a very busy hike. As a precaution we took all our valuables along and I left my window part way down with a note on the driver’s side telling the thieves to “feel free to look for valuables but please don’t smash my window”!
We crossed hwy 40 and started up the obvious road / path leading into the trees on the north side of Lantern Creek. From here it was a very obvious trail right to the lakes. This is a popular hike and now I know why! The wild flowers were amazing both in number and variety, and the views were also very acceptable for a hike. There were a few steep parts and some damage from the 2013 floods, but nothing major. Accessing the lakes from Lantern Creek means losing about 75 meters over the shoulder of Lineham Ridge to the fourth lake (first one you reach) but I would recommend this route rather than the Picklejar trail / connector.
We hiked all the way to the first lake and I hiked to a ridge above treeline to see what the views were like from there. My total height gain was about 100-150 meters more than just hiking the lakes would be. It took us less than 5 hours and we took our time and ate lunch etc. A very highly recommended hike – bring your fishing rod, there are cutthroat trout in lakes four and two.