This trail goes from timbered land along the creek to high alpine areas at the base of Sawtooth Mountain. The first three miles, up to the Weminuche Wilderness boundary, are on a gentle incline along the creek. The trail then climbs more steeply, alternately passing through meadows and spruce timber stands. From several locations, the views are splendid: across Hope Creek to the bowls of Mount Hope, other mountains on the Continental Divide and the mountain ranges in the distance. The last 1/2 mile is above timberline and also offers magnificent scenery.
Directions from South Fork: Drive 11 miles west on U.S. Highway 160 to Big Meadows Road and go 3 miles to Shaw Lake to the trailhead.
June through September .
Current Conditions & Trip Reports
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Filed By: Alvin Crosswhite
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl Recommend to a Friend: Neutral Report: The first mile into the trail was a rather bleak experience. The trail was well littered with the occassional beer can, plastic bags, and even a dirty diaper. Once you get past the walking distance limit that most people who would want to litter in a national forest are willing to exert themselves (about a 1/4 mile), the trail proved splendid. Although poorly maintained in the upper portions, the trail offered beautiful views of the saddle between the two highest peaks. A veritable garden of Eden replete with wildflower displays that looked as though they were planted by a master gardener await the hiker who is willing to brave the steep, rocky parts of the trail and the almost veritcal switchbacks of the uppermost portion.
Hiking & Walking
Hope Creek Trail
Goes to the base of Sawtooth Mountain
Big Meadows Reservoir - Rainbow trout, brook trout and some native cutthroat trout are in the reservoir. There is ample parking and turn around space and a paved boat ramp at the north end. Boating is suitable for rafts to small motor boats.
Continental Divide - Sawtooth Mountain to Knife Ed - This trail segment begins with a 1/4 mile traverse of the cliffs that form the fable Knife Edge. From here to Piedra Pass, the trail goes up and down like a roller coaster in reasonably short, steep pitches.
Highland Trail - Some people prefer to use the Hunters Lake trail (Forest Trail 800) which goes straight toward the Stairsteps. The Stairsteps are another scenic attraction of the Weminuche Wilderness.
Kitty Creek Trail - The trail is steep and susceptible to wind fall trees. In general, the trail is very scenic and maintains a steady incline along the creek.