Cedar Lake – Swan Valley (Back Country)
First back country hike of the season! We were so excited as we scoped out our hike online using topographic maps and trail descriptions. So after some discussion Cedar Lake was decided on, an intermediate 7 mile hike.
First things first, we ended up driving right past our turn and of course there’s not even a glimpse of cell phone service down there. Wooh, the adventure begins ;)
Fatty Creek Road is in no way marked from the highway and very easily passed but if you look hard enough you can see a “bear warning sign” a little ways down the road. From there it doesn’t get much better as far as road signage goes, there’s no sign until you get a around 6 miles in. Here it finally says FSR 10182 which promptly turns right and becomes FSR 10381, follow that all the way up and you hit the trail head.
The trail is stellar early on with a creek to wade and then you hit great big rock cliffs.
We ended up having to carry our little dog RON across the creek, he’s our newly adopted French Bulldog! So far… he seems pretty unsure about water. He just gives that “Have you lost your damn mind?!” look.
After about 1.5-2 miles of the trek in you come upon a no name lake, it’s a cute lake and the trail took us right down by the shore of it so we could get a good view.
Continuing on we immediately met consistent snow… quickly turning in to very deep snow. Luckily the snow pack was hard enough that we were able to hike over it with ease… so long as we paid close attention not to step on any pockets. The trail was lost but only 1.5-2 miles of forest and mountain was between us and our coveted destination, Cedar Lake. We must keep going!
Some rest was taken to ensure our smaller companions health and make him more comfortable. We also took time to snack on our power bars, jerky and trail mix which is an essential part of any hike!
He even took a short nap. Now back on the trail…
We looked for a low point in the ridge in front of us an were greeted by a view when we hit the top. So close to the lake now! You can see it as soon as you hit the top although it’s still a deceiving distance away.
We found our way down the other side of the mountain and straight to the tip of a rock cliff, while the view was gorgeous we did have to back track a small amount to make it closer to the actual lake shore.
It’s still pretty early in the season for these back country hikes so the lake was rather high, not easily accessible and still encased by a ring of ice. Of course this makes it all the more pleasing to look at!
For the panoramic view of the lake I would highly suggest following this link to get a better look. – Click Here –
However, here is a small glimpse:
And one more photo of the splendor before I wrap up this trail expedition!
It is like that this trail would be considered intermediate but due to the amount of snow and loss of the trail it ended up being an advanced trek.
DISTANCE 7.15 mi
ELEVATION GAIN 2182 ft
TOTAL TIME 04:58:43
AVERAGE SPEED 3.15 mph
MOVING TIME 02:16:15
MAX SPEED 7.43 mph