Elevation: 11,700 to 12,300 ft
Elevation Gain: 850 ft (net), 1,100 (cumulative)
Bathroom at the Trailhead: Yes
Dogs: Off leash
Critters: Golden Eagle, White Crowned Sparrow, Jack the rock hound
|Lower Square Top Lake as seen from the upper lake. Mt. Bierstadt in the background.|
|Looking down into the first valley|
|Western Sky Pilot (Polemonium viscosum). Also known as Skunkweed or Jacob's Ladder. It grows at high altitudes on dry rocky sites.|
The trail descends 100 ft into a small valley where is crosses a creek on a series of wooden bridges. It then rises quickly to a large rocky knoll. There were Buddhist payer flags strung across the rocks here and another hiker told me someone had died in an avalanche there.
From this knoll, the trail descends another 100 ft before rising to the first lake. This lake is pretty, but the view from the upper lake is even better. Both lakes are nestled at the base of Square Top Mountain. The trail for that summit forks left half way up the trail to the upper lake. That climb looks like a pleasant diversion and some day I’ll pop up there.
|A small section of the upper lake|
|Alpine Sunflower (Hymenoxys grandiflora). Also known as Old-Man-of-the-Mountain. They bloom in clumps from May to June and turns to face the sun.|
|The White Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophyrus) is a migratory songbird that mainly eats seeds. There were many of them singing away in the willows. I have a better photo on my Mayflower Gulch Wildflower Hike|
|The rock hound|