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Jewel Lake

We woke up at our campsite, ate breakfast, and headed to our first real hike in State Forest State Park. We picked out Jewel Lake because it was the hardest hike we were planning on doing and figured we should do that on our first day when we're better rested rather than on our second day. The morning was really overcast and windy. The wind blew some smoke into the valley which made all the surrounding mountains extremely hazy.

I had no idea what to expect from this hike in terms of distance. Online, the hike is about 6 miles and 1,500ft of elevation. However, the first mile of that was hiking on a road to get to a closer trailhead. So our plan was to drive to the closest trailhead so we could do the least amount of work to get to the lake. We passed the first trailhead and immediately noticed a sign that said no 2-wheeled drive vehicles. Being in a Subaru, we were set with our 4-wheel drive and continued on. The road quickly turned rocky and bumpy. After making it about halfway and being concerned about popping a tire the entire time, we decided to park our car on the side of the road and hike the rest of the way.

The hike ended up being just under 5 miles with our odd starting point mid-way between trailheads and took us about 3 hours. We climbed a total of 1,300 feet in elevation. The hike was extremely windy and the lake was not all that interesting (at least for an alpine lake), not to mention that it was incredibly hazy. So we didn't stay at the lake for too long and instead headed back down the trail to get into the trees to sit and eat our lunch in a less windy spot. The hike was disappointing, but the highlight was when we got back to our car - which was parked obviously not at a trailhead - there were 2 other cars that parked next to us, presumably because they had the same concerns that we did in that the road was too sketchy to try and continue.

Trailhead Location
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4.83 mi 2.8 hrs 11,228 ft 1,365 ft
View Graph
Couple of Foxes
Hiking the Road
In the Flowers
Parry’s Primrose
Forbidden Bread
On the Bridge Again
Green Everywhere
Jewel Lake
Mountain Pika
Tangled with the Trees
Bee Killer
Wild Porcupine
Long Claws
Field Of Flowers