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Lake Agnes

We've been up to Lake Agnes once before while camping in State Forest State Park. During that visit, it was in the middle of summer and it was packed with people because of how easy it is (if you start from the summer parking lot). Since we haven't been up to the Cameron's Peak area in a while, let alone State Forest State Park, we decided that would be the destination for this week's hike. Since this is early spring, the views were the same but completely different.

This weekend's weather turned out to be perfect for hiking - mid 40's and sunny with little wind (only a gust here and there). That might not sound that warm, but it is, and we haven't had a hike where the weather cooperates that well in a while. We started the hike from the winter lot - which was literally just a pull-off from Highway 14. We thought we would be able to drive into State Forest State Park a little to get to the actual winter lot but the entire road was closed. Even starting from further back, the hike only ended up being a little over 5 miles. The worst part was the 200 feet of ascent on the way back up to the parking lot, which by the time we were doing that we were completely exhausted.

Once we made it off the road and onto the start of the trail we lost the trail quickly. We aren't quite sure how it happened, but the error resulted in us going up an incredibly steep ascent to find the trail. That steepness wasn't too dangerous because it was West-facing, but there was some level of avalanche risk in trying to get back on the trail. We were surprised that there wasn't an obvious trail made. Since this is a popular summer hike, we figured there would have been a few more people on the trail and a well-defined trail. But we didn't see anyone else on our hike, except for some skiers in the distance at the lake itself. Besides having to break trail for some steep sections, I prefer it this way and it was a fun adventure trying to find the real trail.

One of the cooler things about this hike is that Lake Agnes has an island in the middle. When we were there over the summer we thought about swimming across - but even in the July heat, this is still a freezing cold alpine lake. But in April, the lake is completely frozen, so I decided to simply walk to the island. I tried to get up to the top but quickly abandoned that idea after I made a few steps where I sank down to my waist and had a difficult time recovering. The island was unfortunately not stable enough to summit with several feet of loosely packed snow on it - one misstep could have had me buried. But I can now say I've made it to the island on Lake Agnes, something that I'm sure many people can't say they've done.

Trailhead Location
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5.27 mi 3.6 hrs 10,755 ft 1,355 ft
View Graph
Looking Back
Braddock Peak
Awesome Lunch Spot
On the Lake
North Diamond Peak