After a few close encounters with the pre-opening mountain bike trail in 2016 I finally got to hike the official trail today.
Before it opened you had to look for a muddy spot on the IHT about 2 miles from the parking lot and bushwhack up to the under-construction trail but now that it is open the trail head could hardly be more obvious:
As of now, this trail goes east and intersects the Mt. Washington trail at the pond, then goes across the northern face at that level (probably about 3400 feet) and then down to just south of what the Olallie map calls Change Lake, aka The Pond.
Last summer Carl and I accidentally found the current eastern terminus; within a year they expect it to go to McClellan Butte.
A good hiking trail but for the mountain bikers among us, this trail seems to be top rate. Three bikers passed me as I was hiking back west, and I asked them how they liked the trail. I got a great five-word review: “Beautiful. Well maintained. Drains well.”
Here are a couple of typical trail views:
I only went part-way and then turned around but a near-term goal is to hike it to near the eastern terminus, split off at the pond shortcut and go back down via Change Creek trail and IHT.
On the way back I detoured off the IHT down the Christmas Lake trail, a little-used trail and way more interesting than the IHT. It borders the northern shore of Christmas Lake most of the way, and just where you leave that section of the trail to head west, there is a nice view of this obscure little lake:
About 7.6 miles total, sure beat working!