: The distances and times noted here are one way, from the trailhead to the campground at the lake.
The trail starts out the same as Grizzly Ridge
, winding through the forest for the first 15 minutes following along Cairns Creek. The elevation gain is gradual until the trail switch-backs up the slope, gaining elevation and exchanging the forest for subalpine shrubs.
The climb to the ridge is direct, gaining elevation quickly. There is a viewpoint partway up with the first glimpse of Mount Monolith at the end of Grizzly Valley. Once on the ridge there are moderate ups and downs and the trail stays mostly on the top or contours along the side of the ridge for most of the hike. The trail is marked with rock cairns and yellow flagging essentially all the way to the lake.
The trail drops down to a large meadow, and then continues along the side of the ridge. Once you turn the corner, you will start to slowly lose elevation but gain beautiful views of Grizzly Lake and the rocky peaks surrounding it, with Mount Monolith in the background. Once down in the valley bottom continue following the trail to the campground, crossing a small stream just before reaching the first few tent sites. The campground has ten tent pads, a cooking shelter, a grey water barrel, bear proof lockers and an outhouse. If you are camping at the lake you will need to register and pick up a permit from the Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre. Registration
can be done online through the parks website or in person at the centre.
The ground squirrels at the campground love to chew on your sweaty gear that is left on the ground. Backpack straps and the tops of hiking poles are their favorite. Always keep your belongings in your tent, including your hiking poles, if you want to be able to use them again.