In winter we cross country ski or snowshoe the Stake Lake Trails and for a longer route, we sometimes take the Vista Trail from Stake Lake to the Lac le Jeune Lookout. In summer, we may start at Lac le Jeune and hike on the Stake Lake Trails from the south end. One of the routes we have done many times is from the campground beach to the Stake trail system, combining the Ross Moore Forest Service Road, Rustler, the Lookout Loop, and back on other trails in a loop. We often vary the combination of trails for the route back. This last time we hiked Ricochet and Sidewinder.
We know an unmarked single track that goes from Rustler to the top, so we took that shortcut to come out at the viewpoint. From the edge of the bluff we could see all of Lac le Jeune, which is about 3 km long and is surrounded by forest.
We spotted pinedrops (pterospora andromedea) growing just off the trail. It is the tallest of the saprophytic plants (which do not produce leaves and get their nutrients from decaying material in the ground). The small yellowish flowers are urn-shaped and hang on short branches from a tall, upright stem.
Our 8.7 km route took us back to the shores of Lac le Jeune. We had the opportunity for a swim at the beach or stay for lunch, but we were happy for just a 2.5 hour hike on forested trails on a late summer day.
- Follow the trail along the lake as it leads from the beach to the campground fence. There is a posted map there.
- Turn onto the unsigned Ross Moore Forest Service Road (its the only dirt road in the area).
- Where the Stake Lake Trails intersect the road, there are posted maps.
- If you are unfamiliar with the area, stick to the trail system, stopping to check trail signs at intersections.
- Or you can print (or take a screen shot of) the map above and take it with you.