Burnt Lake Trail
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Although the distance in is relatively short, traveling on Burnt Lake Trail can be a rugged proposition. The rough access, longer and less steep, is reached by traveling up the rough and narrow gravel Road 27. A high clearance vehicle is required for the last mile. At this trailhead, the trail follows an abandoned road to Devil’s Meadows, which is reached in 1.8 miles. There is ample camping under many groves of trees in this area.
The portion of the trail from Devil’s Meadow to East Zigzag climbs through open areas bordered with beargrass and rhododendrons. From East Zigzag, the trail descends rapidly through some ledgy areas to Burnt Lake. This is an extremely fragile and popular camping area, with limited opportunity for locating minimal impact sites. If a quiet experience in the vicinity of Burnt Lake is desired, arrive early in the day and then scout out a flat spot tucked in the trees.
The lake itself is located in a deep basin in which noise echoes and travels to such a degree that a barking dog can impact everyone’s experience. A loop trail around the lakeshore is spattered with colorful wildflowers.
From the lake, the trail steeply descends a rugged slope until it enters an area of severe blowdown which occurred over a period of three years. Use extreme caution because of potential fire hazard. After the steep slope, the trail travels through the forest at a very gradual grade to the wilderness trailhead on Road 1825-109. Two day hike loops featuring a variety of wildflowers and views can be made from Road 27.
Directions: From Sandy: 1) Travel east on Highway 26 1.4 miles past Rhododendron to Road 2627, which is located on the north side of the highway. Follow 2627-207, a rough and narrow road not suitable for trailers, to its end at the trailhead in 4.3 miles.2) Travel 18 miles east on Highway 26 to Zigzag and turn left (north) onto Lolo Pass Road (Road 18). Continue four miles, bear right, and on Road 1825 cross bridge and then continue 1.7 miles to a junction. Bear right on 1825 and follow it for 0.3 miles until the pavement ends. Keep left, continue 0.04 miles and bear right onto 1825-109. Follow this road another 0.09 miles until its end at the edge of a large harvest unit and the trailhead.
Seasonal Access: Normally Accessible: Summer-Fall
Facility Type: Trail
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