This is a beautiful hike that, “has it all” from wonderful wildflowers and a deep forest to wild creeks and an alpine lake. You will even see an abandoned gold mine along the way!
Begin at the Silver Creek Trailhead, #1192. Continue to follow the Silver Creek Trail up and to your right – do not take the Blue Bell trail, a snowshoe trail. A short distance after the trail flattens out you will pass the remnants of an old ski lift before crossing the open wildflower fields of Gold Hill. You will then enter the forest and pass the abandoned gold mine and cross a picturesque creek on a short wooden bridge.
From here you will gradually climb in the forested shade for a mile until you hit a 3-way intersection. Head right on the Henskin Lake Trail, # 1193 for .6 miles up to the lake. Time here is serene except when it gets buggy. Bring a lightweight fly rod if so inclined.
You can choose to take the Crystal Mountain Trail up to Lake Elizabeth (1 mile and 400 feet) or go down the way you came. The Crystal Mountain Trail continues to the summit once past Lake Elizabeth primarily on ski slopes.