I needed to get out just for one night, get some hiking in and sleep in the woods. I realized that I hadn’t been up this trail in years, and its the perfect overnighter. The trailhead itself is an easy hours drive from town. You can find camping spots ranging from a few hundred yards from the trail head to miles and miles down trail, as far out as you want to hike.
This trail gets shitloads of day hikers all year long, large groups, and plenty of backpackers when conditions aren’t completely miserable. Ive seriously seen groups of over 20 people on the trail. The crowds and trail runners take the trail along the river up to the first viewpoint, not over 4 miles in. After that its gravy. This time of year, at least, you won’t run into too many others beyond that first viewpoint.
After that first beautiful vista, I only ran into a couple of other backpackers with an end goal similar to mine. However we all bailed because we were starting to hit snow and we had another 1000 feet of elevation to reach our goal. We didn’t bring our snowshoes, cause we would have only been using them for the last little bit to the top. So we just stuck around up here with shitty views like what you see above.
You’ll see old growth, beautiful meadows and vistas, and have no trouble finding water. In high season, it’ll be full. However, once you push out a little farther, you’ll leave the crowds behind and find a spot more closely resembling wilderness rather than an REI catalog.