Another beautiful hike, this time near the end of the day to catch the setting sun full on Crystal Crag. The trail head is clearly marked, and begins next to the parking area for Lake George.
The trail is shaded and a bit steeper than our previous hikes, as the grade is fairly continuously up from the trail head to the highest elevation before the brief descent to Crystal Lake. Once you climb up a bit, the views of Lake Mary and Lake George are phenomenal! The drop off is quite close to the edge of the trail, so please use caution, especially with young kids, on this portion of the hike.
The views when you look up are just as incredible, with Crystal Crag rising above the lakes below, catching the light of the setting sun. After a number of switchbacks, the trail finally levels out and then splits, with the left fork going down to Crystal Lake, and the right fork continuing up to Mammoth Crest. As you walk down to Crystal Lake, you can hear the outlet creek and waterfall racing down the side of the hill to the lakes below. In just over 1/4 mile, you are walking by the creek and then on the shore of a beautiful alpine lake. This is an out-and-back hike, so the return walk is down the same trail, and somehow goes much faster than the journey up.