Trip Report    

Backpacking Building Blocks Student Backpack - Royal Creek

Moderate backpack with great views and easy access.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The trail itself is in good shape and well marked. There were some downed trees but nothing impassable. As I mention in my trip report, there is one big blow down but you can pick your way through the mass of trees to get back on the trail without too much effort.

    The weather this year has made things tricky. Due to the rapidly melting snow in the hot conditions, some of the trail up by the meadows is extremely muddy. There was also still some snow on the trail up to the lake but it was getting spotty by this time of year so easy to navigate (no microspikes needed).

    The lake is mostly snow-free but if you decide to head up past the lake, it quickly becomes covered in snow (although it is melting quickly with the heat).

We had to shift our plans slightly for this trip since the Group Camp at Royal Lake was still mostly covered in sloppy, wet snow. We camped at Royal Creek instead and did a day hike up to Royal Lake. Permits are required here and they go pretty quickly.

To start, the road is in pretty good condition. There are a few sections of potholes but nothing that would prevent any vehicle from getting up there. There is plenty of parking at the TH. Yu can park in the actual lot or in the area just across from the TH. The trail itself was also in pretty good condition. There were a few downed trees that were easy to maneuver around. There is one area with a big blowdown over the trail that you have to carefully pick your way over a pile of trees but nothing that is impassable.

Because of the weird weather this year, we had to change our permits to Royal Creek. Be aware that there is max of 6 people at each of these campsites. We were lucky that we only had 6 people (we ended up with only 5 since one dropped) that had signed up. There are three campsites big enough for small group along the river. The first camp is super visible from the trail and you can tell is the most used. If you walk into that camp and see what almost looks like a game trail on the other side, follow it to camp 2 and beyond that one is camp 3. They are all about the same size. We had 4 1p tents and 1 2p tent with everyone right next to each other. 6 would be doable but the ranger is correct, no more than that. Easy access to water though and the camp is in good condition. 

As we got close to the lake and entered the Lower Meadow, we ran into some areas of the trail that became giant mud puddles due to all the recent snow melt. The meadow itself was clear and full of wildflowers.  There are a few small camps (fit about 2 tents) in the meadow on the right as you head up to the lake. 

There was still a bit snow on the trail heading up to the lake but it was melting out fast due to the hot weather so no need for microspikes. The view at the lake is stunning! As we went around the trail to the right, we found several of the camp spots. They are all pretty small and meant for a single tent. The group camp is just beyond the lake as you follow the trail down into a valley area. Due to all the snow melting and the creeks through there being high, it was pretty soggy down in that area and still mostly covered in a couple of feet of snow. 

Despite having a long day hike due to last-minute changes, the trip was a total success!