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black Upper Cannon Lake


1.2 mile 1.9 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,047' 319 m
Descent: -40' -12 m
High: 8,142' 2,482 m
Low: 7,098' 2,163 m


Avg Grade: 17% (10°)
Max Grade: 50% (26°)


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Trail shared by Joseph States


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A secret gem of a lake that most overlook while passing through.

Joseph States

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Not so far from a parking lot. You could make a day trip of it from Windy Saddle or stay the night and head out later.

See postings at Windy Saddle Campground prior to heading into this area. Dry summers and lighting can make remote areas risky. The lake is cold all year but not too cold for a brisk swim. Rocks are very sharp, be warned.


An incredible blue, snow-fed lake awaits your short but steep hiking efforts. This trail has never been officially added to the government trail maps and thus has no maintenance plan. It is, however, somewhat well established with over 150 cairn markers that start on the summit of Lower Cannon Lake Trail #126 just above Lower Cannon Lake.

This trail is quite easy as it runs from cairn to cairn up the ridge. That easy hiking gives way as you start to assault the face of the canyon and climb steeper and steeper. If at anytime you feel like you lost the trail, just stop and scan for a cairn, the trail reappears like magic. (sometimes you wonder how you didn't see it) About 2/3 the way there, the trail plays a bittersweet trick on you, leading you to think you are coming over the top and almost there! It is only a sweet meadow area with a sweet waterfall coming down a sweet cliff! Stay with the cliff as you pass the waterfall and scramble up a steep, somewhat loose trail section to get up out of the meadow area. You are almost there!

Continue following the cairns up a steep valley to a great fall camping area and from there down onto the rocky lake shore. Some may stop here, but there is more to see if you continue along the shore to the mouth of the lake and a spectacular view. The trip back down is somehow easier to navigate and much faster. (You may wonder why it took as long as it did to get up)

Flora & Fauna

Loads of wild flowers and big friendly bumble bees. Mountain goats that let you get closer to them than a smart person should.


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Sep 2, 2017
Joseph States
Well worth the added efforts! Unlike Lower Cannon Lake, this one is cold and clear. 2.4mi

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