Commonly Backpacked · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers
The hike to Darndanelles Lake features a short, steady climb to Big Meadow, full of wildflowers in season; then a long, gradual ascent to a ridge with beautiful views of the peaks surrounding Dardanelles Lake. After the ridge, the trail descends through beautiful forest and crosses a couple of shallow creeks before arriving a lovely, granite-rimmed Dardanelles Lake.
Need to Know
The parking at the trailhead is free and bathrooms are located in the parking area.
The trailhead is at the lower end of the parking lot. The flat trail takes you a few hundred yards before crossing Highway 89. After a short climb through pines and aspens, you'll reach a signed junction. Take a hard right on the trail to Meiss Lake and ascend to aptly named Big Meadow.
Cross Big Meadow and climb gently through a conifer forest. Occasionally you'll pass by a meadow or hike by a sage and aspen dotted slope. Reach the top of the ridge and glance down at the beautiful panorama of the mountains around Dardanelles Lake.
A well-graded descent takes you to another junction. Take the Lakes Valley Trail and continue through a beautiful forest of aspen, pine, and fir. After 0.2 miles, a junction to Dardanelles Lake is reached. Turn left toward Dardanelles Lake and cross a small creek on stepping stones.
After a small, brief ascent, Dardanelles Lake comes into view. Across the beautiful lake, there are gorgeous views of a striking ridgeline. On the south end of the lake, sheer cliffs drop into the clear, shallow water. The whole lake is ringed with white granite, perfect for relaxing and camping.
Flora & Fauna
Jeffry pines, aspens, firs, and many varieties of wildflowers.
Shared By: Amy Hikesalot