Fall Colors · Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The road isn't plowed in winter, but makes for a good snowshoe up to Rainbow Lake. All of the ruins are privately owned, so respect the no trespassing signs.
Need to Know
Most of this route follows a road, so you might run into a few ATVs along the way.
The Rainbow Trail leaves the Duckett Creek trailhead, heading north towards South Lake Creek and North Lake Creek. Reaching a ridge above South Lake Creek, the trail descends into the blackened trees of a decade old burn scar.
Turning left onto the old mining road that leads to Cloverdale Mine, an uneventful uphill slog switchbacks in and out of the burned forest 3 miles to Rainbow Lake, tucked away in the trees at a large campsite. The road is very rocky, but not too steep, and you might see ATVs along the way. After the first half mile, the Rainbow Trail continues off to the right, and 0.7 miles beyond that, the road flattens at Balman Reservoir.
The road grows rougher above Rainbow Lake. It levels off a little until the switchbacks 5.7 miles from the Duckett Creek Trailhead, at the first mining relics. At another cabin, the switchbacks really start gaining ground in and out of the large rock falls below Wulsten Baldy. They swing wide, and so they never grow too steep, but they are rocky. The switchbacks flatten at a row of cabins. In the scree up to the left you can see Cloverdale Mine.
Follow the road southwest to an intersection. If you turn left at the gate, the road switchbacks another 0.5 miles to end at Cloverdale Mine. This portion of the route is closed to motor vehicles but open to hikers. Continuing straight at the intersection, the road narrows and continues deeper into the valley. It's not steep but you are well above 11,000 feet now.
At 7.5 miles, you'll come to a campsite and a sign. Turn right. The trail is a lot fainter up to the lake and downed trees obscure the way at times. It's easy to lose the way if you let your mind wonder. The trail completely disappears just below the lake.
Flora & Fauna
Deer, coyotes, black bear, elk. Marmots in the higher elevations.
Shared By: Caroline Cordsen