|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
This out-and-back to Chase Lake is an easy 6 mile trip with only small change in elevation. The deer flies were very bad on this summer day, so make sure to bring bug spray or even a headnet to keep them at bay.
From the dead-end at the end of Pinnacle Road, the trailhead is marked with signs for the Chase Lake lean-to and camping areas. For this hike you wil be following the red DEC foot-trail markers.
The beginning of the trail is narrow and bit overgrown as you follow boards through the low, somewhat swampy area. The trail quickly widens as you begin the walk through the forest. You'll soon reach the first wooden footbridge that you will cross. There wasn't really much, if any, water flowing under the bridge, but maybe in wetter weather the bridge is more necessary!
The trail curves around to the right and begins to head approximately southeast and you will reach a second bridge. As with the first, very little water on this July day. About 1/8 mile from this second bridge, the trail curves to the left, again heading northeast towards Chase Lake. There were a few muddy spots and downed trees here and there, but nothing too difficult to make your way over or around.
You'll cross what appear to be a couple dry streambeds, one of which has several downed trees cut and stacked along the trail. Around 1.7 miles from the trailhead, you'll reach a split in the trail. Continue straight (following the sign) towards the lean-to on the lake's edge. The trail to the right leads to the tent camping area which we didn't check out on this trip.
Past the junction, you will cross another dry streambed and eventually reach a somewhat larger stream that had some water flowing in it. There are several well-placed rocks that make it easy to cross without getting your feet wet.
A short distance past the stream crossing there is a unmarked junction in the trail. To the left is what appears to be an older, unmarked trail. Make sure to stay to the right. heading roughly east. You'll soon have views of the lake and come to the Chase Lake lean-to.
The lean-to was built in the fall of 2010 and is in very good shape. It's only a couple hundred feet to the lake's edge and would make a nice place to stay for a night or two. Even though it is not a far hike in, it felt very secluded and would be a good introduction to backpacking because of the easy hike.
Have lunch at the lean-to and maybe take a quick swim in the lake before retracing your steps back to the parking area.