Trail Head: Park Meadow Trail Head, this is near Three Creeks Lake
Distance: 6 miles one way
Golden Lake is real gem, unfortunately it has been discovered. The hike in can start from either the Three Creek Lake area or the Green Lakes Trail. Our hike started at the Park Meadow Trail in the Three Creek Lake area.
The first couple of miles climbs through an area hit by the Pole Creek forest fire. The fire was very intense in this area so the vegetation is not really starting to return. The destruction does open the up the views of the mountains.
Next up is Park Meadow. The meadow or should I say meadows spread over a several mile area. There are spectacular views and plenty of wildflowers. We didn’t venture off the main train but there are evidently many nice camping spots in the area. Some that we talked with use this as a base camp for exploring the area.
After the meadow the trail climbs rather steeply for about a mile. Follow the trail signs towards Green Lakes. The early trail descriptions say to watch for a rock cairn. This was gone, we found instead well used trail to the left (coming from Park Meadow).
There are several camp spots in the trees that surround the lake. We camped to right on the edge of the meadow in a group of trees. Other spots are two the left on the hill or across the outlet. Keep in mind that fires are prohibited at all times at Golden Lake. Unfortunately there were plenty of signs that some people don’t seem to think that it applies to them.
The lake is worth the hike. The setting with the lake, meadows and mountains is breathtaking.
We fished the lake and did catch a couple of small brook trout.
There is a trail that heads up towards Brokentop that follows the water fall that takes one to a set of tarns. These small ponds also have a couple of nice camp spots and could be a good alternative if Golden Lake is over populated.
If planning a trip to Golden Lake I would encourage going mid week. Some of the people that we met were circumnavigating Brokentop, or they were on a loop that went around the Three Sisters.