A short but not very interesting hike to a beautiful Pintler lake with Warren Peak looming in the distance.
This one is all about the destination. If you want to get to a pretty lake in about an hour, this may be your best bet via northern access. The hike itself, however, starts and ends with perhaps my least favorite stretch of trail in the wilderness. The first mile drops about 200 feet on an old roadbed with no vista coming or going. After a stream crossing, the trail begins its 700 foot climb to the lake, quite steeply at first.
Just before Lower Carpp Lake there is a pretty stream crossing where we saw the largest shooting stars I have ever seen. Because it is shallow and so close to Carpp Lake, Lower Carpp gets a bit of a bum rap, but it is pretty in its own way and offers that same great view of Warren Peak from its shore. Between Lower Carpp and Carp is the junction with the Hi-Line Trail which provides access to Tamarack, Edith and Johnson Lakes. There is no bridge to cross the creek, so you will need to wade or boulder hop if heading west on the Hi-Line.
Carpp Lake - from this direction - is a breathtaking scene not only because of the lake itself but because of Warren Peak standing watch to the south. There are at least three established campsites close to the lake, all of which make fine lunch spots too. The trail continues to Upper Carpp Lake, then up and over Warren Pass, ultimatley making a loop back to the Carpp Portal Trailhead. But for this hike, return the way you came.
Drive 6 miles south of Philipsburg on Highway 1. Turn right on Skalkaho Pass Pass Road. Drive 6 more miles, turn left toward East Fork Reservoir on East Fork Road, just before the mile marker 48. Drive 6 miles to the reservoir, cross the dam, and drive 12 miles more on 5141 to the trailhead. There are stock ramps, hitching posts, and strawberry plants and that’s about it.