- Cabinet Mountains
- There are several nice spots along the lake
- Lake Creek campground is nearby (we stayed there one night and had it nearly to ourselves)
- Pretty good
For the first mile of this trek, we followed FR-2332 to the official trailhead. From that point, the trail follows an old logging or mining road uphill, soon switchbacks, and keeps climbing the mountain. After half a mile the trail switchbacks again and rides the spine of a ridge. There are some confusing junctions here, where you more or less stay in the middle, though I suspect the various trails all later converge anyway (when in doubt follow the cairns). The ascent steepens a bit, but remains well shaded in the forest, with few views.
Not quite a mile from the trailhead, the incline lessens and the trail contours along the southern side of the ridge, eventually even declining and meeting up with an old mining road a quarter mile later. The trail crosses the road and the ascent immediately resumes, with the trail now a true singletrack. This section is a bit more open, affording at least a few views into the Lake Creek canyon.
About 2 miles in, the grade lessens once again and approaches the outlet of Bramlet lake, bordered by lush green patches of meadows (probably mud in early summer). The Wilderness boundary is then just outside the lake. The lake, overshadowed by Carney Peak, is ringed by dense forest, but a few rather nice camp spot have been carved out.
On the way back, a pair of cougars awaited us near the trailhead. Of course, Naughty had to give chase! Luckily, the cougars fled and Naughty didn’t see a need to pursue the matter further. There’s not much that scares her; not cougar, bear or moose. Sprinklers, brooms, and Roombas, on the other hand….
- You can extend the excursion by a half mile in search of Upper Bramlet Lake. This promises to be a nasty bushwhack