The Lake Fork Trail is a 4.5 mile long trail that begins at Cabresto Lake and ends at the Mt. Baldy Cabin near Heart Lake.
Trail Condition: Good
From the the parking area, pick-up the Lake Fork Trail – Trail #82, which follows the lake shore on the left (west) side about 30 feet above the surface of the water. After about 1/4 mile it enters the canyon hosting the lake’s inlet stream, Lake Fork. For the next 3+ miles, you will follow it upstream at a steady grade.
Upon leaving the lake, you will soon enter the Latir Peak Wilderness. Keep following the stream on the west side, climbing steadily, but rarely steeply uphill. At certain points, the water is immediately accessible, but at times, the trail climbs above the creek. This entire stretch of trail is in good condition and very easy to follow.
After 2.5 miles you will reach the junction with the Bull Creek Trail – Trail #85. Note this junction as it will be your return route. Continue straight (right) to remain on the Lake Fork Trail, which crosses Bull Creek and continues to follow the Lake Fork upstream at the same steady pace.
After about .5 miles after the junction, the trail switchbacks away from the creek and briefly levels-off before resuming its steady grade.
NOTE: The trail does return to water again shortly, but there’s some chance this could be your last best opportunity for water for a while. When I did this hike at the end of September, Heart Lake was choked with algae. There was a small trickle of water in the outlet stream, about 100 yards below the lake. It was a good water source but not one I’d want to depend on.
Continue to follow the trail as it climbs, veering further and further away from the creek. Around this point, it also leaves the mixed aspen-fir forest and enters an exclusively fir forest.
Slightly more than 1/4 mile from the lake, you will reach a signed junction. Go left to reach the lake. Go right, following the Lake Fork Trail as it slowly winds uphill for the last .4 miles to the Mt. Baldy Cabin.
For more information about the Lake Fork Trail, see my trip report from the Latir Peak Loop.