A few months ago I found Birchfield Camp Lake (elevation 4000′) in the Rocky Fork Tract via the Higgins Creek route. This time I decided to see if I could find it coming in from the main gate at Rocky Fork. This is a longer route, and since my knee is still tender, I decided to give it a try on the mountain bike.
Rocky Fork is newly acquired National Forest, so accurate trail maps are very limited. There are a series of forest roads winding through the 10,000 acre tract so I took my GPS unit and a little knowledge from past hikes in this area, and set out.
The ride from the trailhead along the Rocky Fork stream is very pleasant. After taking a right at my first road junction (see map below for my route and junctions), the climb got tougher. I was able to stay on the bike most of this section, but after I reached the second road junction the trail became very steep and less maintained in some areas. I simply didn’t have the stamina to stay on the bike in this area as the trail rises from 3000′ to 4300′ in less than a couple miles. So from junctions #2 to #3, I walked the bike the vast majority of the time.
Once you reach the top of Higgins Ridge (the highpoint of the trip at 4300′) it’s downhill again to the 3rd road junction. Man, was I happy to finally be back on the bike! After the 3rd junction there was a some ride-able up and downs, before the 4th junction. From there it’s a very steep final descent down to this very secluded lake. If you decide to go on this trip review my trail notes below very carefully because the roads were a little confusing, especially up around the lake area. If you have a GPS unit you can also download my track in the Hike Planner below.
After circling the lake I had to push the bike back up to the ridge, but then had a very fun downhill ride all the way back to the car. My GPS showed that I’d traveled about 11 miles round-trip.