Stella’s Favorite Hike: Monarch Lake



Sunday morning we headed to Monarch Lake to hike the loop with Aspen. We got off to an early start hoping to beat the crowds. From the trailhead, we trekked southeast along the northern shoreline. After arriving at Aspen’s first of several swimming holes, Buchanan Creek, she immediately took to the water and was not wanting to get back onto the trail.

Crossing the bridge over Buchanan Creek further up the trail, we forged on to Arapaho Creek, where once again Aspen got to swim. Back onto the trail again, we set off to her last swimming hole. Prior to our arrival, we ran into a forest service ranger. He thanked us for having Aspen on a leash, because many people do not leash their dogs while hiking.

USFS states you are required to have your dog on a leash, and it is clearly noted at the trailhead. It is for the safety and welfare of your dog, as moose view them as a threat. Moose frequent Monarch Lake since the southern shoreline is littered with willows, a food source high up on their forging list.

Back on task, we hiked down to the shore of the lake to swim Aspen one last time before making the final trek back to the Tahoe. Arriving back at our starting point, we noticed a myriad of activities taking place from fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking and picnics. The road to the trailhead was about a 1/2 mile deep with cars. Thankfully we had arrived early.

On the return trip to Grand Lake, we stopped at Shadow Mountain Lake to let Aspen swim a bit more. After spending about a half hour and letting her retrieve her yellow ball, it was time to head back to Base Camp. Our intention was to paddle Grand Lake after a quick lunch, but suddenly the afternoon got away and turned to a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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