We started out exploring the little nature trail that used to make a nice loop. A large fir has fallen onto the bridge that crosses Humpback Creek, making it tricky to cross if the water is running high. With Bryden, we contented ourselves with looking upstream at the pretty waterfall, and then heading back to find the trailhead to the lake.
The trail is very easy to follow, and never really gets steep. It wanders through forest duff for a ways, finally crosses the "Creek" on a nice foot bridge. After wandering a little past the bridge, you come out onto the remnants of an old logging road or railroad grade. Turning left would presumably take you to the old railroad tunnel, though I haven't explored that. Turning right, you can see the continuation of the lake trail 50 feet down the road. The trail passes through very open forest for a ways, with the sound of water in the distance, but no sighting of it. Shortly, you come back out on the old railroad grade, with signs pointing the way to the old tunnel. Crossing the road here you cross a small foot log and drop back onto the trail, which will now last to the lake. A bit of uphill starts now, with a few switchbacks thrown in, but it's really a very easy and pleasant trail. You pass along several chutes that have some avalanche danger associated with them when full of snow - I remember being very focused when I crossed them in January. Eventually the trail levels out, and the final few hundred yards to the lake wander through open forest again.
At the lake, you have wonderful views of Abiel Peak from just about anywhere. We explored a trail leading off to the east, and found some fabulous looking camp sites. I tried finding a way further east onto Abiel, but after climbing a ways up a stream bed decided that you must have to circle west instead. With the short days, the sun was now dropping over the ridge to our west, so it was time to hit the trail for a quick return to the cars. I can see why this trail has earned such popularity, and can imagine how packed it must be in fair, warm weather. I was quite glad we'd hiked it this chilly day in October, and had had to share the trail with few others.