Shame on me for never getting up to Rollins Pass Road to check out the trails.
On Sunday I parked near the East Portal and took the Crater Lakes trail, a great, short high alpine trek with a bit of everything. First up, some moderate rocky forest running:
After two miles you turn off to Crater Lakes, and the slope heads up fast. Some of it was runnable due to switchbacks. First, you run between two lakes (one is below). Then you head nearly straight up a steep slope along waterfalls to the upper lake.
A creek right before it drops over the edge:
Wildflowers were everywhere (what drought?), so much so that it was totally distracting to an ADD person like me. Flower!
Here is the upper (nameless) lake, which was great but would be finer in the eastern light of morning:
The downhill was a blast, on rocky, rooty dirt that was soft but not slippery. 45 minutes to get down at a steady but easy pace. Legs were totally relaxed at the end.
Beautiful trails, with a really good dirt road to the trailhead.
Distance was 7.75 miles, time 2:27 (moving 1:47), elevation gain/loss 1,921 feet, avg. pace 18:59 (moving 13:56), and best pace 6:09. Elevation 9,216 - 11,019 feet.
PS - The bugs were nuts; both flies and mosquitoes. I don't think it's necessarily the location, but the time of year; it gets worse around the beginning of July. Bring spray.