This trail begins in the trailhead parking area of Juniper Lake Campground. It leads approximately five and a half miles up and over Mount Harkness then along the southern shore of Juniper Lake. The summit of Mount Harkness provides views of many of the parks natural features.
Hike north from Juniper Lake Campground reaching some short switchbacks in the first quarter mile. Beyond this first steep section the trail gradient becomes less steep for four tenths of a mile then begins to climb steadily. By the time you've reached the second set of switchbacks you're slightly more than one mile from the trailhead and have gained 600 feet.
The next set of switchbacks brings hikers to the northern slopes of Mount Harkness where Juniper Lake comes into view. The views continue to improve and widen as you hike up slope. Up to this point the trail leads through a thick forest, which provides adequate shade for hikers. Beyond the last switchback the trail leaves the forest behind and reaches a trail junction. The trail to the right will be the second leg of our loop.
To reach the summit follow the left side of the fork. The next four tenths of a mile lead along a steep, exposed slope. Persevere at this point the views from the summit will be worth the effort. From the trail junction this route climbs 280 feet to the Summit of Mt. Harkness.
Enjoy the summit for as long as you like. The lookout upon it is usually manned from the time of snow melt through October 1. Descending the peak follow the short trek to the trail junction immediately above tree line. At this junction you can retrace your steps, which means taking the right side of the split, or complete the loop by following the right side of the split.
If you follow the left side you'll begin by descending moderately then more steeply. Within six tenths of a mile from the junction the trail gradient lessens. As you reach the northwestern base of Mount Harkness the trail turns southwestward and leads less than a half mile to the next trail junction.
Turn right at this junction and walk toward the southern shore of Lake Juniper. Within a half mile you will reach the waters edge. The remainder of the hike is a level walk along the scenic southern shore of Lake Juniper. It is roughly one and a half miles along the lake shore to the Juniper Lake Campground.
Directions: From Chester, Drive eastward on Highway 36 to Chester Valley Road. Turn left on this road and travel one mile to Juniper Lake Road. Turn right on Juniper Lake Road and drive northward. The road turns to dirt 7.5 miles before reaching the campground. Once in the campground park in the trailhead parking area.
Elevation: 6,780 feet
Ending Elevation: 8,046 feet
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