Let's get some things straight.The route description included for this route is sorely lacking in detail. No mention of route finding through aspen groves, no mention of thorned bushes lining the lower slopes of the trail, no mention of the 2,000 foot sand slog over a short 1.25 miles.
The recommendation to "take the trail to the right" when you are at the locked gate defies logic. Simply walk around the gate and walk up the well worn path for .75 of a mile until you turn left and upward. Simple. Once you reach Trout Creek and turn left to go up into the drainage you literally go start the old one/two step: one step forward, two steps back.
In this lower portion of the trail you are almost immediately confronted with a forest of aspen trees.
The trail at times disappears only to return 20 steps later.See the pictures of the trail going through aspen grove that I took and see what I mean.:
After you emerge from the aspen's you are welcomed by thorned bushes...lot's of them. Most of them are right at shin level with some of them reaching up to hip and chest height. I didn't make it through this section unscathed.
Once the thorns were out of the way is when the fun really begun...
The Sand Slog.If the trail "eventually climbs a narrow drainage towards a saddle" seems a bit um...lacking in detail that's because it is. This short sentence fails to mention that you eventually climb the drainage to the saddle in just 1.25 miles. Oh yeah, you climb 2,000 feet in this short 1.25 miles. This picture doesn't do the route justice, I was just too tired and slipping too much to take more pictures.
There were times on this sand slog where I would take two steps and then slide back down the trail to find myself right back to where I had just started my steps.I'm serious-no joke.
Once you crest the saddle you see the sign leading to the summit and from there it is a straight forward approach to the summit, albeit a steep ascent to the summit (1100 feet in 1 mile).
I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression of my hike. I enjoyed it. It was strenuous and well worth it. However, the route description for the Trout Creek route was just lacking too much detail for me sit back and say nothing. This is a very strenuous hike and I'm in good condition. The sand trail was awful and the thorns didn't feel too good either. IMO it is well worth it to walk the extra distance to take the TRT to the summit. In fact, when I hike Freel again this is the route I will take.