A great out-and-back hike to the scenic Chapman Lake.
The start of the trailhead from the Chapman Campground is not marked and can be difficult to find. As you follow the campground road past where the rangers supply shack is located, keep an eye out to the right when the pine trees appear for a worn out section in the woods - this is where the Chapman Campground to South Fork Trail
starts. A GPS and trail map allowed me to spot the start of the trail - you can always use the Hiking Project mobile app
The trailhead and first 1/4 mile are hard to follow due to some powerline construction that has taken place. About 1/4 to 1/3 mile in, the trail starts to steepen and enters an older forested section. Once there, the trail is easy to follow.
The trail tends to follow the power lines up the side of the mountain along a seasonal stream. At the top of the first steep section, about 3/4 of a mile up, it starts to flatten and eventually the path intersects S. Fork Rd.
Follow the road to the left and then make a right at the next intersection onto the Chapman Lake Trail #1923
. The trail follows the roads for about one mile. Then the start of the final leg of Chapman Lake Trail is clearly marked on the left and there is even a parking lot.
You can reverse the route to head back to the campground. The trailhead to Chapman Campground is clearly marked with signs off of S. Fork Rd. I’m just not sure why the start at the campground end is so poorly marked when the rest of the trail is marked.
We didn't spot any elk, but the trail had elk scat all over. My kids kept calling the trail an elk highway.