Today was a perfect day to climb Sawteeth – beautifully sunny, bright blue skies, and temps somewhere around the low 60s. We also had the entire mountain to ourselves; we ran into just one person at the beginning of the day, at Rainbow Falls.
My friend and I departed from St. Huberts at 6am. I found the Lake Road to be a nice, invigorating warmup during those 3ish miles in. The early morning sun looked pretty, glowing through the trees. At the end of the road a sign directed us to the footbridge crossing the Lower Ausable Lake. The side trail to Rainbow Falls is just over the footbridge, at the beginning of the Weld Trail. It might have been my favorite part of the day – the falls were stunning and the rainbow was visible in all its colorful glory. There was a really nice energy to this spot and we stayed for close to 40 minutes. Wish we could have stayed longer, but we had a mountain to climb so on we went.
We ascended via the Weld Trail. It was extremely steep right at the beginning, but then the grade seemed to become more moderate. I found this trail to be somewhat boring, in all honesty. Some nice views when breaking out of the trees, but mostly just a steep walk up with little to no variation in terrain. The Sawteeth summit was another half mile from the col with Pyramid and was a fairly easy walk. I was a little disappointed with the summit; I don’t know why. Maybe I thought it would be larger? There was no benchmark or marker. We had a snack and continued on.
Taking the Scenic Trail down was really fun! The trail follows the “teeth” of the mountain over a series of bumps; there are a total of 5 overlooks along the way. The rocks near the top were extremely steep and challenging, but the grade and difficulty of the trail eased as we lost elevation. My favorite thing about this trail were the many varied terrains it takes you through, ending with a walk around the Ausable Lake – such a pretty hike. This goes on the list as one of my favorite trails.
I have to admit, that Lake Road trudge back was not fun. But seeing Rainbow Falls and the sights along the Scenic Trail definitely made the journey worthwhile.