We began the 3 Lake Trail at the end off of Conservation Rd which is about 1.25 miles from the parking area. The trail is listed at 0.8 miles in length and is an easy stroll through a mostly white pine section of the forest. The largest of the lakes, Lake Julia, is the first of the 3 lakes that the trail passes, but the view of the lake is through the trees, so I didn't take any shots. Better views of the lake can be had from other trails. The next lake is the smallest of the 3 and is Lake Alford. This one is a very scenic little lake (more pond size) with a small pier and covered sitting area. There's also a picnic table. We were both saying how nice this would look covered in snow and plan to come back if it ever does snow.
The last lake is Lake Dense and I'm guessing it gets a lot of visitors in the summer months. It's quite a bit bigger than Lake Alford and there are 2 piers where you can fish from or I'm assuming dive from. There's aren't any 'no swimming' signs.
|Lake Dense with Joanna Mountain in the background|
Soon after Lake Dense, the 3 Lakes Trail ends on Joanna Rd. We headed right on Joanna Rd and on to a trail that is no longer maintained and isn't on the new maps, the Joanna Mountain Trail. The road began to climb and maybe gained 200' in elevation in about 1/2 mile. At this point, Chestnut Oak Rd turns to the left. We stayed on Joanna Rd, but would take this road on the way back. In just under a mile up Joanna Rd, the road splits. There were no signs, but we knew the right fork would take us towards Joanna Mountain. The left fork stays on Joanna Rd. We passed a pretty big clear cut area on the left, then the road ended and the 'trail' continued up the mountain. After a short distance, it just ended. We were hoping there would be a view of the lakes, but getting to the top and over to the view side was going to require a slippery scramble up a rock face with delicate vegetation, so we passed on that and just headed back.
We had another destination marked in the GPS for investigation on down Joanna Rd, but decided that would be best saved for another day. Instead of going back the exact same way, we opted to take Chestnut Oak Rd to Buck Forest Rd near Grassy Creek Falls, then take Buck Forest Rd pack to the parking area which gave us a hike of about 5.5 miles.