The Trimble Mountain loop is an easy to moderate loop situated just opposite the Todd Lake Recreation Area on FDR95. There are several views of Big Bald Knob and Little Bald Knob on the western section of the loop. At the end of the circuit, the short climb up to the Lake Todd dam embankment offers a beautiful lunch spot, and view of the lake.
The Trimble Mountain Hike is just one of many hikes that are located in the Todd Lake area. A great weekend plan is to come in on a Saturday and hike Trimble Mountain, take a dip in Todd Lake, camp at the Todd Lake campground, then hike the North River Gorge circuit early Sunday before leaving.
The Todd Lake Campground has clean shower and restroom facilities, as well as a sandy beach and picnic area at the lake. The campsites are $16 per/night, and are on a first come first served basis. Reservations are not accepted. If the campsite is full, there are numerous free camping spots available along the North River off FDR95. Todd Lake Recreation Area is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
From the parking area walk up to the turnout, cross FDR95 and start up the yellow blazed Trimble Mountain Trail. In 400ft the Trimble Mountain Trail will split at a clearing. We recommend going to the left, or clockwise, as it's less steep on the ascent, and the best views are on the westerly descent of the mountain.
After turning left, the trail will gradually climb Trimble Mountain becoming steeper before arriving at the ridge in 1.2 miles. The trail will follow the ridge climbing the northern summit, before passing through a saddle and climbing over the southerly summit.
As the trail begins to descend the westerly section of Trimble Mountain, there are two good vistas of Big Bald and Little Bald Mountains to the west. The trail will then descend more steeply before arriving back at the clearing, and beginning of the loop 1.0 miles from the last vista. Stay left returning to the parking area in another 400ft.
I really like this hike. It's not much for stunning views, but it curves around Trimble Mountain and is nice and quiet. Took me a little over two hours, including a 15 min break. I too went right where left was recommended, and would also recommend that - the climb is steep and would have been a bit precarious on the way down.
Date of Hike: Wednesday, March 23, 2016
We also liked this hike very much.
We parked directly across FR95 from the trailhead in the grassy shoulder on the north side of the road. We followed the clockwise path (turned left at the "t") and found the climb to be consistently gradual. A "3-star" difficulty seems reasonable - perhaps a tad high. We took several breaks but just because we are all retired and are frankly not in too much in a hurry. The trail was fairly well-maintained (could use a chainsaw to clear some trees that now block the path). There also were very long stretches with no yellow blazes. It really didn't matter as the trail was clearly evident - might be different in the late fall with leaf debris potentially hiding the trail.
Lots of interesting plants, a few birds on the back side of the hike and, overall, a very pleasant hike. Passed a pond on the way down with a nursery of frog eggs 6-8' in diameter. Interesting place.
This website rates the views as "3-star", which is about right. We are actually not quite sure when we passed the "lookouts" denoted on the map. The lookouts were certainly less evident as on other trails we have hiked. That said, we had nice views when we could sneak a peek through the trees. Might be more difficult after the trees leaf out.
Our party of six has the mountain to ourselves - could have brought our retrievers in hindsight but we prefer to scout out new hikes first before including them. They would have been fine on this hike...and will join us next time.
Saw a small bear grazing on the east slope of the Todd Lake embankment while we were relaxing afterwards. 1st one of the year.
All in all, a good day in the GWNP.
Date of Hike: Friday, April 18, 2014
The marked parking space on the trail head now is with the "No Parking" sign. We have to walk up half a mile near the Todd Lake recreation area (also closed) to park car outside the gate. The trail is fairly easy to walk through, our four children aged from 5 to 8 all completed on their own in 3 hours. The starting point elevation is 1,935 ft. (by our Garmin eTrex 30), the highest point is 2,600 ft., so the gain is about 700 ft., vs. the 1050 ft. gain claimed on intro page. It is a fun family trip.
Date of Hike: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Overall a nice hike. Was put off a little at first by the NO PARKING signs at the dump station. I had passed a ranger on the way in, so I backtracked and asked him where I should park. HE SAID just don't park BEHIND the NO PARKING signs. He said parking on the grass along the street or in front of the sign is 100% acceptable. The main thing they have issue with is blocking the dump station. As long as there is room for a trailer to go through you won't be ticketed.
The hike itself was pretty good. We're in the middle of summer at the moment and there were essentially no views, but we saw a decent amount of wildlife. The right side path is much, much steeper and feels a little sketchy when you're tired from the hike up. All-in-all a great morning hike!
Date of Hike: Thursday, February 23, 2012
DO NOT PARK AT THE TRAILER DUMP STATION. You are risking a ticket if you do. I just got home from hiking this and had my truck parked at the dump station but off the gravel out of the way not blocking anything. Was walking up just as a ranger was getting out to my truck. Luckily she didn't give me a ticket but said no parking there at all. There is a pull off a couple hundred yards before the dump station where you can park.