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tlhobbs 03-04-2018 06:41 PM

Newbie Rockwall Trail
Hello I am new to this form and somewhat new to multi day hiking. Iím 45 years old and consider myself to be in pretty good shape, I run 6 km three times a week as well as visiting the gym. My 17-year-old son although not as active as me has age on his side :-) Last year we hiked the Berg Lake Trail which was our largest hike to date. We spent two nights on the way up and hiked all the way out the last day. Although the one steep ascent was ďhardĒ on us, we took our time and at no point did I feel like we wouldnít be able to do it. I have now booked the Rockwall Trail for us to do at the end of July. Iíve booked it over 4 nights to be safe. After reading some of the blogs Iím somewhat concerned of the difficulty and Iím hoping that I can get some other peoples thoughts? Also any other tips would be appreciated my other concern are the horseflies Iím not sure what time of year they typically tend to be at their peak. Thanks - Iím sure Iím just psyching myself out at this point but it would be nice to hear others who perhaps arenít Hard core hikers that have done the trail and how they rate it as far as difficulty.

zeljkok 03-04-2018 07:38 PM

You'll be ok, although Rockwall is bit of roller-coaster and thus has more elevation gain (and loss) compared to gentle Berg Lake trail

Re horseflies and other bugs -- usually it is August time, but this year it is impossible to tell because of immense snowpack we had this winter. I'd not worry too much, just have bug spray. I find "horse tail strategy" useful -- just keep swinging around me some piece of clothing, T-shirt etc as I hike; helps to cool off too.

thoughtsnsuch 03-04-2018 11:31 PM

Hiked the Rockwall last year. I'm not a hardcore hiker; I probably only get out hiking 2-3x a month. Doing it in 5 days/4 nights was a nice leisurely pace. We never left camp super early, nor did we ever worry about losing daylight. I think I was asleep most nights by 730pm because there was nothing else to do :p (when I've spent all day talking to my hiking buddy, the last thing I want to do is sit around and talk some more lol)

I actually went the last week of July and had zero problems with horseflies. However, the mosquitos were bad at the Tumbling campground, and ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL at Floe Lake. At Floe lake you couldn't have any exposed skin, or wear fabrics mosquitos could bite through. Thank goodness my hiking pants ended up being mosquito proof, and I wore my head net and rain shell pretty much the entire time. I had tucked my pants into my socks to protect my ankles, and they even bit through my wool socks :(

I found this trip report: to be quite accurate.

Bill Kinkaid 03-05-2018 12:17 AM

We did Rockwall two years ago in late July. Echoing thoughtsnsuch, I don't remember any horseflies but agree that the mozzies were bad at Floe Lake. There were some at Helmet Falls; I don't recall bugs at Tumbling Creek but we arrived there following a thunderstorm which shut them down for that evening.

SneakyPete 03-05-2018 12:38 PM

We did the Rockwall last year, around August 18th-21st or something like that. We did 3 nights/4 days starting at Floe Lake TH.

Our second day was pretty rough. Went from Floe Lake to Tumbling Creek, skipping the Numa campsite. I think it was around 17km but with a lot of ups/downs. We were all exhausted after haha, but it was better for us to save a day and skip Numa. We had absolutely zero issue with mosquitoes/bugs during the whole trip. I don't think I ended up using my bug spray once.

tlhobbs 03-05-2018 02:31 PM

Thanks everyone, I wish we could have gone in August but unfortunately too many other trips booked. I'm glad we added the extra day as a buffer, rather be safe than sorry. I've really enjoyed reading some of the past trip reports on this site and detailed blogs. I've likely read everything related to the Rockwall dating back to 2009 (I'm a freak that way when it comes to researching...OCD). I will keep up to date on trail conditions at the date gets closer - very excited and looking forward to doing the hike!

kellymcdonald78 03-05-2018 02:54 PM


Originally Posted by thoughtsnsuch (Post 830057)
I found this trip report: to be quite accurate.

From our own Rachelo no less :)

woodenshoes 03-06-2018 08:25 AM

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3 nights 4 days and u should be fine. I did the same as above(but in ideal fall conditions so no bugs) and bypassed Numa to Tumbling. Yes it's a longer day but just seemed "to work" for us. I suggest taking a little side trip and head west for a few hundred metres from the Wolverine Plateau for some great views in that direction. As an aside that cabin up at the plateau has to be the most idyllic location on the planet. see map: and attached pic. Have fun!

zeljkok 03-06-2018 05:07 PM

This got me going now, I'm big sucker for back-country cabins ��

Some years back I dayhiked Rockwall, south part. Up to Floe, Numa Pass and out via Numa Creek for a great loop. Far better to backpack though. Morning reflections in calm Floe are special. There are also some easy scrambles from Numa Pass, get up pre-dawn and go watch sunrise.

CEB 07-19-2018 09:41 PM

My 3rd attempt at a section of the JMT in California might have ended wth the Ferguson Fire outside of Yosemite. It's pretty much dumping a huge cloud of smoke into the valleys and I'm not too sure I'm keen on that as I live in the Okanagan Valley and want to escape a smokey summer. Sooooo... I'm looking at possible options if I do stay home and hike nearby. One of the options was the Rockwal but I have a couple of questions:
1) Is solo ok at this time of the year? Seems to me I recall a minimum of 4 but I can't see that information anywhere
2) With the closure of the Tumbling and Numa Creek THs/Trails and availability it looks like I would have to do this:
Paint Pots to Helmet/Ochre (~12.6 kms?)
H/O to Tumbling (~20.8 kms?)
Tumbling to Numa (~7.1 km- short day because Floe isn't available)
Numa- out to Floe Creek and hitch a ride to Paint Pots (~20.2 km)
Is the H/O to Tumbling Day too much in this direction? It looked to be ~20.8km which I can easily hike and have done with my backpack (~25/26lbs) but if it's crazy terrain/super hot & exposed that might not be so nice? Opinions?

zeljkok 07-19-2018 10:06 PM

To best of my knowledge Group of 4 is for Lake Louise & you are ok on Rockwall on your own.

Always check Parks Trail Condition report: I do see several fire related closures.

20.2 km should be ok, but reasonably long day as you have ~700m vertical (I think). Portions are below treeline but not all of it. Overall in current weather (25 Celsius temps, bugs, thunderstorms, etc) I'd not go, even if you can get campsite(s). July is not generally best month for backpacks in Rockies, better to wait till August.

thedustin 07-24-2018 10:49 AM


Originally Posted by zeljkok (Post 841390)
I'd not go, even if you can get campsite(s). July is not generally best month for backpacks in Rockies, better to wait till August.

I don't really agree with this. Unless you only do one backpacking trip a year this isn't really applicable. As tlhobbs said, he as other trips planned for August so this was the only time that worked for him and his son. Sure dealing with bugs and thunderstorms is not ideal but wear some long sleeves / pants, apply some deet, and make sure to get over mountain passes earlier in the day rather than late afternoon. As for temperature, you can get freezing temps or 30 degree weather at any summer month.

All I'm saying is that I wouldn't let it slow me down.

tlhobbs 08-15-2018 05:48 PM

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Well we did it! My son and I managed to complete the Rockwall and did it over 3 nights vs. the 4 we had originally booked (not sure what i was thinking) Started at Paint Pots and we stayed at Helmet, Numa and then Floe our last night. Day two was TOUGH...10 hours! Not going to lie I was almost in tears a few times :-) Timing couldn't have been better, one day after we finished the trail closed due to wildfire activity. Weather was great, horse flies were numerous at the passes and Floe Lake but aside from that not bad at all!!

CEB 08-15-2018 09:02 PM

Fantastic! That's great you beat the fires/smoke. Thanks for the itinerary info as that helps for me to know what I might try for if I ever get a chance to do the Rockwall. I ended up trying my Sierras trip and made it 42 miles before I packed it in. There were no views once the smoke settled in anyway so it was silly to be in the smoke and 95 degree heat (how is that even possible at 9-11K elevation). I did have 2 great scenery ays though.

tlhobbs 08-15-2018 10:30 PM

I’m hiking berg lake trail Friday with my daughter...hoping the smoke isn’t horrible but not looking good so far ☹️ Wanted to do snowbird pass this time!

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