Indian Spring Trail is a fun 7.6 mile loop that can be turned into a 2 mile out and back to Spillman Spring, Big Lake Lookout or point to point utilizing convenient road crossings.
Departing the trailhead in a clockwise direction we began traversing a very enjoyable section shaded with massive old growth trees.
In .5 miles we passed a spur trail to the Big Lake Lookout and another .5 miles later we were at Spillman Spring taking pictures of the historic wooden trough the water flows through.
The spring is a great turn-around spot for anyone looking for a shorter hike and combined with a trek to the lookout could be a nice 3 mile day. Continuing on from the spring the vegetation was lush and green with knee-high grass tickling our legs as we flowed through the dense new aspen growth regenerating in the Wallow Fire's burn scar.
The first road crossing was FR24 at about the 2 mile mark, the trail continuing through the burn scar down into a drainage carpeted with green grass. Following along the contour of the drainage we passed Indian Spring - not much more than a large mud puddle due to lack of rain.
Down the drainage a bit further the trail joins up with an old railroad grade, used by Apache Railway Company's Maverick Line to transport lumber to McNary (circa 1940-70's). A little under a mile up the old railbed we found our first significant shade since crossing the FR24 about 2.5 miles back. This was the hottest section of the entire loop.
Once again hiking amid live trees we relished the cooling shade, the morning was heating quickly despite our early departure. Following the contour of the railroad grade for the next 2.5 miles skirting grassy meadows we were fully enjoying the views. Two cow elk made an appearance and trotted off soon after spotting us.
It was nice to break the monotony of the railroad bed and begin the next section with twisty turns through a lovely park-like pine forest. Soon we were crossing the 249E Road and continuing through a fantastic old growth section with fun rolling grades and perfection to be viewed in every direction.
Just before our last road crossing an unmarked spur trail heads off to Big Lake's Rainbow Campground, loop D. We continued on the main trail crossing the 249E Road one last time landing us back at the trailhead. We had the parking lot to ourselves when we arrived but noticed two vehicles had joined our truck.
With our close proximity to Big Lake we decided to head over to the marina and get an ice cream cone from their store. Sitting on a bench along the shore both the lake view and ice cream cone were delicious. It was the perfect way to finish the Indian Spring Trail loop.