Arrived at 2:30pm for a quick snowshoe excursion up to the iron horse trail and back before sunset. Quite a short one, just over 2 miles round trip, almost 500ft elevation gain. We took our time going up, and got to the iron horse trail in ~55 minutes, and then got back down much faster in just ~30 minutes.
While we had set out with the plan of turn back at the iron horse trail crossing, you can of course carry onwards either along the iron horse trail, or towards Annette Lake itself. But if you choose to follow the Annette Lake trail, this is the point at which there is a sign that reads:
Warning: You Are Entering Avalanche Terrain
This Area is subject to Sudden and Dangerous Avalanches
The trail was easy to follow, though the snow was very hard, crusty and brown. There were quite a few post holes, and a few sections where the snow on the trail had melted completely (generally in the areas where tiny streams flow across the trail).
We used our snowshoes the whole way, though we met others coming down who just had microspikes/yaktrax. There’s enough snow that you definitely need something to give you traction.
The parking lot was in great shape. Completely clear of snow and easy to find a space (though as previously said, we did arrive quite late in the day). The 0.4 mile road leading to the parking lot (just after you exit the I-90 and then turn left off the NF-55) is gravel with some good clear stretches and some very pot-holey stretches, but nothing too serious.
My favourite section was the little bridge over Humpback Creek that you encounter quite early on, though I would like to revisit starting earlier in the day so that we can perhaps make it to the lake.