Rode Esmeralda Basin for the first time yesterday. We missed the De Roux campground though, due to no signs for it on the N Fork Teanaway Road. It's just past the horse camp though, the only signs are ones that have trail #s on them. That's where you'll want to go left to the campground. From the start of the trail, the climb continuing past the Ingalls Lake trailhead is loose & rocky, and will wear you out quickly. Once you get past that & start ascending switchbacks going up, it becomes much better though. Once you get to the saddle, the trail is not very obvious, but make sure to ignore the trails going uphill on the left & continue through the saddle to the downhill section. It's marked by cairns. The downhill is loose & has some really tight turns. Going up the jeep road has some steep sections, but it's dry right now, so it's likely much easier than when it's a muddy mess. Continuing past the lake on the road, you'll come to a Y & make sure you stay to the left on jeep trail (#4W301) and the De Roux trailhead entrance is on the left. The De Roux trail is a fun descent, but has some loose gravel in spots. There are some ripe thimbleberries along the trail that are pretty good right now. Overall, this is a nice ride. I'd rate it a 4 for physical difficulty, due to the loose, sandy dirt & rocks for the climb up.
Submitted by msteingrebe on 08/19/2017