Access to Windy Pass is 2.8 miles up Eightmile Lake Trail. Leave this moderately-graded trail and immediately begin switchbacking across a recovering burn area. This area will have little shade in afternoon sun, but views improve as you climb. You'll take in aerial views of Eightmile Lake, the canyon below it, and the peaks surrounding it.
Eventually, the trail reaches the ridge crest and enters wooded terrain where is descend to Lake Caroline and continues along the east shore of the lake. There are many hiker campsites and a stock campsite at Caroline.
The trail continues past Caroline Lake to Little Caroline Lake, where there are more hiker campsites, though stock will have to stay at Caroline Lake; they're not allowed at Little Caroline Lake.
Beyond Little Caroline Lake, the trail continues up gentle switchbacks up beautiful, meadowy slopes until it crests Windy Pass.
For those continuing on from the pass, the trail drops steeply down gravelly, eroded switchbacks on the northwest side of the pass, becoming much less traveled, brushier, and harder-to-follow.
The trail heads mostly downhill, crossing meadows and creeks and eventually entering more heavily-wooded terrain and as it switchbacks down through old-growth forest. The trail crosses Trout Creek, and ends at the junction with Trout Creek Trail.
Note: An overnight reservation permit is required from May 15 to October 31 in the area between Eightmile trail and Windy Pass.