Like Yosemite, it has towering granite mountains and spectacular alpine lakes. Until then, the trail had been well-maintained. I normally hike long days, 15-25 miles, so I thought the first day was fairly easy. I didn’t see any signs of fish, so I continued hiking to Buck Lakes. The most recent groups were the Sierra Miwok of the western slope and Piute of the Great Basin. On January 4, 1975, the Emigrant Basin Primitive Area was designated as the Emigrant Wilderness.[1]. It is bordered by Yosemite National Park on the south, the Toiyabe National Forest and the Hoover Wilderness on the east, and State Route 108 over Sonora Pass on the north. Time-lapse of Ridge Lake at Emigrant Wilderness. Hope you did well. The evening was chilly, but I stayed warm by my campfire. To the north you can see the lakes directly below the ridge and further down to Relief Reservoir. [1], Following the discovery of gold in 1848, large numbers of miners and settlers came to the Sierra and the native cultures quickly declined. The views over Huckleberry Lake were some of the most impressive of the trip so far. Since 1975, 18 small dams in the Emigrant Wilderness have been the source of an unresolved political debate. A ranger that I met on the trail the day before said that he’d heard anglers catch 25-inch trouts there. Summers are generally dry and mild, but afternoon thundershowers occur periodically and nighttime temperatures could dip below freezing anytime. And we were not alone. Cherry Lake Dam gate to Cherry Lake, Kibbie Ridge, and Lake Eleanor opens from April 1-December 15. The last miles of the trail passed through an old burn area. You could spend days exploring the area around Deer Lake and never grow weary of your exploits. In the morning, my foot was feeling worse. But it’s much less crowded than its neighbor to the South, offering more solitude for backpacking. The Emigrant Wilderness of Stanislaus National Forest is a wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada.It is bordered by Yosemite National Park on the south, the Toiyabe National Forest and the Hoover Wilderness on the east, and State Route 108 over Sonora Pass on the north. It was still near freezing when I started my backpacking trip. I woke up as the sun began to illuminate the mountains. It was way too big for me to eat, especially right after breakfast. It's not a fishing lake, but it can have spectacular sunsets and offers good swimming. But the miles clicked right along, up over one ridge, down into the valley, back up over the next ridge,,,and on and on. The trail followed the edge of a large meadow on the Northside of Upper Buck Lake. I found a campsite on the cliffs overlooking the lake a little ways off the trail. My water bottle had frozen overnight, but I slept warm. It looked like the trail didn’t get much traffic. I passed through some of the most impressive granite landscapes of the whole trip. At Huckleberry Lake, I left the main trail and headed up towards Letora Lake. I decided to sleep under the stars without the tarp. But Ridge Lake and its companion were full of fish, as was Summit Creek.) Part of Granite Dome visible on left side. In September–October 1852, the Clark-Skidmore party became the first emigrant group to travel the West Walker route over Emigrant Pass, continuing through a portion of the present-day Emigrant Wilderness. Nice Pics Paul! These free permits are required year-round. Because of that, I brought 2 sleeping pads and my 10-degree sleeping bag. The last climb up to the trailhead offered a new landscape of volcanic rock and bright-yellow aspen. At this point, it had been over two full days since I’d seen another person, and over a day since I’d even seen a footprint. Looking south from Granite Dome peak, Long Lake is visible in the distance. With my go-to adventure buddy stuck taking pictures of coffee shops in Montreal, I’ve been enjoying hitting the trail with some new faces. I gave it a few quick jigs and boom–the trout slammed the fly. Relief Valley and Relief Reservoir were so named because of the assistance some emigrants received there from residents of the Sonora area. Gaps in the trees offered occasional glimpses of granite cliffs and the views ahead. Tom McElroy-Wild Survival Recommended for you The Emigrant Wilderness of Stanislaus National Forest is a wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada. I also hiked to Deer Lake in one day but that was 20 years ago and I was super weary when I got there. Suddenly, I saw a big trout come up for a bite. The temperature had gone from freezing to summer in the hour I had been on the trail. This area is entirely within Tuolumne County, California and is approximately 140 miles (230 km) east of San Francisco, California and 50 miles (80 km) south of Lake Tahoe. This past weekend, I headed up to the Emigrant Wilderness just north of Yosemite with my good friend Alex. Some support proposals to maintain the dams while others feel the dams should be allowed to decay in keeping with the Wilderness Act. Rainbow and Brook trout are found in almost all lakes and streams in the area. It felt like plantar fasciitis but had appeared suddenly. Located only a few miles East of Dodge Ridge ski area and Lake Pinecrest it is a popular place for both dayhikes and overnights of all lengths. It was the last few weeks of trout season, so I also wanted to bring my fly fishing gear. This trail goes by Camp Lake and Crabtree Camp. Fortunately, the other end of the lake was much more suitable for camping. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Aug 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm #1907425. chris Nelson. Solo Survival: How to Survive Alone in the Wilderness for 1 week --Eastern Woodlands - Duration: 34:07. To see that contrast, compare the red volcanic rock in the image of Emigrant Meadow (below Right) with the granite in the other images. Even so, the trail had well-constructed steps that ascended the granite. Emigrant Meadow Lake - Emigrant Wilderness - Aug 1966 On the fourth day we headed for Emigrant Lake and camped below its outlet. This is a difficult out and back trail to Bear Lake in Emigrant Wilderness. Only 25 people may obtain a Wilderness Permit to Kibbie Ridge/Lake, but due to damage from the RIM fire only 10 people may obtain a permit to Lake Eleanor per day in these areas per National Park quotes. The rocky shore dropped deep into the lake and offered trout places to hide. It was the first weekend in November last year, ← How to plan an ultralight backpacking trip, San Francisco Bay Area overnight bikepacking trip →. I stood and watched the lake for a few minutes. When I got to the West side of the lake, I was disappointed to notice that it was a shallow, swampy lake. I also planned to do some off-trail exploration in the high country. By the time I got to the top of the ridge separating Buck Lakes and Emigrant Lake, it was once again warm enough that I could ditch my fleece. Deer Lake was a bit more shallow/marshy at least in one end. The dams were constructed by anglers who tightly stacked nearby stones and boulders. Since there are no trailhead quotas limiting the number of people who may enter each trailhead in the Emigrant Wilderness (except Kibbie Ridge/Lake), you do not need to reserve your permit ahead of time unless you are picking it up after hours. There were a lot of fallen trees that had thankfully been cleared off the trail. Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front, California State Mining and Mineral Museum, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Shasta–Trinity National Recreation Area, University of California Natural Reserve System, Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center,, Protected areas of the Sierra Nevada (U.S.), Protected areas of Tuolumne County, California, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from public domain works of the United States Government, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at 21:30. Locale: San Francisco. After a warm breakfast and a large cup of coffee, I headed toward Emigrant Lake. Emigrant Lake: 140 acres at 8827' elevation, about 15 miles from the trailhead. I picked up my Emigrant Wilderness permit at the Summit Ranger Station right after it opened at 8:30 am. The trout leaped into the air several times before accepting its fate. Camping, there would be a wet and cold ordeal. I rigged my Tenkara rod and picked a size 16 bead head nymph with a pink hotspot. I still had almost 11 miles to the car, so I conjured an ibuprofen and acetaminophen cocktail to get me going. It offers a much higher starting point than the nearby trailheads of Crabtree(7100ft) and Bell Meadows(6500ft). Any nice spots to camp prior (Camp Lake or other?)? I also planned to do some off-trail exploration in the high country. :-) This trip, we decided to go in to Granite Lake, which is … What was your experience? Our six-day on- and off-trail journey to remote lakes of the Emigrant Wilderness traverses a glacially sculpted landscape with broad granite expanses, rushing mountain streams and deep canyons. Every step I took on my left foot resulted in a stabbing pain near my heel. Chewing Gum Lake is a beautiful little camping spot not far inside the Emigrant Wilderness. Daytime temperatures were in the low 60s and nighttime lows int the 20s. Over the 4th of July weekend, my friend Blair invited me out on a girls’ only trip out to Granite Lake in Emigrant Wilderness. Thanks for sharing. The trail passed through a pleasant pine forest. I packed away my rod and continued along the lakeshore. Highlights include cliffs in the Granite Dome area and lakes such as Emigrant Lake, Huckleberry Lake, and Lake Lertoria. Some of the extra weight could be offset by not bringing a tent as there wouldn’t be any mosquitoes this late, and there was no rain forecast either. There’s nothing like a relaxing weekend in the Sierra backcountry. Ridge Lake can be reached either by continuing west after the first saddle in the route to Lewis Lake. October 4 - 6, 2019. When they wrote "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" they were in the Emigrant Wilderness. Several more emigrant parties were enticed by officials from Sonora to use this route in 1853, but it was a very difficult passage with many hardships and was soon abandoned. From the south, the wilderness is accessible from Cherry Lake, along the border with Yosemite National Park. Hi, just talked to a friend who says trying to reach Buck Lake on day one is really ambitious. Along the way we found a smoldering fire in a large log and extinguished it .. apparently someone had built their campfire against the log and not put it fully out. I planned a 3-night trip to Emigrant Wilderness to fish Emigrant Lake and some smaller lakes. I ate dinner, watching the sunset reflect off the calm lake. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until September. Emigrant Wilderness is in Stanislaus National Forest, North of Yosemite. Follow the road to a T and turn left onto Crabtree Rd. I planned for a short first day, stopping either at Jewelry Lake or Deer Lake. Thinking about going early October. The descent to Huckleberry Lake was painful. My 12-foot rod bent as the line whizzed through the water. It is an elongated area that extends northeast about 25 miles (40 km) in length and up to 15 miles (24 km) in width. [1], Various native peoples occupied this area for 10,000 years, spending the summer and early autumn hunting in the high country and trading with groups from the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. The lake is considered a premier destination for the Emigrant Wilderness. This time it was around Emigrant Wilderness, to a series of lakes for which there is no trail, only sloping slabs of granite and a topo map to guide us. Ridge Lake. The last 2 miles of the road was unpaved, but passable with a car. Hyatt Lake is a 11 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mi Wuk Village, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. Many other trails criss-cross the Emigrant Wilderness, from Leavitt Meadow on the East side, Kennedy Meadow on the West side, and other trailheads. Elevations range from below 5,000 feet (1,500 m) near Cherry Reservoir to 11,570 feet (3,527 m) at Leavitt Peak, but the elevation range of most of the popular areas is 7,500 to 9,000 feet (2,300 to 2,700 m). Trailhead: Start by heading up to Dodge Ridge Ski Area on Highway 108, and turn right towards the cross country ski trails/experimental forest (just before reaching the lift area). Granite Dome to Ridge Lake and Iceland Lake is a 24.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pinecrest, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. Day Hike to Chewing Gum Lake, Lake Powell, and Burt Rock from Gianelli Cabin – Emigrant Wilderness, Stanislaus National Forest. Activities in Emigrant Wilderness include hiking, swimming, fishing and hunting. Only later did I remember that I had hit the outside of my foot against a sharp rock. I planned a 3-night trip to Emigrant Wilderness to fish Emigrant Lake and some smaller lakes. My main concern was to stay warm at night. It is an elongated area that extends northeast about 25 miles (40 km) in length and up to 15 miles (24 km) in width. I had to abandon my plan to keep hiking up North Fork Cherry Creek toward the upper Emigrant Lakes. Gianelli Cabin is a very popular summer time trailhead in the Emigrant Wilderness. In fact, I hadn’t seen a single fresh human track on the trail since Emigrant Lake. In addition, three major deer herds – Jawbone, Yosemite and Stanislaus herds – live in Emigrant Basin. Exposure Ridge Lake Emigrant Wilderness Published 2014-09-10 21:53:09 UTC Story by Kyle Frost Emigrant Wilderness. How much do you usually like to hike in a day, in terms of miles or elevation? Immediately I noticed that something wasn’t right. ICELAND LAKE & EMIGRANT WILDERNESS. Snowpacks typically linger into June, sometimes later following very wet winters. The Trail to Deer Lake Wildflowers, Panoramic Views, Tranquil Lakes. Our first clue was the more than fifty cars at the trailhead. 15-25 miles a day is in the super human category! A Wilderness Permit is required for every party camping overnight in the Emigrant Wilderness. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until September. Contains rainbows and brookies, some in trophy size. Wilderness Permits. I didn’t try fishing there on that trip, will need to do it next time I’m out there. But the path that paralleled East Fork Cherry seemed to double as a riverbed during spring. They greeted me with a surprised “hello, human!” Clearly, they hadn’t seen others in a while either. I found a cliff overlooking the lake with a fire ring and a sheltered spot for my sleeping pad. Watersheds drain to the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers. The 4.5-miles hike to Chewing Gum Lake passes among wildflowers and has panoramic views of … Deer Lake rests deep in the Emigrant Wilderness amidst dozens of other lakes, each one as scenic and inviting as the next. But the impact was forceful enough to cause a big bruise and my foot to swell up. Deer Lake has great rainbow fishing. The lake is nearly 2 miles long with good camping on either end. With my go-to adventure buddy stuck taking pictures of coffee shops in Montreal, I’ve been enjoying hitting the trail with some new faces. 5-star camping at Upper Buck Lake. Snow Lake is situated about 3/4ths of a mile of easy hiking from the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail just below our climb out of Emigrant Wilderness into Yosemite through Bond Pass. Good to know. Towering granite peaks surrounded Upper Buck Lake. Gluttons for punishment, we went back to the Emigrant Wilderness again, this time with Nikki, Steph's friend, in tow. The night was wind-still, and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. Inflammations should take longer than that to develop, I thought. At the time, I didn’t think much of it as the pain subsided in minutes. Mileage is very individual. Start at Crabtree Trailhead.Day 1: Camp Lake, Piute Lake, Gem Lake, Jewelry Lake, Deer Lake, Buck Lakes. I pulled out the barbless hook, snapped a quick picture, and released it. From Sonora Pass in the north, the Pacific Crest Trail follows a scenic route at the east edge of the Emigrant Wilderness along the high ridge past Leavitt Peak, turns further east from Kennedy Canyon to Bond Pass, and then heads south down Jack Main Canyon. I picked up my Emigrant Wilderness permit at the Summit Ranger Station right after it opened at 8:30 am. Wearing both a fleece and gloves, I started climbing. Our plan was to skirt the eastern shore of the Upper Lewis Lake, but the topography (just out of view to the right of this photo) looked too cliffy and complex. The trail consisted of loose rocks ranging from the size of a grape to a football. I was getting to the limit of how far I could walk on my foot. The Forest Service chose not to appeal and the dams will gradually disappear. What time of year did you go? I think Gem and Jewelry lakes would also have made good campsites. I planned to camp at Wood Lake. They were uniformly lovely. Some are wide, classic mountain lakes while others are quiet, little gems hidden away in the forest. Member. To the south you can see far into the distance, across Emigrant Wilderness and towards the peaks in Yosemite, Long Lake with its little islands is prominent in the valley below. [1], The Emigrant Wilderness is a glaciated landscape of scenic beauty. Unfortunately, it did not seem to have any fish. Precipitation averages 50 inches (1,300 mm) annually, 80% of it in the form of snow. Instead, I headed South, toward Huckleberry Lake, passing Blackbird and Maxwell Lakes. The weather station was at 7,200 ft, so I needed to prepare for 4-8 degrees colder at the elevation I would be at. [1], In 1931, the United States Forest Service designated this area for primitive management as the Emigrant Basin Primitive Area. The chart above will give you some idea on what to expect. I haven’t adventured much off of Sonora Pass, so I immediately said yes! From there, I had another 15 minutes to the Crabtree Trailhead. Emigrant Lake was much larger than any of the lakes I visited the day before. I kept going. Just as quickly as it had appeared, it vanished into the dark. The northeastern third of the Wilderness is dominated by volcanic ridges and peaks; the remaining areas consist of many sparsely vegetated, granitic ridges interspersed with numerous lakes and meadows. Five miles from the trailhead, I ran into a group of hikers. ... Ridge, Sardella, Lewis. Day 2: Emigrant Lake, Maxwell Lake, Huckleberry Lake, Letora Lake, Cow Meadow Lake, Wood Lake.Day 3: Buck Meadow, Grouse Lake, Pine Valley, Crabtree Trailhead. She's one of those athletic types, so we let her carry the stove and water filter to slow her down. Even so, I wanted to push a bit further so I could walk back to my car the following day. A decision by the Stanislaus National Forest to compromise and leave some dams to naturally deteriorate while allowing maintenance of others was overturned in court in 2006, reigniting some of the controversy. To the south you can see far into the distance, across Emigrant Wilderness and towards the peaks in Yosemite, Long Lake with its little islands is prominent in the valley below. Most of the 11 miles were downhill. A small stream that flowed through the field had frozen overnight. I had time for one last weekend trip to the Sierra before winter. In addition, I brought down pants and wool socks to stay warm in camp. I stopped at Camp Lake to fill up on water and layer down. You didn’t report much on your fishing adventures. This lake holds stunning views and sits just under the sheer walls of Granite Dome. @nel250. The Emigrant is most easily accessible from Hwy 108, with many visitors entering from near Pinecrest Lake or Kennedy Meadows. The fly dropped outside the cliff and sank. The weather forecast for the trip showed clear skies.