Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake | High Sierra Topix  

Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby sbslider » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:42 pm

I am interested in leading my wife and 25 year old son on a weekend trip to Thousand Island Lake. The goal would be to hike in one day, layover, then hike out the third. In looking at a map I got the impression one could make that trip from the Fern / Yost Lake trailhead. After looking about some more I am starting to wonder it that is true. I have seen many websites describing the hike from Rush Creek trailhead to Thousand Island Lake, so I am well aware of that. My question is how difficult / Possible is it to get to Thousand Island Lake from the Fern / Yost Lake trailhead? My interest is two fold. Permits are easy to get, and also it appears that it may be a shorter hike.

As far as experience goes, I am comfortable with cross country hiking, but am not interested in any Class III climbing on the way. My wife is in great shape, my son is probably the weakest of the three of us, but has hiked the Sierras many a time, just not in the past few years.

thanks, Matt



User avatar
sbslider
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:37 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby QITNL » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:56 am

If you are looking at topos, beware that some maps are meters, some maps are feet. It might not be apparent, but above Fern Lake it's pretty steep. You'd be heading straight up to the Carson Peak plateau (10,500 or so) after starting at 7,200. Then you'd have to find your way back down to the trail. There are a couple of options, but from the top they might not be apparent.

It might be fun as a dayhike or a descent route, but it's not a short-cut to Thousand iPods Lake. Especially with full packs. Nowhere I'd drag a wife or kid.

Hopefully the ranger will talk you out of it. If not, file a horror report.
User avatar
QITNL
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:02 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby sbslider » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:05 am

Thank you for the feedback. I believe I was fooled by the boundary of the wilderness area which crosses the trail between the trailhead and Fern Lake. It looked like a fairly level path around Carson Peak. Some more research shows the Inyo NF website saying "Fern Lake trail does not give access to the John Muir Trail." That was basically what I was looking for, that is access to the JMT near Thousand Islands lake. Mission accomplished. looks like Rush Creek trailhead is the only simple way to get there.
User avatar
sbslider
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:37 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:53 pm

Sbslider wrote:
Looks like Rush Creek trailhead is the only simple way to get there.


Just make sure you take the trail going towards Agnew Lake, and not towards
Spooky Meadows where the trail branches (it is not a short-cut), otherwise
you'll have a pretty unpleasant climb to start your adventure.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby steve_moran » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:08 pm

Thousand Island L. from Agnew Meadows TH via High Trail (PCT) or River Trail might be an alternative to Rush Creek TH. I say "might" because Inyo NF website shows Agnew Meadows as still closed due to damage from 11/30/11 wind storm. So even if you come down the hill before mandatory shuttle bus hours, you might not be able to park at Agnew Meadows. I don't know if shuttle bus will still drop you off or pick you up at Agnew Meadows shuttle stop while closure is in effect.
User avatar
steve_moran
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby Shawn » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:37 pm

Agnew Meadows is open as usual. The closure has long since be rescinded (but apparently they forgot to update their website).
User avatar
Shawn
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:56 pm
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:52 pm

Steve wrote:
I say "might" because Inyo NF website shows Agnew Meadows as still closed due
to damage from 11/30/11 wind storm. So even if you come down the hill before
mandatory shuttle bus hours, you might not be able to park at Agnew Meadows.
I don't know if shuttle bus will still drop you off or pick you up at Agnew Meadows
shuttle stop while closure is in effect.


Closure is in effect for camping in Agnew Meadows only, trails out of it, and
backpacker parking is still fine.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby sbslider » Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:14 pm

Thanks for the replies. Had not considered Agnew meadow, but it is only a bit further that route with less elevation gain. And a pretty hike for sure, I have been in that area previously.
User avatar
sbslider
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:37 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby kpeter » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:46 pm

maverick wrote:
Sbslider wrote:
Looks like Rush Creek trailhead is the only simple way to get there.


Just make sure you take the trail going towards Agnew Lake, and not towards
Spooky Meadows where the trail branches (it is not a short-cut), otherwise
you'll have a pretty unpleasant climb to start your adventure.


Mav, could you explain in a bit more detail? When I did this from Rush Creek a few years ago I remember coming up along the old tramway to Agnew Lake and then the trail crawled steeply from Agnew up and above Spooky Meadows, before it turned west on a much more gentle plateau to make its way over to Clark Lakes. I just don't remember any turnoffs. Perhaps I did it wrong! I might have been so tired that I trudged right by a turnoff!

In any case, coming from sea level that day, the Rush Creek to Thousand Island hike was one of the roughest first days in terms of elevation I have done outside of Pine Creek to Honeymoon Lake. I far preferred the Agnew Meadows approach, but permits are almost always easier to get out of Rush Creek.
User avatar
kpeter
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby markskor » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:26 pm

As Mike (OldRanger) mentioned - "Again, my condolences to those unable to get out early this year."
As the Sierra heats up/dries out - (BTW, maybe 2 weeks before water becomes a major issue...), there are a few trails I would never attempt summers... Rush Creek, up from any June Lake Loop TH is one. Totally exposed, straight up, and if done in full sun, will destroy your trip before it starts.
Better a "next day" out of of Mammoth - River Trail or JMT...Go on any weekday. Get in line <8:00 AM...they give out priority numbers at 8 so when they open up at 11:00, you are first.
(Go eat at the Breakfast Club while you wait.)
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby Shawn » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:44 pm

As a bit of an aside, I seem to recall Doyle did a hike years ago from Fern Lake to 1000 Island Lake? When I went looking, I was disappointed to find his website (apparently) no longer contains his old trip reports. :(

Also noticed last month while driving part of the June Lake loop that the power company appears to have installed a new gate and signs up front; subverting the more direct route up Rush via the rails as compared to starting at the trailhead proper up the road a ways.

As markskor said, it doesn't look all that pleasant anyway.
User avatar
Shawn
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:56 pm
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby JohnS » Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:40 am

Shawn,
Doyle’s trip is still online. But there are 2 Fern Lakes in this area. He visited the one west of Devils Postpile on the trail that crosses King Creek.
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com/sierratrai ... ret001.htm

John
User avatar
JohnS
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:20 am
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BigMan, Bing [Bot], cheif and 1 guest