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Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

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Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby schmalz » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:09 pm

Hello,

I am planning on finally visiting the Emigrant Wilderness this summer. It's been a long time coming. Does anyone have any recommendations on the best area of the Wilderness?

We will have 5 days and are looking to do some offtrail, so I think that anywhere is fair game. I have some ideas based on my research but I'm curious what responses I might get here.



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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:44 pm

share your ideas. You don't appear to fish so, we can move beyond that. From the SW or the NE?
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby schmalz » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:54 pm

I mainly want to get into the center area and do some offtrail on the granite slabs that the area seems famous for.

The area near Wood Lake seemed like a good spot to shoot for.

I won't be fishing this time. I will be starting soon though once my kid starts tagging along. This trip will be more focused on photography and swimming.

I don't have a strong preference on trailhead. Whatever is easiest to get to from LA I suppose, so probably something on the west side. I've never been in the area and I'm just starting to really research it, so I'm still learning.
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:14 pm

umm. ok. West side. seems to make to most sense. Crabtree or Gianelli. Probably Crabtree TH.
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby balzaccom » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:23 pm

WE have spent a ton of time in Emigrant--one of our favorites areas of the Sierra. Wood Lake is nice, but if you are willing to do some cross-country hiking, head south from there to Karls Lake and Leighton Lake...you can do a nice loop from there west to Pingree, around to Big Lake and Yellowhammer, and then up to FIve Acre and Red Can. The best granite you'll find is between Pingree and Big Lakes....and it is stunning.

These are called "routes" not trails by the USFS, because they are not maintained. But there are more or less enough cairns to keep you moving in the right direction throughout this trip. (There is also a route from Louse Canyon directly down to Pingree..._)

WE have trip reports on all of these areas on our website...and Picasa photos as well.

Here are a couple for your viewing pleasure:

granite slabs above Cherry Creek Canyon near Big Lake

Image

And Wood Lake in the early morning:

Image


And a link to one of our Picasa pages:

https://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom/ ... Lakes2010#
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby schmalz » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:26 pm

balzaccom wrote:
WE have trip reports on all of these areas on our website...and Picasa photos as well.


Do you have a link to where I would access them? I've tried to find them on your site, and all I can get to is a description of the hike, not the full trip report.
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby balzaccom » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:20 pm

Go to the Picasa link...the photos are a sequence of the whole hike
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby venturefar » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:48 pm

Out of Crabtree I second Blazaccom's comments about the granite around Pingree and Big. This area would be great for a five day trip. The lakes are fairly close together and walking on the slabs is enjoyable. All good swimming lakes

The are also nice loop options out of Kennedy Meadows. I am partial to the Emigrant Lakes. Black Bear is also very pretty. Timing is crucial to avoid hordes of mosquitoes. I feel like this area can be worse than other places at the height of bug season.
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby mschnaidt » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:56 pm

If you are looking for granite slabs and off trail routes it's hard to beat the area around Big Lake. A loop hitting Pingree, Big, Yellowhammer and Hyatt is pretty spectacular.

Here's a quick map for you. This is how I go in.
Emigrant1.JPG

I use the Equestrian camp trailhead instead of Crabtree. There is a pullout just before you get to the camp and there is a very nice trail there. It saves you a few hundred feet of vertical and is a lot less dusty. This is where the trail crews park when they are working the area.

Once I reach Louse Canyon I take a shortcut next to (and sometimes in) the streambed that flows down the black rock into Cherry Creek. That puts me in the valley to the NW of Pingree. Head generally SE until you run into the trail. You can follow that to Pingree. This trail is not maintained and can be easy to lose. From Pingree there are a lot of options.

Pingree to Big Lake is pretty straight forward. Head around the lake, drop down the slabs and you are there. I'd daytrip to Yellowhammer from big. There is a trail and Camp Yellowhammer at the East end of the lake is fun to visit.

Big to Hyatt is a gorgeous hike on open glaciated granite. The trail out of Big is not well marked and is easy to lose but it's fun. Halfway between Big and Hyatt make sure you stay to the South side of the ridge. It's a much easier route. Hyatt has great granite, a white sand beach and a nice campsite which we call the Hyatt Regency.

Balzacom's routes of Yellowhammer to Five Acre to Red Can to Wood or from Pingree to Kole to Karl/Leighton to Wood are really great too and will drop you right back on the main trail at Upper Wood.

These are just a couple of options and there are so many more...

Enjoy your trip!
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby schmalz » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:49 pm

Thanks for the suggestions so far. They've been quite helpful and so far are in line with what I was thinking.

I have an idea of how I want to enter the wilderness, but now I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on an interesting way to exit.

The basic idea would be to start at Crabtree, hike out to Louse Canyon, head down, hit Pingree, Big Lake, and 5 acre...

From there I'm not sure exactly what I should do next.

What is the terrain like between 5 acre and red can lake? Should I head that way, or should I go down to Cherry Creek from 5 acre and then head up north?

Also, I'd like my return route to be as different from my entrance as possible. I'm trying to make it as much of a loop as possible. Does anyone have any route suggestions with that in mind? Certain spots that I should make a point to see? I'm thinking about doing something along the lines of heading up to Salt Lick meadow and then spending the last night at Leopold Lake.
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby mschnaidt » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:41 pm

5 Acre to Red Can is cross country but not too difficult. From there it's an easy hike to Upper Wood. From Wood you could go to Upper Buck and then to Long Lake. Both are very nice with good camp spots. From Long you could hike out and visit Deer, Jewelry, Gem, Paiute and Camp lakes on the way back to Crabtree. If lakes are on the top of your list this gets you to quite a few.

I've never hiked 5 Acre to Cherry Creek but I have from Red Can to Cherry. The terrain again isn't too tough if you stay out of the bushes. You could head up the creek to Cow Meadow and then up to Emigrant. The trail from Cow to Emigrant isn't maintained anymore but I spoke with someone 2 years ago that took the route. It's steep and fading away. He grumbled pretty good about it. From Emigrant you can drop down to Buck and then take the route outlined above.
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Re: Favorite area of Emigrant Wilderness?

Postby texan » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:53 pm

venturefar wrote:Out of Crabtree I second Blazaccom's comments about the granite around Pingree and Big. This area would be great for a five day trip. The lakes are fairly close together and walking on the slabs is enjoyable. All good swimming lakes

The are also nice loop options out of Kennedy Meadows. I am partial to the Emigrant Lakes. Black Bear is also very pretty. Timing is crucial to avoid hordes of mosquitoes. I feel like this area can be worse than other places at the height of bug season.


I agree with Venturefar about the mosquitoes in this area. They are all over the place, if you go to Black Bear take the trail to Upper Twin and you will find some awesome campsites along the North Shore.

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