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Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

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Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

Postby flyman » Mon May 25, 2015 4:21 am

Planning a 5 day 4 night hike to Qttoway Lakes, Red Peaks pass, down Washburn Lake, LYV, back to Happy Isles.
Level 3 backpacking . Looking for tips on where to camp. Would prefer to keep daily millage near 10 per day. From
other posts once past Red Peak more millage per day sounds possible. Seems like a great and less crowded trip.



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Re: Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon May 25, 2015 6:14 am

Lower Ottoway Lake is the only place that stands out to me as a great place to camp. From there you will find lots of places to camp but are all just general campsites. I have only ever stayed there, where the trail crosses Merced Peak Fork and just before it crosses the Triple Peak Fork. I also camped once on the West side of Echo Valley where the trail crosses a small bridge. There was a nice camp there.

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I enjoyed Red Peak Pass enough to go back the next year after doing it so I'm sure you will enjoy it.
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Re: Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

Postby oldranger » Mon May 25, 2015 6:53 am

A couple hundred yards downstream from where the Red Peak Pass trail crosses the Merced Peak Fork are a couple of nice campsites. This spot is one of my favorites in the Sierra and I typically layover here due to the great fishing that is nearby.

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Re: Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

Postby markskor » Mon May 25, 2015 7:56 am

Interesting plan - maybe a bit optimistic in only 4 nights/5 days.
Starting out from Mono Meadows usually means taking the Glacier Point bus - ($25) for the witty patter from driver ride - leaves Curry ~ 8:30 (Lodge soon after that too) and with the typical Yosemite road construction delays, gets you to MM Trailhead around 10:30 AM...a little late start. From there, the trail wanders down through forest for a few miles, crosses a few other trails coming and going south, and eventually works its way up to Illilouette Creek (lots of biting flies during this first stretch of trail - not a fun area to hike through either/IMHO - ugly) until about 8 - 9 miles in - camp along Illilouette Creek. (First place you hit the creek is OK, but second, 1/4 mile further on - better). Next day, another 6 - 7 tough uphill miles till Lower Ottoway - good fishing at Lower (at outlet)/ no fish in Upper...superb camping far side Lower...well worth spending the second night somewhere around here, just to fish.

Third day, over Red Peak Pass and down a scenic meandering section to camp at Red Devil - pretty lake! - (alas no fish there either, just frogs), but there is another great fishing lake to conquer close by (a bit off trail) - would prefer to stay around this area nights 3 & 4? (Layover?).

From there, down to Washburn via Triple Peak Fork trail (great country here too - no need to rush through), or if comfortable, straight north x-country, following the outlet stream from Red Devil - down the Red Peak Fork to just above Washburn...pick up trail again. Camp there or near HSC for a night. If fishing, (and agree with Mike as you really should allow ample time for fishing on this trip - hint!) but doubtful as too many miles per day already, I would seriously think about visiting the Harriets too before going down to Washburn - worth an extra day or two up there.

From Washburn, 17 downhill, trail miles to Happy Isles, following along Merced River. If it were me (as BTW, just did this same trip last year), I would have added a few days to your trip itinerary, maybe a layover day too...7 - 8 days suited me much better.
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Re: Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

Postby flyman » Mon May 25, 2015 11:12 am

Thanks for the advice. I thought that route in 4 nights might be too aggressive. Maybe I should just do an out and back to Ottaway. Maybe day hike to the top of Red Peak Pass. Or could I return back to Happy Isle? I was looking for a more senic route?
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Re: Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

Postby balzaccom » Mon May 25, 2015 1:26 pm

I agree, It's 16 miles from Mono Meadows to Lower Ottoway Lake. I love the lake, and the hike, but that's more than I can do in a day after picking up 6the wilderness permit and driving to the trailhead. WE found ourselves starting about 11 a.m....

Of course, we drove into the park from our cabin in Sonora, so you can add an hour for that drive. Even so, that's a long day. We camped along Illilouette Creek the first day, then had a very nice easy day up to Lower Ottoway Lake the second day.
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Re: Mono Meadows, Red Peaks pass to Happy Isles

Postby maverick » Mon May 25, 2015 2:01 pm

Hi Flyman,

Welcome to HST! Your trip from Mono Meadow to Happy Isles is 47.3 miles, try adding at least one more night (two would be better in case you run into some weather). Otherwise stay at Upper Illilouette for you first evening, Lower Ottoway the second, day hike over the pass to Red Devil Lake (my favorite in the area) on the third day, then hike back and stay somewhere along Illilouette your forth night. The Red peak Pass area is very pretty with great views, trying to get down to Happy Isles would just waste precious time, which could be rather spent up high soaking in the magnificent scenery, IMO.

When you get the time an intro would be appreciated: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9329
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