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One nighter in Mammoth

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One nighter in Mammoth

Postby catpatch » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:44 am

Wondering if there is a suggestion out there for a quick one night in Mammoth area. I was looking at Garnet Lake thru Agnes Meadows trailhead. We have not been backpacking before. But have been camping with our bp gear, oh and we have done camping for awhile. We are staying in Mammoth for 6 days and I just want to give my two teenage daughters a taste of backpacking while we are there. We have all the gear (but will need to get bear boxes apparently). We would be level 1 backpackers and are just looking for a nice loop or 5-6 miles in/out. Physically I hike in our local mountains. My daughters (17 & 19) are athletic (they are lifeguards) have hiked with me occasionally. I have spent several hours looking over possibilities and now my head is swimming with info. Not a lot out there for a tiny trip like ours. Thank you so much!! Patricia



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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:33 pm

Hello Patricia,

Here is an idea right there in Mammoth Lakes. You will need a wilderness permit from the Visitor Center. Note most backcountry destinations are on a quota system with permits divided between reservations and walk-ups. You will need to get a walk-up permit by being at the visitor center when they begin issuing permits, which is 11am on the day before your trip begins. Because there may be a line, get there at least by 10:30am to ensure receiving a permit. The VC also rents bear canisters.

With just one night, I would suggest taking on something simple with minor mileage, not too much vertical, yet highly scenic that will guaranty a pleasant experience. That will also give you several hours to enjoy that area after setting up your camp instead of hiking all day with extra weight. Of course you can then dayhike further from your campsite.

Take the road out into the Mammoth Lakes basin, past Lake Mary through the Coldwater Campground to the large Coldwater Creek Trailhead parking lot at 9120 feet. Take the Duck Pass Trail south with a target, the Barney Lake area at 10,200 feet or about 2.5 miles and 1100 feet of uphill vertical. On the below map switch between the Topo and Satellite tabs and on the latter zoom in with the + slider. Note you can buy a topo map for that area at the VC.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.56663,-118.96773&z=15&t=T

That area receives considerable day hiker traffic and may have other backpacking groups camping there so it is recommended you not set up a campsite close to the trail. Trust me as an expert on scenery when I say that area is scenic. Note I just backpacked over Duck Pass for 8 days a week ago so know the conditions are currently excellent with vegetation green, lots of wildflowers, and flowing streams.

You could set up a campsite on the south side of nearby little Red Lake that would be out of sight of the trail because there is a little hill in the way. Or north of Barney on the flats of the hill. Much better would be to wander further east from Red Lake offtrail a short distance through the sparse open timberline to the upper Woods Lake where you are unlikely to see any other groups. Don't worry about getting lost because with all the peaks and high ridgelines nearby you will always have something to visually orient by even without a map. Also far less likely to have a bear visit at Woods Lakes because any bears tend to follow the trail where they are likely to find groups camping beside. And the water coming into the upper Woods Lake is certain to be a clean stream not requiring any water filtering unlike that of Barney Lake where hikers and pack animals make those water sources suspect.

If after setting up camp, you want to see more than in that local area, you could hike the steeper rocky trail 550 feet up to Duck Pass for a view of large Duck Lake to the south and expansive views to the north.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Summer_2015 ... 015-1.html
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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby bbayley80 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:50 pm

this one may be a bit much mileage wise-a total of 14- but the scenery more than makes up for the extra work.

one of my favs would be to depart from the Agnew Meadows trailhead(accessible via the Mammoth Lakes shuttle system. stop number 1. tix available at the Mammoth Mtn Lodge. $7 ea/round trip) and head along the Shadow Lake trail to spend the night at Ediza Lake-or Iceberg if you have extra energy.

As SSSDave mentions you'd also need to nab a permit-there are 12 walk-in spots available.

this trip is relatively 'easy'-with only one good steady stretch of uphill, around 800' that takes you to the beautiful Shadow Lake-a great place for lunch, and a swim but no camping. you get to Ediza a short few miles afterward and are treated to views of the Minarets, Ritter and Banner peaks. good camping on the rocky outcrop above the lake, and across the stream and up to the left of the lake itself. once setup you can either relax, swim and fish, or hike up to Iceberg Lake-another beauty set below the Minarets to explore-maybe another mile or so..

as i said-its definitely a little further than you'd like but a beautiful area that id recommend.

can't really go wrong with that whole area.
good luck and enjoy your trip!
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Ediza.jpg
this greats you upon arrival to Ediza.
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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby HiSierra » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:51 pm

The trails out of the Mammoth Lakes areas are more suitable for day hikes, but they might work fine for a first timer bp trip. Sounds like you're plenty fit to go for the Shadow Lake trail. If you run out of gas, you can camp along the creek just past Shadow Lake, about 5-6 miles, which was the range you're shooting for. If you do that, you can then dayhike to Ediza or Iceberg. If you catch the first shuttle to Agnew Meadows at 7am, you'd be at Shadow lake for lunch. The climb up to the Lake is the hardest part, but its not that bad. Keep the packs as light as you can, its just one night. Whatever you decide, you really can't go wrong.

This is Shadow Lake as view from the Pacific Crest Trail (High Trail) across the San Joaquin River. The trail climbs up along side the cascade falls coming out of the lake flowing down to the river.

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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby Fran » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:27 pm

I am not a backpacker, but over the years have taken most of the day hikes around Mammoth ranging from 3 to 12 miles roundtrip. For some reason, last summer was the first time we took the Shadow Lake trail, and I would vote for that. I am getting old and slow so did not attempt getting farther up the trail to Ediza. Wish I'd done it years ago! Anyway, that hike was very impressive in it's scenic variety and beauty. Very fascinating landscapes. I have a video of it on Youtube and you can find lots of others (better than mine). If you have the time and energy, I have heard Ediza is even better than Shadow. Have fun!
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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby WarrenFork » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:03 pm

My first choice would also be the Shadow Lake trail. The lake itself is one of the beauty spots of the Sierra--the impact from too many people camping there is why the shore area is closed to overnight use today. There are nice sites on the creek up the trail and Ediza is another superlative spot if you can push on that far. The climb up to Shadow from the River Trail isn't too bad if you get an early start.
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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby Canyonlands » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:10 pm

what about thousamd island lake ? its about 10 miles from agnew meadows. i will do that hike as my first overnight backpacking trip in early august. i take the high trail to the lake and the river trail on my hike back

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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby catpatch » Tue May 03, 2016 6:39 pm

Thank you all for your help. My daughters and I had an AMAZING trip to Ediza Lake 7/15. The hike to Shadow Lake was unbelievably beautiful. And yes, it was the hardest part of the trip. We hardly saw anyone. There were a couple of other folks at Ediza, but we were sort of glad for some company. We will never forget our first backpack trip to the Ansel Adams Wilderness!!

Getting the permit at the Ranger Station in Mammoth was easy. Got there a little early the day before and waited for it to open. Oh, and we rented a bear can there too. Rangers were super nice, answered all my questions, and recommended we buy a map. It came in handy when some other people on the trail needed direction assistance.

We got to the trailhead (Agnew Meadows) early the next day (by 7am), which was a blessing. We were very glad to see our car on our return and not have to wait for a shuttle.

The AAW was unbelievably beautiful and unspoiled. Everywhere we looked it was just beauty, and more beauty. Coming from dried-up SoCal it was such a treat to see. We ventured to Tuolumne Meadows for sightseeing the next day by car, and it was a mad house. So many people and cars. It was a shock, but still beautiful. So I am glad we did not try to get a permit (impossible anyway) for that area since its a very popular trailhead. I would highly recommend hiking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. We will be back. Going Zion this summer, but my heart yearns for the Sierras.

Thank you again for all your help, the pictures are beautiful, but has to be hiked to appreciate.
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Re: One nighter in Mammoth

Postby markskor » Wed May 04, 2016 7:50 am

SSSdave wrote:
Here is an idea right there in Mammoth Lakes. You will need a wilderness permit from the Visitor Center. Note most backcountry destinations are on a quota system with permits divided between reservations and walk-ups. You will need to get a walk-up permit by being at the visitor center when they begin issuing permits, which is 11am on the day before your trip begins. Because there may be a line, get there at least by 10:30am to ensure receiving a permit. The VC also rents bear canisters.

To clarify - increase your odds -
Mammoth Lakes Wilderness Permits - (they open at 8:00/in line by 7:00 - 7:30) - however, you will have to wait a bit as they do not give out the "next day" permits until 11:00 but, they do give you a "line number", when the doors open up at 8:00. Hold onto it; go to breakfast (Stove, Breakfast Club, Vons....BTW, free shuttle buses here in Mammoth), and when you return promptly, just before 11:00, show them/redeem this little, blue, laminated number - you will be given line preference over all others in line, as to this number.
BTW, last year was a #3, (FYI, #2 arrived/came back a bit too late - oops!)...I got that second permit slot.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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