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Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

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Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby schmalz » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:06 pm

Hey HST,

I hope everyone's summer plans are going well. Mine are in jeopardy due to the Willow Fire, so I'm currently researching alternatives in case my planned trip won't work. I was planning on doing 7 days over Duck Pass starting next Monday, but that area has been getting smoked out so now it all depends on how the fire plays out. Unfortunately, that "area" comprises the majority of wilderness where a trip of that length is feasible with a dog. So, I'm looking a bit outside of my normal zone. I'm considering Golden Trout... I have some fun ideas for Emigrant but I don't want to do the western part of it if there will be a heatwave going on. I'd rather avoid it at the very least if I can, which leads me towards Hoover Wilderness.

I have scoped out the maps and looked over some trip reports, and it looks like I could piece together a great trip out there. The only problem is how to get into the backcountry. I don't think my Subaru could make it to Leavitt Lake, but if anyone would like to try to talk me into it, I'll consider. Leavitt Meadows seems like the most logical choice after that, but I read a trip report from Wandering Daisy which read "I will never take this trail again. The combination of natural sandy soil and heavy horse use have made this route miles upon miles of working hard for every step – like walking on soft beach sands", which is strongly worded enough to leave me wondering just how bad it is. Anyone else care to give a review? Are there alternatives I might be missing?



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Re: Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby balzaccom » Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:59 am

We've hiked that trail twice in the last few years. Not our favorite trail, but it is the best route to get to Dorothy Lake and that wonderful country. Start early in the morning and it's much better. The later you hike, the hotter it is, and it's about five of six miles of fairly flat but not too scenic trail before you start getting to the good stuff.

Then again, the road to Leavitt Lake is only about two miles long. Why not just park where it gets a little rough, and hike in from there?
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Re: Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby EGBill » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:09 pm

It is a hot and dusty/sandy trail... Leave early in the morning to avoid the sun!!! :D
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Re: Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby caddis » Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:15 am

I would give the Leavitt Lake road a try first. I've been on it only once but it was in much better condition than other roads.

The Leavitt Meadows trail is a fairly easy trail but the miles seem tedious.
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Re: Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby Tom_H » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:20 pm

I've hiked it several times. It's not my favorite trail, but it certainly is not the worst one either. It's flat. It can be warm. Parts of it can be dusty. There can be a lot of cow manure. OTOH, there is some pretty scenery. It often is snow free weeks before the majority of Toiyabe/Stanislaus area. The climb to Dorothy Lake has significant elevation gain. So, while I don't love it, I also do not hate it.
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Re: Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby schmalz » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:23 pm

Thanks for all the tips everyone. I feel more confident with my knowledge of the area now. I think that the trail would be fine for us with an early start. However, given more thought my plans have moved a bit west and we are targeting the Emigrant again.

The trip I was thinking about doing here will be done eventually though, so all of this information will be put to good use and posted here eventually.
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Re: Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby k9mark » Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:59 pm

Its been awhile, but the last time I saw the road im not sure a Subaru can make it unless the roads been graded.
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Re: Is the Leavitt Meadows trail really that bad?

Postby DLeikam » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:33 pm

k9mark wrote:Its been awhile, but the last time I saw the road im not sure a Subaru can make it unless the roads been graded.


I drive this once every year or two...about 7(?) years ago I did it in my outback and it was borderline at best. Since then I've taken a 4wd truck every time and every year the road is worse. It hasn't been graded in the 7 years I've been up there. Unless you have superhuman powers, I really don't think a Subaru will make it. I have a friend that regularly parks at the bottom and hikes in, just over an hour, mostly shaded. And once you're up there, you have lots of options to head into the backcountry.
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