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Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

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Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

Postby scipio » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:55 pm

This forum has been a great help in trip planning (and I bought a tent from another member!), and now as I gear up for what will likely be my only Sierra trip this summer, I would like to ask for some advice. Really appreciate the wealth of information in HST, and 100% promise to post a trip report with photos on return!

Group size: 4
Experience level: Level 2 (some easy cross-country experience). We're all pretty fit.
Comfort level: Class 2 terrain OK, river crossings OK
Main interest: Forests, swimming (lakes or rivers), big mountain scenery, exploration
Trip duration: 3 days/2 nights
Mileage: 15 miles or less per day
Route/logistics preference: Out and back
We will not have a dog with us

We are planning to camp at Iva Bell Hot Springs Friday(28th) and Saturday(29th) night, hike out Sunday morning. We are driving up from Orange County Friday morning, and hoping to pick up our permit in the overnight box at Mammoth Visitor Center by about 6/7AM, then hit Fish Creek Trail at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead as early as we can, and head straight for Iva Bell to secure a good campsite early (we hope.) I've never been in the area before and am really excited to get out there. I've tried to research as much as possible, but there are a few things I wasn't able to determine from online sources.

Questions:

1. If we arrive before the first Reds Meadow shuttle departs (looks like 7:15AM?), can we drive the road to Reds Meadow ourselves, or is the shuttle required at all times, and we just have to wait for the shuttle to start? I see there are exceptions for certain conditions, does anyone have experience with this? What about parking (if we are able to drive in)? Does the Reds Meadow resort allow people to park there for several days for a fee, for example? Or Reds Meadow Campground?

2. We'd like to use an existing campsite / fire ring at Iva Bell. Where are the existing campsites there, and which is the best one, if it's not already taken? Is it likely to be crowded?

3. Where exactly are the pools? The best-sounding description I could find is here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10897&p=83123&hilit=+iva+bell+#p83123 can anyone tell me if there are better directions, or GPS co-ords for them?

4. What's good to explore in the area, especially for a day trip on Saturday? We were look at going to Los Keys Lakes, or up Sharktooth Creek, or following Fish Creek trail farther up Cascade valley and visiting Purple Lake or Lake Virginia. Open to any suggestions or recommendations!

Many thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions!



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Re: Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:28 pm

1. If we arrive before the first Reds Meadow shuttle departs (looks like 7:15AM?), can we drive the road to Reds Meadow ourselves, or is the shuttle required at all times, and we just have to wait for the shuttle to start? I see there are exceptions for certain conditions, does anyone have experience with this? What about parking (if we are able to drive in)? Does the Reds Meadow resort allow people to park there for several days for a fee, for example? Or Reds Meadow Campground?


http://www.nps.gov/depo/planyourvisit/f ... ations.htm

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Re: Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:43 pm

I just got back from there.

The shuttle was great. We parked at the ski lodge and did not regret it - parking is very limited at/near the trailheads. There is a ten dollar fee per car and the shuttle is seven dollars round trip, and we did not have to back up or down the narrow one lane road to let anyone go by....

The pools are everywhere- more of them than you will find. Campsites are everywhere too. Following use trails (many of them steep) helps. Don't bother trying to get coordinates. A lady we met there said she has been going for years and found a pool she had never seen before - seriously, there are probably well over 20 of them within half a mile of the trail junction. Follow the water flowing across granite.

Bring shoes you don't mind getting muddy, that have traction.

There were 25+ people last weekend. We hardly saw them. Campsites and pools are plentiful and not on top of each other.

We were going to go up to Lost Keys - we never made it. Exploring the steep hillside was plenty for our layover day.
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Re: Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

Postby scipio » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:52 pm

Maverick, AlmostThere,

Thanks for the helpful link/suggestions. It looks like the shuttle will be the way to go for us then.
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Re: Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

Postby tim » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:02 pm

Yes that was my description you linked to. Sorry, I don't have GPS coordinates. But I really don't see how you can miss it once you head up the hill unless you give up too soon. There is a fire ring there and it is close to the lowest/biggest pool. Take crocs/flip flops for going across the muddy meadow to the pools.

I would advise driving into the valley and parking at Reds Meadow (you can have a nice cooked breakfast there before you set off) since you want an early start. Much simpler and quicker than parking at Mammoth Mountain (and much better than waiting for a shuttle on the way out). The only requirement is to pass the entry gate before 7am, which is strictly enforced. Then you pay on the way out, which is cheaper than the shuttle for a group (and free if you have the annual national parks pass). So you will need to be picking up from the night box by ~6.20am at the latest. Sounds like a very early start from Orange County!

On the layover day, Lost Keys is a very long haul up the hill. Wandering up Fish Creek towards Second Crossing would probably be more pleasant, then exploring/enjoying the rest of the pools can easily take several hours, especially up towards the top of the hill where the views are best.
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Re: Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

Postby scipio » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:48 pm

Thanks Tim, Appreciate your advice. Looks like we might stick around for our layover day, and maybe walk a little farther up the Fish Creek trail.

Does anyone know how long do the shuttle typically takes to get from the first stop in Mammoth, to the Rainbow Falls trailhead? 30 minutes? 1 hour?
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Re: Fish Creek Trip Advice 28-30 August

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:43 pm

It's about an hour to that end of the road.
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