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Pine Creek TH in Late September

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Pine Creek TH in Late September

Postby scrotata » Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:58 am

Question relates to Pine Creek TH and the climb up from the TH. I am considering a trip out of there in late September (either up into Granite Park or over Pine Creek Pass to the Royce Lakes area). My concern is that due to logistics, (i.e. travelling from Northern CA; need to pick-up permit, etc.) I most likely wont be able to get onto the trail before noon at best, and more likely it wont be until early afternoon. It appears to be a pretty good climb, with no shade, from TH and trip reports seem to strongly advise starting as early as possible (i.e. before 11:00 am for sure). If I was to start later, am I asking for trouble?

The other question would be if I am starting late, and want to call it a short day 1, where would you advise I camp (assuming I am heading to Granite Park and then assuming I am heading to Pine Creek Pass).

Thanks for the thoughts.

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Re: Pine Creek TH in Late September

Postby windknot » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:25 pm


I had the same logistical challenges that you describe on a trip I did in August 2010, coming from the Bay Area and not able to get on the trail until the afternoon. Though it was earlier in the summer, thunderclouds were coming in that day, so the hike up was cooler than I anticipated. I started hiking at about 2:30pm, got up to the Chalfants, then called it a day. Once you reach Pine Lake (3.5 miles, 2600 feet of gain) there are good spots to camp all along the trail, or just off the trail if that's more your cup of tea. Granite Park itself wouldn't be any harder to get to than the Chalfants, but Honeymoon Lake would make a good stopping point for either direction.

Just as a note, if you take Royce Pass, you can shave off a lot of miles and some time getting directly into the Royces without having to go over to Pine Creek Pass.

Hope this helps.

A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Pine Creek TH in Late September

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:19 pm

You should be OK. As Windknot noted, take stock of your hiking speed and what is necessary to get to the first available campsites, which will be at Pine Lake. Although not very far by distance, it is a fairly substantial amount of gain. Note too that it is likely weather will probably be cooler in late September. The flip side is that the days are shorter, though. Another plus about a late September trip is that you should have no trouble acquiring a wilderness permit (much easier after Labor Day than in peak summer season).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Pine Creek TH in Late September

Postby rayfound » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:39 pm

Either of the pine lakes or honeymoon would make a fine stop. Hike after gets substantially more enjoyable and picturesque.
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Re: Pine Creek TH in Late September

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:34 am

The trail is easy with a good grade - only takes 2-3 hours if your pack is reasonably light. Last year, even in late Sept there was water still flowing in a few places so it is not totally dry all the way. There are also campsites below Pine Lake if you get a late start. The campsites at Pine Lake are on the south side, just off the trail. Fishing is good. I left at 11AM and made it all the way over Pine Creek Pass to French Lake just at dark (but that was a death-march). The trail from Honeymoon Lake to Granite Park is less well maintained and actually easy to miss in a few places. It may be better to do this part of the trail when fresh, the next morning. The trail over Pine Creek Pass is much easier and better maintained, sort of a "no-brainer" trail that I did even when exhausted. There is also camping at a couple of small ponds north of the pass, if you poop out before hitting the pass (which also has a lake with campsites).

I got my permit at the Mono Lake visitor center. Then you can avoid going into Bishop.
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