TR: Twin Lakes and Island Lake, Desolation Wilderness | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Twin Lakes and Island Lake, Desolation Wilderness

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TR: Twin Lakes and Island Lake, Desolation Wilderness

Postby Asolthane » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:40 pm

I am trying to be a good HST citizen and go back and post some trip reports.

This is a trip I picked with help from the HST members - original post viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12953&p=97091#p97091 and specifically because of a recommendation from SSSDave memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=98

SSSdave wrote:
Desolation Wilderness has lakes with good fishing and some with mediocre fishing. Short easy drive from SF, short hike, scenic. We just visited Island Lake out of Wrights Lake and that had a good population of mostly 8-10 inch brook trout with a some larger. Fish south shore areas. No place to camp there with normal tent sites as it is rocky but nearby Upper Twin Lake has flat bedrock expanse well away from trail with sites and has pan sized brookies too. With 2 days you won't have time to visit all the interesting things in that basin. Snow fields still above on Mt Price making good amount of fresh water everywhere. Early summer wildflowers are peaking now. Permits via that print out the actual permit online.,-120.19317&z=15&t=T

David ... 015-1.html

My experience:

The drive to Wrights Lake from SF was a breeze. We slept in the car at the campground with no issues, and got an early start. This trip was pretty immediately, as you are above the treeline 10 minutes from the car. It was a pleasant 3 mile hike to Twin Lakes. Limited campsite options in the basin, they are all relatively close together in this area

We had a nice day hike on day 2 up to Island lake, and then up the East slope to see the top of the waterfall into upper twin lake. Lots of wildflowers. Making the ridgeline and looking down at Lake Aloha would have been pretty easy and fun.

The fishing was disappointing. I didn't see any fish in Island lake, or get any bites. I read in some other forum that it is now fishless. There were some 6-8 inch trout biting at on the North shore of lower Twin Lake, but I didn't get any bites or see any activity anywhere else, including the stream flowing out of lower twin lake.

Overall, a really pretty place that was very easy to get to, not too crowded, with some good potential to summit a peak.

A few photos

This trip is written up in the book Sierra North, if anyone wants more information.

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Re: TR: Twin Lakes and Island Lake, Desolation Wilderness

Postby alc101ma » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:44 pm

I've done this trip a few times. It's definitely true that camping spots are hard to find. There seems to be 1 good area to camp around Island Lake and rest is mostly finding a spot on flat granite.

I remember my first time at Island Lake. My wife was perched on granite by the lake pumping water. The trout were rising all around and we saw what looked to be bats flittering about. The moon was coming up. It was a magical time. But boy, did the wind howl that night. The tent flapped so hard I barely slept.
Hiking and camping in the Bay Area and up the Pacific coast. Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Catching backcountry trout. I write articles, stories, guides, and how to's for exploring the outdoors.
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