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Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

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Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby mangomegan » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:42 pm

We're hoping to make it out for our first trip of the year, as long as my daughter has healed properly from toe surgery!

The Little Lakes Valley has been on our list; planning to head in early in the week of September 5. The mileage is limited, it seems, and we're looking for tips on how to extend our time back there. Maybe 3 nights.

Also, despite lots of googling, I still don't have a decent sense of which lakes are preferable for camping, so input there would also be appreciated!

Thanks in advance. Kids are 7 and 10, by the way.

Edited to add: my husband is a lower leg amputee, and thus cannot do much scree...too hard on him.



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Re: Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:10 pm

There are several lakes that offer good camping, pick one, Hidden Lakes and Chickenfoot offer a bit more solitude. Hike back towards Morgan Pass, visit Gem Lakes, hike up to Ruby Lake, and hike up the Mono Pass Trail to the fabulous lookout on the way up, it offers you a grand view of Little Lakes Valley. :nod:
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Re: Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby mangomegan » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:31 pm

Thanks!

To get to Ruby, is there a decent cross-country option, or would it be better to go back to the fork in the trail by Mack Lake?
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Re: Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:38 pm

You can shoot up from Box Lake hooking up with the trail to Ruby, below 11200, meeting up with the trail about where it forks off. Don't get to close to peak 11902, it gets steep the closer you are to it.
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Re: Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby mangomegan » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:54 pm

Perfect--thanks much! Just the kind of info I needed :)
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Re: Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:22 pm

One of the nice things about Little Lakes Valley is that there are these little nooks and crannies just off the main trail that are easy to get to (ie very easy off trail) and get you more solitude with a few tenths of a mile of walking. This includes simply camping on the side of major lakes opposite the main trail. Perhaps the best little hideways are the string of lakes that sit east of Long Lake (and downstream from Chickenfoot). I took my wife there on our first backpacking trip together 30 years ago. The lakes E of Box are a bit better known (Hidden L. etc) but they're still nice. As for being on the opposite side of a popular lake, Long Lake offers some nice possibilities. As for scenic little side pockets that require a tad more hiking, the Treasure Lakes are very nice and there is use trail of sorts that follows their outlet stream up from the upstream end of Long Lake. Finally, if you wish to explore just a tad further without doing too much elevation gain and distance, going over Morgan Pass to the Morgan Lakes is a nice side trip.
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Re: Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby kpeter » Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:36 pm

My report from a year ago might be helpful to you.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12917&p=96761&hilit=chickenfoot#p96761

I thought the middle of the north shore of Chickenfoot lake was very nice camping with great views--and no one else was there. I also saw the off trail lakes downstream from it that were surprisingly quiet considering the crowds, although the setting was not as picturesque in my opinion.

The hike up Morgan Pass is interesting historically too--the whole trail is an old mining road leading to the top of the Pine Creek mines that are more familiar to people from the view from the Pine Creek trailhead. The Morgan Lakes are interesting and worth a day hike.

I agree with giantbrookie's "nooks and crannies" description. Unlike some parts of the Sierra, everything in Little Lakes Valley is on a smaller scale, with little knobs and lakes that break up the terrain in interesting ways. It is a fun place just to amble about, exploring.
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Re: Little Lakes Valley -- how to extend the trip/mileage?

Postby mangomegan » Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:34 pm

Thanks to all of you! We needed to "pull the trigger" on a permit, so we went ahead and chose nights 1 & 2 at Chickenfoot (we plan to dayhike and explore the nooks and crannies), and night 3 at Ruby Lake. Especially glad after reading your post and TR, kpeter!
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