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Day Hike Options

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Day Hike Options

Postby Arkiehiker » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:33 pm

I will be making my first trip to high sierra country this week to meet up with a group of hikers. We will be leaving the rock creek trail head on Sunday for a 7-day backcountry hike. I will be arriving a few days early and am looking for some day hiking options in the area near the rock creek campground that will help me get acclimated to the altitude. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Love this forum!!!



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Re: Day Hike Options

Postby gary c. » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:26 pm

I don't know if you have been to this site yet but there are some good descriptions of some hikes in rock creek area.
Gary C.

http://www.rockcreeklake.com/
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Day Hike Options

Postby copeg » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:38 pm

Some good descriptions on the site Gary mentioned. I'd definitely recommend the Hilton Creek Lakes area. Fantastic day hike. In addition, just wandering around Little Lakes Valley is something I could do day after day and never tire of.
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Re: Day Hike Options

Postby hikerduane » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:12 pm

Head over Morgan Pass and go fish at Lower Morgan Lake, go up to Ruby Lake. Stalk some bighorns above the mine.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Day Hike Options

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:42 pm

Obviously Little Lakes Valley is a great kickoff point for dayhikes because of its elevation. For your dayhike, would you like to bag a peak, do some fishing, or simply stroll around and see scenery? For peak climbs of moderate difficulty (great views in return) I'd recommend Mt. Morgan or Mt. Dade. For fishing, wandering through Little Lakes Valley, especially the little lakes off the main axis, can be very rewarding, although the biggest fish can be had on the main axis (the lower lakes: Marsh, Heart, Box) and in the lowest of the Hiltons (lowest Hilton and Davis).
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: Day Hike Options

Postby backpacker92108 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:06 pm

Found this string about Hilton Lakes. How is the trail into Hilton Lakes? Someone told me it is pretty beat up from the pack trains going in. Is this a decent trail for backpackers?

Also, any tips on where to camp up there? I guess the higher the better for a quieter time?

Thanks much for any input. I appreciate it.

John
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Re: Day Hike Options

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:09 am

The trail to Hilton Creek lakes is in perfectly good shape for walking, last I walked on it. As for places to camp, as with many trails, the majority of folks camp at the first lake the trail reaches (which is the lowest or second lowest Hilton, depending on the naming system: it is the one above Davis). The Hiltons do not attract anywhere near the number of folks that you get in Little Lakes Valley, anyway, and there are plenty of places to get seclusion. Obviously you can go higher in the chain and find fewer folks, but you can also go down to Davis, which, although it does attract some people is so big that you can certainly find your own spot to camp which is sufficiently far away from the nearest neighbor. One's choice may be swayed by fishing prospects if fishing is part of the game. There are some truly large fish in Davis, so Davis would be my choice. Fish are smaller as one moves up the chain. I haven't checked the updated DFG list/maps on this but the upper Hilton may have goldens in it (Davis has brookies, rainbows, and browns).
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: Day Hike Options

Postby backpacker92108 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:35 am

Thank you so much for your excellent reply filled with information and tips.

Do you know anything about Tamarack Lakes and that area? Is it more or less difficult than Hilton Lakes? Any fishing tips and camping tips for that area? Any good day hikes to be done once the base camp is set up? This would be a 4 or 5 day trip towards the end of summer.

Thanks so much,
John
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Re: Day Hike Options

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:05 am

I visited that area once. It certainly doesn't seem to get nearly the amount of foot traffic that the Hiltons get, let alone Little Lakes Valley. On the other hand the scenery, while nice, is somewhat on the subdued side compared to Hilton or LLV except for the highest two lakes that are ruggedly alpine. The fishing isn't close to what you get in the Hiltons or LLV. Even in 1996 when they were still maintaining fisheries there, these lakes were mostly small fish. According to the draft version of the DFG fishing guide, they've either killed off or let all of the lower lakes go fishless--only the uppermost lakes (Tamarack and Buck) have fish now and those two lakes are hopelessly overpopulated with small stunted brookies. Given the subdued scenery, presence of only one main peak bagging target (Mt Morgan "the higher" to distinguish it from the Mt. Morgan over Davis L) and two mediocre fishing lakes right next to each other, I don't think I'd spend 5 days here; the two day trip I took there in 1996 was enough for me to explore the entire basin (even when it had fish). In contrast a leisurely trip of 5 days could easily be spent in the Hiltons (especially if fishing is a major priority) given that the basin provides variety in species (goldens only in a few lakes, brookies is a lot of them, rainbows only in one or two, brookies, rainbows and browns with some monsters in two of them) as well as quality in size (especially in Davis, but I wouldn't count out some of the others).
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: Day Hike Options

Postby backpacker92108 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:00 am

Thank you. That is exactly the information I was looking for. You are quite knowledgeable about these areas. I really appreciate it.

I would like to get into the Pioneer Basin and 4th Recess areas someday, too. Have you been into those areas? How is the camping and fishing? Any peak bagging from there? Looks like an awesome area to visit.

John
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Re: Day Hike Options

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:52 am

backpacker92108 wrote:I would like to get into the Pioneer Basin and 4th Recess areas someday, too. Have you been into those areas? How is the camping and fishing? Any peak bagging from there? Looks like an awesome area to visit.

Haven't been to either of those places. Others here have, however, so you'll probably hear from them, although they may miss it on this thread, owing to the fact this thread started as a "day hike options" thread and 4th Recess and Pioneer Basin are dayhike targets only for the most Muirish among us. The reports I've received about Pioneer Basin over the years suggest that most (all?) of the lakes there contain small fish; mostly brookies. The beta DFG guide lists a couple of the uppermost lakes as goldens only, and they are south-facing lakes, so they may have some decent sized fish, unless the spawning is too good (leading to too many fish regardless of the food supply). There are certain an array of peaks to be had, although both destinations tend to put one on the opposite side of some of the peaks from the easiest routes. This is true of Hopkins, Crocker, and Stanford out of Pioneer and 4th Recess is a fairly difficult place to launch peak bagging jaunts at the higher peaks (the best ones at the headwaters of the drainage are best attacked from the south instead).
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: Day Hike Options

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:27 am

Pioneer Basin is too far for a day hike *and* peak bagging as you have to cross an exposed pass to get into them so if weather craps-out or there is a proplonged thunderstorm you could be benighted. Okay maybe if you are the kind of person who can do say, east ridge Russell in a day, or one of the Whitney routes in a day car-to-car, it would be doable to hike in so some peak bagging and get out by dark. Much better to do them as an overnighter because IMHO what makes these places special are the wonderful hidden gardens, tarns, etc. as the peaks are okay, nothing worth going out of your way for (Bear Cr. Spire is a much better target for peak bagging). 4th Recess is more crowded than Pioneer, but you will see folks in both for sure. I've scrambled all the peaks around Pioneer- not hard at all but some big loose stuff right at the top. The peaks are nothing special. Nice place to wander around in though. Just my two-cents.
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