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Emigrant Wilderness, Lewis Lakes, start at Kennedy Meadows?

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Emigrant Wilderness, Lewis Lakes, start at Kennedy Meadows?

Postby madeintahoe » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:23 am

Have any of you been to, or know about , lewis, sardella, iceland, ridge & black hawk lakes which are all in the Emigrant Wilderness?...you start at Kennedy Meadows and skirt relief reservoir, then pass saucer meadows looks like a xcounty trail over to all these lakes.
It has been on my to do list for many years, it looks like it would be a nice backpack trip, I have seen a few pictures of the lakes and they look very beautiful. I have not even yet been to Sonora Pass!! Which I hear is very beautiful. Just thought I would check in here to see
Thanks everyone :D



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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:57 pm

My wife and I visited the lakes in 1991 and it was a fine trip, although the fishing was not quite as great as we might have expected. The lakes are beautiful, with the middle Lewis (biggest of Lewis Lakes) probably being the most stunning. The Lewis' are brookie lakes with somewhat numerous and smallish fish. Ridge, Sardella, and Iceland are known as Emigran't golden trout lakes, but apparently self-sustaining rainbows were crowding out the goldens as of 1991. The only golden I saw was a little one in Ridge and everything else we caught was a rainbow, with the biggest fish being in Iceland (caught them to 12", lost some that were at least 14"). Because they are trailless these are fairly isolated, seldom visited lakes, with the possible exception of the nondescript lowest of the Lewis' that is fairly easy to reach.

There are multiple routes into this area. Several variants are shown in the Wilderness Press Emigrant Wilderness guidebook which we didn't have when we did our trip or planned it. We went in via the outlet of Iceland Lake, leaving the trail just downstream of Lower Relief Valley. I wouldn't recommend this route for most. It is probably the most interesting route, but a key ledge at 8400' is somewhat hard to find and some may find part of this ledge a tad exposed for travel with a full pack. Easier are routes going directly the Lewis'. The easiest way in goes up the outlet from the lowest Lewis. From there you can easily reach the spectacular middle Lewis by climbing slabs just north of the middle Lewis outlet stream. To go to Sardella or the upper Lewis, you climb slabs on the spur north of middle Lewis; this is the most scenic part of the hike. From Sardella it is pretty trivial to get to Ridge. From Ridge you can get to Iceland without too much trouble: you will note on the topo that you need to approach Iceland by heading toward it's western shore, given that the southern and eastern shores are cliffy. I hope this helps. By the way, I do in fact have a photo of Iceland on my website.
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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Postby hikerduane » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:27 pm

madeintahoe, I'll have to wait until Saturday to answer when I get home and to my maps. I studied my topo map and found an old, old trail from the north which skirted a couple other lakes and left following a creek and old trail leading to the northwest. If these are the lakes I am thinking about. I had to scare a few cows in the meadow to get to the main trail again. I can't remember all those places I've been to.
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Postby SSSdave » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:57 pm

Yikes I hiked up there in 1975. Makes me feel pretty old. That was during the early days I was only interested in trout fishing. My topographic map skills were in their infancy and I do recall at one point being confused about where I was. I'd passed by a couple of the small lakes I actually intended to camp at, then somehow went the wrong way while trying to reach a third. Instead near sunset kept hiking up and up without finding the lake. I noticed a route to reach the top of Granite Dome so continued up and reached there during dimming dusk. Climbed up near 4k that day and was nearly delerious from exhaustion at the end. In the Dave Hall of Shame for Top 10 Stupidest things I've accomplished in the backcountry. Heck we all go through the learning years and I did too. Next morning I hiked down the other side to Wire Lakes, then found the trail and went by Emigrant Lake to Maxwell Lake where I spent a couple days.

What I recall about those lakes on Granite Dome is well they were deep granite pocket lakes amongst turf surrounded by few if any trees. One reason I think I didn't stop was it was a cool day and there were snowfields about those lakes. Just remember they did not strike me as being pleasant at the time. Too sterile and chilly.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:23 pm

I haven't been to the lakes you mentioned, but have been to Sonora Pass and its beautiful!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Postby hikerduane » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:29 am

OK, I'm home. Pooch and I left Emigrant Lake, went over Mosquito Pass and headed west. I studied my topo map and we located the drainage from the Lewis Lakes and found an old trail and followed it up more or less to the first lake (the small one), cut around and ended up at Ridge Lake or Iceland I believe. When we left, we went down the drainage and old trail from Iceland? and ended up between Lower Relief Valley and Saucer Meadow. We just keep going until we hit the trail. Some younger guys had went xc from Saucer Meadow up, but had to use some ropes to do it. The drainage up to Lewis Lakes was easy to figure out and had the water running down it with the old trail running thru the grass. Nice and peaceful. It wasn't that hard to cross Summit Creek and make connections with the trail up to the Lewis Lakes. We had a break close to the trail then headed up.

Chewing Gum and North Wire Lake are nice too. I didn't care for Long Lake. You won't see many people, or is it just the places I go?
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Postby madeintahoe » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:42 am

Thank you all so very much! I sure appreciate all the info you all posted here on my question, it has helped me

Hikerduane, I do not see chewing gum lake on my map, im probably just not seeing it :retard: but see long and wire lakes, that must have been a really nice hike for you and your doggie. Do you know if they still allow cows in there?

Giantbrookie, I see the way you are talking about to the Lewis Lakes going up the outlet of the lower lake, that to me looks like the best way to get to those lakes. I do see on my map the way you went in up to Iceland Lake..my map does show a trail going to Iceland from lower relief valley...yes I do see that it looks cliffy on the east and south sides.

SN....I remember looking at a few of your beautiful pictures you posted of Sonora Pass...and thinking how beautiful the area looks..hopefully I will get there this summer

Dave, very cool you got on Granite Dome..I was looking at that and thinking that would be a nice little side hike

Thank you all again for helping :D
Hikerduane I just read that they are going to open a Trader Joes in Carson City..did you hear about that?
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Postby hikerduane » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:43 pm

Chewing Gum is Southwest of where you want to go. May not be named on your map?

I saw something in the paper too about Trader Joe's. They were looking into it from what the story said, nothing definite. I have never been to one, being a hick from the sticks.
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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, Lewis Lakes, start at Kennedy Meado

Postby Asolthane » Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:46 am

giantbrookie wrote:My wife and I visited the lakes in 1991 and it was a fine trip, although the fishing was not quite as great as we might have expected. The lakes are beautiful, with the middle Lewis (biggest of Lewis Lakes) probably being the most stunning. The Lewis' are brookie lakes with somewhat numerous and smallish fish. Ridge, Sardella, and Iceland are known as Emigran't golden trout lakes, but apparently self-sustaining rainbows were crowding out the goldens as of 1991. The only golden I saw was a little one in Ridge and everything else we caught was a rainbow, with the biggest fish being in Iceland (caught them to 12", lost some that were at least 14"). Because they are trailless these are fairly isolated, seldom visited lakes, with the possible exception of the nondescript lowest of the Lewis' that is fairly easy to reach.

There are multiple routes into this area. Several variants are shown in the Wilderness Press Emigrant Wilderness guidebook which we didn't have when we did our trip or planned it. We went in via the outlet of Iceland Lake, leaving the trail just downstream of Lower Relief Valley. I wouldn't recommend this route for most. It is probably the most interesting route, but a key ledge at 8400' is somewhat hard to find and some may find part of this ledge a tad exposed for travel with a full pack. Easier are routes going directly the Lewis'. The easiest way in goes up the outlet from the lowest Lewis. From there you can easily reach the spectacular middle Lewis by climbing slabs just north of the middle Lewis outlet stream. To go to Sardella or the upper Lewis, you climb slabs on the spur north of middle Lewis; this is the most scenic part of the hike. From Sardella it is pretty trivial to get to Ridge. From Ridge you can get to Iceland without too much trouble: you will note on the topo that you need to approach Iceland by heading toward it's western shore, given that the southern and eastern shores are cliffy. I hope this helps. By the way, I do in fact have a photo of Iceland on my website.

Seems you could make a loop then. If doing a loop, which direction would you go?

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, Lewis Lakes, start at Kennedy Meado

Postby justm » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:56 pm

I have been there a few times in the last few years. I always went out from Kennedy Meadows. I fished all the lakes. All Lewis lakes have good fishing for brookies. The middle one being the most beautiful. I'm pretty sure Sardella and Iceland lakes are now fishless. Iceland lake is very beautiful, with good campsites, and it's an easy haul down to the trail from there. The cross country travel is very easy up there, it's like a small forest in the sky.
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