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Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:44 pm

rlown wrote:AT.. you should reread what you wrote.. 50' isn't good enough away from the water..


The Yosemite rangers demolish fire rings that are too close to the water. There are campsites within 60-70 feet of Ostrander with very large well established fire rings that remain from year to year, where other years newer ones are removed. And if you want to stick to the 100 foot rule, there are still plenty of spaces there.

In some parts of the park, there are established campsites (thinking here of Vogelsang backpacker campsites) that are clearly within 100 feet of a water source. And the entire heavily used Rancheria Falls campsite area is spitting distance from the creek - yet they insist you camp in the same heavily used sites to avoid causing further impact.



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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:25 pm

I would not take a 5yr old and 8yr old to Deer Lakes. The cross country travel is not bad IF you know the route, but there is lack of water and a potential to get lost. I do not consider it a kid-friendly route. Pika Lake is great. I ran across a family camped there last year. There is limited camping at Duck Lake.

Reconsider driving to Bishop. Nice trails out of Sabrina Lake- Hungry Packer Lake- nice 2-day trip to get there. The lakes east of Bishop Pass are also great. Or go out of North Lake to Piute Lake. If you are willing to go to Little Lakes Basin, it is only about 20 minute more drive to Bishop.
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby oleander » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:47 pm

My group does not have any kids; just adults who are (mostly) new to backpacking. Nonetheless, point taken about the potential to get lost going to Deer Lakes. I am a good orienteer, but I don't want to create more stress or uncertainty for the group, so will stick to trails. Some in my group will be very slow walkers; Pika Lake is an option for Night 2.

I didn't realize the drive to Rock Creek is almost as far just going to Bishop Creek. It's been 10 years since I've been to Rock Creek. Thanks for the heads-up.

- Elizabeth
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby markskor » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:22 pm

Couple of suggestions: trips that I took my then 6-year-old son on, way back when -

1) Onion Valley trailhead lakes, (Too far?) - lots of easy lakes below the pass...Make it a loop or -

2) Not a lake but good fishing and an interesting route for newbies: How about Yosemite Creek trail from 120 to the Valley? Maybe 14 miles total....good for 3 nights, almost all downhill, and there are some nice fish in the pools of Yosemite Creek...Plus, you get to see the big fall from the very top.
When down, stay Valley BP (yes, it is the Valley ) and next morning, one adult can take the morning shuttle and pick up car as the rest hang, back down by 11.

3) Chain Lakes makes a fine destination.

4) Desolation out of Echo always nice too but it gets crowded - permit hassles.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:35 pm

By July am guessing you mean the 4th holiday as that is the date the inexperienced usually get surprised with still wet and snowy conditions. Note some lakes in your title post list and some of the suggested lakes are more than 5 miles hikes. And it would be a stretch to reach Rock Creek in 6 hours driving. Am guessing you are planning a short 3 or 4 day trip? Since your friends are newbies, I'd recommend keeping the total vertical climb to under 1500 feet that eliminates some suggested destinations also. When introducing people of average physical condition to backpacking, the prime directive if one has an interest in ever taking them out again is to make your choices as pleasant as possible:

--------------------------
Distance and vertical climb should be EASY.
The destination ought to be scenic and inspiring to show the value of getting out in the backcountry.
If the weather is foul, do not backpack, do not backpack, and instead car or motel camp per a Plan B.
Avoid mosquitoey destinations because they are miserable to some people even if they have repellant.
A really long drive for a short 3 day trip will gnaw at a new person's patience for such activity.
--------------------------

Of those mentioned, East Lake is probably your best choice. All the choices may have more mosquitoes early July than are pleasant. I have a suggestion that doesn't fit your criteria:

Out of the Stanislaus NF across Cherry Lake at Shingle Springs Trailhead is an easy trail to a magnificent lower elevation granitoid glacial body of water at 6550 feet in Yosemite National park, Kibbie Lake.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=38.05282,-119.84758&z=15&t=T

So why bring 8 newbies to Kibbie?

A short easy drive.
A short 3.5 miles hike with an easy 800 feet of vertical.
There are likely to be far fewer mosquitoes about that lower well dried elevation by early July than higher up at the elevation you noted above 8k.
Lots of nice level granite flats for tenting, most with shade for near lake legal camping.
Easy to obtain the non-quota wilderness permit from Stanislaus National Forest.
Good naturalized self sustaining rainbow trout fishery.
Scenic lake with many glacially carved vertical cliffs plunging right into the lake.
In early July good numbers of wildflowers.
Good dayhikes around parts of the lake.
Nice places to jump in the cool waters and then lay out on smooth clean granite.
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby oleander » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:24 pm

EAST LAKE (Hoover Wilderness): How is the road into the Green Creek/East Lake Trailhead? Ten years ago, we tried to go in there and were told that it wasn't advisable for a little car. We will probably not have a 4wd vehicle. Has it changed? And where is the best camping around East Lake?

GEM LAKE (from June Lake loop): Where is the good camping on the shores of Gem Lake? It loops very steep, from the photos. It's been 15 years since I passed through there, so I don't recall.

We are doing a 3-day, 2-night hike on the weekend of July 14-15.

- Elizabeth
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:32 pm

oleander wrote:That said, the Hoover Wilderness entries east of Yosemite are in contention. Point taken on Barney Lake being overburdened, so I have crossed that one off. Does anyone remember how permitting works at Hoover? I would love to take them to Saddlebag but if the snow is slow to melt, there's some chance our mid-July dates might be too early to start a hike at 10k and go uphill from there. I will check out East Lake, and the Virginia and Lundy entries. (Anyone have an opinion which is the prettiest?) I vaguely remember one of these entries is hard to access if you don't have a 4wd.

Middle Velma: Funny, I've camped there once and my recollection is that it was moderately tricky to find campsites. It's a big lake, so maybe we were on the wrong side. (We camped about midway along the south shore.) There must be a section of Middle Velma with better camping?

Twin Lakes (Desolation): Roomy but really rocky with sharp rocks? That's how I remember it. What's the best part of that basin to camp in?

Chickenfoot (Little Lakes Basin): sounds good. However, this is the highest-elevation of all the lakes we're looking at, so we're a little concerned that if we pop $40 for our permit 6 months in advance, we're taking our chances that a lakes basin at 10,700 feet is (not) melted out by July 13. What are our chances?

Hilton Lakes - same area - I like that they are slightly lower in elevation. Are they as pretty?

June Lakes loop/Agnew & Gem Lakes, I recall not much caring for that trail, but not sure why.


Here's a few more answers. Regarding the Virginia-Green Creek-Lundy options. The three trailheads are all accessible by passenger car and do not require high clearance or 4wd. I think East Lake is the prettiest of all of those, although West is pretty stunning too.

Middle Velma. I've never camped there, but seem to recall seeing some good spots on the E side--opposite the trail and off the beaten track.

Twin Lakes. I think there are good sites to be had and one kind find other good places to camp aplenty between the Twins and Island Lake above, which also has lots of room.

Chickenfoot. Although high in elevation, lakes east of the crest thaw earlier than those west of the crest owing to distinctly less snowfall. July 13 will be fine even in a heavy snowfall year which this winter looks like it won't be. There are other good options in this basin. Long Lake has a very large number of good campsites, for example.

Given that the Little Lakes Valley lakes will be thawed by July 13, certainly the Hiltons won't be a problem. They are pretty, but not as classically scenic and alpine as those in Little Lakes Valley (ie Chickenfoot et al.).

June Lakes loop. I think I know why you don't like that trail. The first part to Agnew Lake out of Silver Lake is fairly steep and it can seem a bit harsh to start right off with that. That having been said, it is really not that far, nor is it that much elevation gain.
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: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:01 pm

oleander wrote:EAST LAKE (Hoover Wilderness): How is the road into the Green Creek/East Lake Trailhead? Ten years ago, we tried to go in there and were told that it wasn't advisable for a little car. We will probably not have a 4wd vehicle. Has it changed? And where is the best camping around East Lake?

GEM LAKE (from June Lake loop): Where is the good camping on the shores of Gem Lake? It loops very steep, from the photos. It's been 15 years since I passed through there, so I don't recall.

We are doing a 3-day, 2-night hike on the weekend of July 14-15.

- Elizabeth

For East Lake, see previous post. The road is fine. There are a ton of campsites on the E side of the lake where the trail is and there may be some hideaways to be found on the NW side with some scouting (don't recall whether there is a 4-tent sort of room there. As for Gem, my recollection is that there are campsites along the NW margin. I recall the trail runs fairly high above the lake along much ofs northern shore. There is also room to camp at the two little lakes just W of Gem (called Billy's Lake). You get there just before the trail comes back down to Rush Creek.
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: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby oleander » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:40 pm

The great thing about this thread is that now the highsierratopix readership has a good 10 years' worth of ideas for 3-day, easier trips. :)
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby Herm » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:00 pm

Mineral King: Eagle Lake or Mosquito Lakes: Nobody has a comment? I sure think that area is gorgeous...

I agree that both are gorgeous, and I have dayhiked to both destinations several times, but never overnighted at either location. However, Eagle Lake is overrun with marmots, so any overnight there may result in gear being taken or abused by marmots. I have seen backpackers coming out of Eagle Lake without their boots - marmots destroyed/stole them - and other gear shredded. The marmots at Eagle Lake are relentless! And at Mosquito Lakes, the mosquitoes can be horrendous!
I think the lakes above Virginia Lakes would be a fine destination, requiring little effort, but offering great scenery and the possibility of further exploration up to the pass and beyond.
Good luck in your quest.
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby oleander » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:12 pm

Curious about the marmots at Eagle Lake. Is that a whenever-you-go problem, or more of an early-season problem?

I remember all the tales of marmots taking over the trailhead parking lot in early season, snacking on critical hoses and car parts. But then they disappear, satiated, after July.

- Elizabeth
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Re: Lakes good for 8 people (4 tents) camping

Postby Herm » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:26 pm

All of my dayhikes to Eagle and Mosquito Lakes have been done in June and July, while camping at Cold Springs Campground. At Eagle Lake, the marmots will basically come right to you, with no fear at all. Best not to leave any gear on the ground, or they will be in/on/chewing it. I don't recall any marmots at or near Mosquito Lakes, but did have a very interesting bear (mother and two cubs) encounter hiking up Mosquito Creek.

Never had a problem with marmots in the campground, but have had marmots get into the engine compartment when parking at the trailhead parking areas during those months (June and July). On one occasion, they removed all of the insulation from under the hood - looked like a barber shop under my truck.
In September 2008, I did a backpack trip over Franklin Pass, and at that time of year, did not have any issues with marmots, though they were present around the trailhead parking areas.
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