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Emigrant Meadow to Kennedy Creek-Best Route?

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Emigrant Meadow to Kennedy Creek-Best Route?

Postby Tom_H » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:26 pm

We are currently doing planning for next summer's trip (after snow is gone). I want to do a loop starting and ending at Kennedy Meadow. We would go in via Relief Reservoir, Summit Creek, and Brown Bear Pass, a route I have taken many times. We want to go down Kennedy Creek to get back to Kennedy Meadow. Doing a loop with one vehicle @ one TH makes transportation so much simpler.

From Emigrant Meadow, I see three possibilities:

1. Go north to Lost Lake and from there follow the outlet which becomes a tributary of Kennedy Creek. I read a single post in which a member mentioned a trail going down from Lost Lake; he did not take it due to it still being snow covered and steep. The descent from Lost Lake is a bit steep. My wife has had severe injuries on both knees and could not handle cross country down this slope if there's no trail, especially if there is tallus. I read somewhere that Lost Lake has a good population of brown trout, but that may have been when/if it was air stocked in previous decades.

2. Take the trail that climbs away from High Emigrant Lake along the North Fork of Cherry Creek to the source of that stream, turning cross-country NNW down what appears to be a not too steep small canyon that intersects with the stream that flows out of Lost Lake, after that stream has made its steepest drops.

3. Follow the trail that climbs away from High Emigrant Lake to a point about 1/3 mi. shy of its intersection with the PCT, at which point we turn due west at the very source of Kennedy Creek. I have heard there is a non-maintained use trail from the source to Kennedy Lake.

Anyone know if there really is a trail from Lost Lake down to Kennedy Creek? If so, what kind of conditions are there? Fishing at Lost Lake? Any experiences with possibility 2 above? Is there a use trail @ upper end of Kennedy Creek? Other suggestions/feedback welcome. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.

Tom



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Re: Emigrant Meadow to Kennedy Creek-Best Route?

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:35 pm

Hi Tom,

Welcome to HST! You may want to post your fishing related questions in the
"The Fishing Hole" section too.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Emigrant Meadow to Kennedy Creek-Best Route?

Postby wildhiker » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:11 pm

Your most spectacular option for returning to Kennedy Meadows from the Emigrant Meadow area is your #3 - use the trail (actually old closed mining jeep road) that runs from High Emigrant Lake up and right over the top of Big Sam Mountain down to Kennedy Creek, with awesome views the entire way, and lots of wildflowers in season. By the way, it looked to me like the cross-country route from Emigrant Meadow Lake directly up the stream to High Emigrant Lake would be quite easy and save a couple of miles versus the trail route, although I didn't do it (was coming on the high trail from Bond Pass to the south).

The updated topos in Gmap4 show an actual trail all the way down Kennedy Creek. See:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... illshade=0
The Wilderness Press "Emigrant Wilderness" book also describes this use trail down Kennedy Creek. We were heading to the PCT and out to Sonora Pass when I was there a few years ago, but I do recall seeing a dim trail taking off down Kennedy Creek from the old mining road (also shown as a trail on the topo, but actually as wide as a jeep road).

There is also excellent camping in groves of pines at the very head of Kennedy Creek, with a spring in the meadow providing steady water, views down the canyon, large flower fields on the low pass to Kennedy Canyon to the north, and alpenglow on the cliffs of the cirque to the SE.

As for your option #1, I recall that the cirque below Lost Lake that drains down to Kennedy Creek looks steep and cliffy from the PCT across the canyon. And you get a view down the canyon of option #2 from the old mining road trail over Big Sam Mountain, and it looks awfully steep as well.

-Phil
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Re: Emigrant Meadow to Kennedy Creek-Best Route?

Postby paul » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:26 pm

I have gone from Lost Lake down to Kennedy Lake, and also from Kennedy Lake up to the saddle to meet the old mining road and go over Big Sam. I would not recommend dropping down from Lost Lake - there is a use trail partway, but very steep, and that's the fun part - after that you get to thrash through head-high willows from the bottom of the upper cirque to the other side of Kennedy Creek where you hit the use trail that goes from Kennedy Lake to the saddle. I've also looked down your #2, and it would be a pretty rough scramble. Your # 3 is the way to go, and you get the great view from Big Sam on the way. I did not fish Lost Lake, so can't comment on that, but it is a nice little side trip to go to Lost Lake from Emigrant Meadow - just a grassy valley to walk up, no navigating to speak of.
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Re: Emigrant Meadow to Kennedy Creek-Best Route?

Postby venturefar » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:32 pm

I've hiked from Kennedy Lake to Emigrant Meadow Lake over Big Sam but I haven't tried the approach from Lost Lake before. It is something I've wanted to do for a long time. A friend of mine sent me a letter describing the route you are asking about. I've been meaning to scan these letters into digital form but haven't gotten around to it. Thanks for providing some motivation. I've also attached a couple of pictures of the trail once you get on the shoulders of Big Sam. In one you can see some switchbacks and a pack train coming up the mountain and in the other you can see the trail/road as paul described it with the PCT in the distance (zoom in). I hope this helps with your trip planning.
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bigsamtrail2.jpg
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lost lake route page 1.jpg
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Re: Emigrant Meadow to Kennedy Creek-Best Route?

Postby canukyea » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:33 pm

The route from Lost Lake to Kennedy Lake most definitely contains a stretch of class 3. That part isn't very long but you would probably not want to do it with a full pack, or if you have a full pack, better rope it down or something. The path over Big Sam and then down to the headwaters of Kennedy Lake is pretty scenic and there is a faint trail that is not technically challenging although steeper than your average trail.
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