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Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

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Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby acvdmlac » Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:51 pm

I'm interested in hearing about favorite day hikes from trailheads on the Sierra East Slope in the section from North Lake to Whitney Portal. Thinking mostly about aesthetic rewards--views of peaks and Owens Valley; streams, falls and lakes; desert sage to alpine meadows, variety of flora and fauna, etc.. I'm a Level 3 backpacker, have already been over Piute, Bishop, Kearsarge and much of Shepherd Pass, looking for suggestions for other similarly rewarding trails to take a fit but inexperienced newbie on day-hikes from East Side. Something in the 8-12 mile round trip with 1,500-2,500' ascent would be about right. What are favorites? Thanks, I'm all eyes and ears! Love this forum! :)



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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby gary c. » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:51 pm

You said that you have been to Kearsarge so you already know how great that view is. I don't see how you could go wrong with a hike to Cottonwood Lakes and maybe New Arny Pass.
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby cloudlesssky » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:53 am

Gary C. is spot on, the Cottonwood lakes makes a great day hike in the 8-12 mi range. You won't get the 1500-2500 ascent unless you go up one of the Army passes.

Another option would be Big Pine lakes. They get overlooked because there isn't any hiker access out to JMT/PCT. You can adjust your mileage by limiting the number of lakes you visit. A few of the lakes are glacial runoff so they hake that blue opaque look.

Here are some pictures from a day hike I took to Big Pine lakes last year:
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Temple Crag with Second Lake in foreground


IMGP0686.JPG
Third Lake


Seventh lake was particularly beautiful in July this past year with lots of wildflowers all around it.
IMGP0701.JPG
Seventh Lake looking back between Gendarme Peak and Picture Puzzle
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby acvdmlac » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:00 am

Fantastic! I've been curious about both Cottonwood Lakes & Big Pine areas, now they're on my list..And thanks for the great photos!
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby Rockchucker » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:56 am

I like birch lake out of mc murray meadows, or shingle mill bench. Both just south of big pine. Also the back trail into coyote from glacier lodge is also nice!
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby DAVELA » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:52 am

willow lake on the South Fork trail from the big pines th.The view from just above the lake is jaw dropping spectacular and imo better than the big pine lakes. 8-9 miles rt from day hiker parking lot.Quite a few amazing gnarled up bristle cone pine trees in the last mile up.
Wish i could link my photos but webshots went bust.
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby Herm » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:55 pm

DAVELA -
Thanks for that tip. I have been interested in exploring that area, and might just give it an early season try this spring, conditions permitting. Given that I find the views impressive in the North Fork Big Pine Creek drainage, your description of the view tantalizes. I think Schmaltz was looking for some info about the creek crossing - that would be interesting.
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby KathyW » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:50 am

That 1,500-2,500' gain is a limiting factor. If you're willing to do more gain, your options will grow.
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby SSSdave » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:29 am

DAVELA wrote:willow lake on the South Fork trail from the big pines th...Quite a few amazing gnarled up bristle cone pine trees in the last mile up.


Actually no bristlecone pines in the Sierra. Likely were looking at foxtail pines or limber pines.
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby freestone » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:50 pm

Rockchucker wrote:
Also the back trail into coyote from glacier lodge is also nice!


I have always wondered about that trail, if it was abandoned or lost from disuse since there is a road up into that area now. looks like it would be a good choice for an early season trip.
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby Rockchucker » Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:31 am

freestone wrote:Rockchucker wrote:
Also the back trail into coyote from glacier lodge is also nice!


I have always wondered about that trail, if it was abandoned or lost from disuse since there is a road up into that area now. looks like it would be a good choice for an early season trip.

The trail is still used pretty regularly and there is also a horse trail that splits off from the main trail that goes from the pack station. Pretty easy hike with nice views.
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Re: Favorite East Slope day hikes south of Bishop?

Postby Rockchucker » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:26 am

SSSdave wrote:
DAVELA wrote:willow lake on the South Fork trail from the big pines th...Quite a few amazing gnarled up bristle cone pine trees in the last mile up.


Actually no bristlecone pines in the Sierra. Likely were looking at foxtail pines or limber pines.

Although your probably right about the foxtail pine, there is a few isolated Bristlecones in the sierras.
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