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Advice: Twin Lakes area

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Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby DLeikam » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:27 pm

I am planning our second backcountry trip in about two weeks, right at mid-September, will be me and my 7 year old daughter. Earlier this summer we hiked up to East Lake in Hoover and spend a few days, and we're looking to widen our nets and try something new, but also off the beaten path. We're planning on a two nighter: drive up and car camp Thursday night, hit the trail first thing Friday morning, and come back Sunday. I have never been to Virginia or Twin Lakes area because I've heard of all the traffic those places see, but I read another (few) reports here about heading to Maltby lake via Little Slide Canyon and am intrigued...questions below:

1) where is the actual parking/trailhead at twin lakes? I can see boats on the western most shore and obvious vehicle traffic, but I am trying to get a good solid handle on how many miles we're talking since I'll have my daughter with me and don't see an obvious trailhead on google earth.
2) ok, the climb/scramble up Little Slide Canyon looks pretty tough: 2k feet in just over a mile and half - plus the talus etc. I'd guess about 2 hours to make it up that with my company, any other thoughts on this part of the route?
3) A big part of the trip is fishing, my daughter is asking for a fly rod now for her birthday (7 years old in Oct) so I'd hate to actually pull that off only to find out Maltby or Ice lakes are barren. Anyone know the status of these lakes?
4) Are any of the other lakes south of twin lakes accessible? I see glacier and avalanche, any thoughts on these?
5) Wildcard: open to any and all other suggestions for different locations - so far I love Hoover and haven't really ventured around much other than that. Coming over 108 but also can easily go over 4 or 88. My "low adventure" option (this was the original plan until I read about Maltby and got interested) was to just spend the days at Emma Lake - this is still an option if this is too late in the season to take a 7 year old four or five miles out.

Thanks!



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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby jessegooddog » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:07 pm

If I were taking a child, I would check to see if hunting season has opened in this area, it's already started in the Owens Valley. If you are planning to hike to the May Lundy mine area and surrounding lakes, the trail starts at the end of the dam. The Barney Lake trail goes out of the campground at the far end of the 2nd lake, if I remember correctly.
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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby sierraholic » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:19 am

Roosevelt, Lane, and Secret Lakes out of Leavitt Meadows TH might be a good option. Only 3-4 miles in, it can have good fishing for brook, rainbow, and cutties. I have hooked a 16" cuttie out of Secret, with my father in law hooking a 18" cuttie out of Roosevelt. I plan on taking my 5 year old daughter there next summer. Nice gradual uphill to the lakes (Secret has a little steep section at the end). Secret has a great campsite on the southeast side up on a rocky outcropping. Lane has some good ones on the southwest end near the peninsula that juts out into the lake. Hope you have a great time!
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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:43 am

DLeikam wrote:I am planning our second backcountry trip in about two weeks, right at mid-September, will be me and my 7 year old daughter. Earlier this summer we hiked up to East Lake in Hoover and spend a few days, and we're looking to widen our nets and try something new, but also off the beaten path. We're planning on a two nighter: drive up and car camp Thursday night, hit the trail first thing Friday morning, and come back Sunday. I have never been to Virginia or Twin Lakes area because I've heard of all the traffic those places see, but I read another (few) reports here about heading to Maltby lake via Little Slide Canyon and am intrigued...questions below:

1) where is the actual parking/trailhead at twin lakes? I can see boats on the western most shore and obvious vehicle traffic, but I am trying to get a good solid handle on how many miles we're talking since I'll have my daughter with me and don't see an obvious trailhead on google earth.
2) ok, the climb/scramble up Little Slide Canyon looks pretty tough: 2k feet in just over a mile and half - plus the talus etc. I'd guess about 2 hours to make it up that with my company, any other thoughts on this part of the route?
3) A big part of the trip is fishing, my daughter is asking for a fly rod now for her birthday (7 years old in Oct) so I'd hate to actually pull that off only to find out Maltby or Ice lakes are barren. Anyone know the status of these lakes?
4) Are any of the other lakes south of twin lakes accessible? I see glacier and avalanche, any thoughts on these?
5) Wildcard: open to any and all other suggestions for different locations - so far I love Hoover and haven't really ventured around much other than that. Coming over 108 but also can easily go over 4 or 88. My "low adventure" option (this was the original plan until I read about Maltby and got interested) was to just spend the days at Emma Lake - this is still an option if this is too late in the season to take a 7 year old four or five miles out.

Thanks!

The parking lot is at the campground entrance, at the end of the lake; they charge something like $10/week for parking. You have to hike about a quarter mile through the campground.

For all I know, your daughter may be exceptionally tough, but Little Slide Canyon would be a very difficult route for most 7 year olds.

I don't know anything about fish, but searching the Fishing Hole for Maltby I didn't get any results. So fish-wise, it's a gamble at best.
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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:23 am

I would agree that Little Slide Canyon would be on the harsh side for even the toughest 7-year-old. Moreover, if fishing is a major priority, I believe better or at least equivalent fishing can be had for less effort. I have not been to Malby and Ice because they are supposed to have brook trout (2012 DFG online fishing guide; also earlier info from >20 years ago) and I strongly suspect (but could be wrong) that these lakes will contain a whole mess of small fish. For what I'd guess is similar action for small and very numerous brookies you and your daughter can hike in beautiful scenery with way less effort out of Virginia Lakes to places such as Cooney and Frog Lakes.
However, after your experience at East Lake, which included both success and large fish, quantity fishing for small fish may not be attractive to either you or your daughter. Sierraholic's advice about Roosevelt, Lane, and co. is a good one, although that location verges on a more "premium" sort of fishing wherein one either catches large fish or gets skunked owing to the lower population density. The scenery at Roosevelt and Lane is not in the same league as East Lake, either, but, then again, East Lake is pretty top-of-the-line when it comes to scenery. If you are coming up 108, you have many more options than Hoover Wilderness destinations. For example, you might think of heading up 50 to Desolation Wilderness. Nearly all of the famed Desolation fishing spots can be reached with no more effort than was expended to get to East Lake and I suspect your driving time to the trailhead would be about the same: the Glen Alpine trailhead (Fallen Leaf Lake) works nicely for you can plan a trip where you have a mess of lakes that mix some lunker hunting spots (ie fewer fish but really big ones) with other lakes that offer a higher rate of return but smaller (not stunted, though) fish. Out of Eagle Falls you can reach the Velma Lakes where you can also have a "variety" package of different fishing experiences at hand in easy-to-reach lakes. The Meeks Creek drainage requires a bit more work to reach the first lake (4.5 mi or something), and shades a bit more toward "premium only" but it still offers quite a slate of lakes (furthest of main chain from trailhead is something like 6.5 mi but I think it's still a bit under 2000' gain, so not too bad). If you want to stay on the west flank of the range you can slide southward and head in out of Fresno (probably not much further to drive than the destinations above) to accessible destinations in SW Ansel Adams Wilderness (various trailheads out of the Clover Meadow area, with Fernandez/Norris being the best), Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, Jennie Lakes Wilderness, or a few destinations you can reach with fairly short hikes off of the Florence-Edison Road.

As jessegooddog notes you should be aware of hunting season. This doesn't tend to be too bad unless your trip is on the opening weekend in a given deer zone. In the years I'd do a lot of fall fishing with my wife I'd schedule to avoid opening weekend in any one deer zone, then schedule trips in a given zone after the opening weekend. Here are some of the 2013 opening dates from the DFG website: Desolation is in D5 (opens Sept. 28), most of Hoover is in X12 (opens Sept. 21) with a bit (anywhere south of Virginia Lakes road) in X9a (Sept. 21). Should you consider the southern west flank out of Fresno you'd be in D7 (opens Sept. 21).
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: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby DLeikam » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:05 am

Thanks for the excellent responses! Maybe the answer is to hike up out of Virginia Lakes - I have not been there but from the looks of it, should be a pretty easy hike in. When we went to East Lake, my daughter got fixated by Hoover Lakes on the map and we were pretty close to them when we turned around at the advice of a ranger. It looks like they are very accessible from this side also, so she'd get a kick out of that.

I also saw there is Oneida lake, just out of Lundy, any comments on that location? I searched and read a (few?) trip reports and it looks like a decent child location.

Regarding the big picture destination or what part of the Sierras to "target", I keep defaulting to Hoover, this is the only place I have been and feel very comfortable - squarely in my comfort zone. I need to break out of that and in the interest of doing just that, I checked out from the library a book on hiking the Desolation (a destination recommendation of GB's from a few months ago). The book starts with something like "the desolation wilderness is anything but desolated, there are people everywhere" - which sorta turned me off this destination. Any comments on that? Ansel Adams looks spectacular, I think we will probably head there on the next trip, probably next summer.
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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby balzaccom » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:07 am

Right now Virginia Lakes is in a lot of smoke from the Rim Fire. It's a beautiful area, and the hike up to the lakes is within the abilities of a smaller child. The last 1/2 mile to the pass...and the trail beyond the pass...are more difficult. But you won't get that far. There are fish in the larger lakes at Virginia, but also a lot of day hiking/foot traffic.

Other options? I agree --LIttle Slide Canyon is way too much for a kid--and the trail up to Barney Lakes is tough as well.

Sounds like you don't want to do Saddlebag Lake/Twenty Lake Basin. That would be the easiest, with a boat ride into the bargain. But there would be more people.

You could look at our last trip: Walker Lake trailhead to Lower Sardine Lake. It's a tough trail...but if you have all day, you can take it easy, and it is short---about four miles. And I will guarantee she will catch more brook trout 7-10 inches than you can imagine.

Another option is Noble Lake out of Ebbetts Pass...also a good climb. The fish are bigger here, but much harder to catch.

And does it have to be a lake? Clark Fork out of 108 is a nice, 4-5 mile hike, some climbing, but a nice waterfall to see....and good fishing in the creek once you get above the waterfall. Nobody ever goes there.

WE've got trip reports on all of them on our website.
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check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:02 am

DLeikam wrote:I also saw there is Oneida lake, just out of Lundy, any comments on that location? I searched and read a (few?) trip reports and it looks like a decent child location.

I need to break out of that and in the interest of doing just that, I checked out from the library a book on hiking the Desolation (a destination recommendation of GB's from a few months ago). The book starts with something like "the desolation wilderness is anything but desolated, there are people everywhere" - which sorta turned me off this destination. Any comments on that?


Regarding Oneida, that is a very choice destination and a very appropriate trip for you and your daughter. It is off on its own spur so it doesn't see as many people as the lakes along the Virginia Lakes trail or East Lake. The fish are not as big as those in East Lake, but they are bigger than the little brookies in the lakes along the Virginia Lakes trail. There are rainbows and brookies in Oneida and they usually top out at 12 to 13", but a few larger ones wouldn't be a shock. They are numerous enough, too, so that there will be a good rate of success. The neighboring lakes such as Crystal (below) and Ada (above) have smaller fish. Ada is overpopulated with small brookies.

Regarding Desolation. Statements I'd heard of the crowds kept me away until the late 80's, but upon taking my first trip to Desolation in 1987, I regretted not having visited the place more often. Because all of the Desolation destinations are pretty easy to reach by trail they tend to see quite a few visitors during the peak summer season, but, like any place in the Sierra, the crowds fall way off after Labor Day weekend, so crowds really won't be an issue from here on out. In my opinion, Desolation had more lunker lakes than any region of comparable size in the Sierra.

Regarding "targeting" a specific area, I think the Sierra has so much to offer along its entire length. One can select choice locations to hike with your daughter all over the range, so I don't believe one needs to focus on any one given area. You can start in the northernmost areas, such as Lakes Basin (north of Highway 49 and Yuba Pass) which has many short hike destinations and work all the way south to Golden Trout Wilderness on the south end. There is so much to choose from. The west flank as well as east flank offers some attractive destinations with a particularly rich set of options springing from the various highways that head to the Sierra from Fresno (49, 168, 180). East, west, north, or south, there are too many nice destination to count.
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: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby tim » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:05 am

We came back through Bridgeport and over Sonora Pass on Monday. It is extremely smoky and could stay that way for quite a while, given the prevailing SW winds.
Desolation Wilderness won't be busy after Labor Day, especially the Aloha area because the boat across Echo Lake has stopped running. Without the boat its a fair distance to hike in (~5.5 miles) from the Echo Lake trailhead, though not too bad in terms of elevation gain. But Tahoe's been fairly smoky too.

We took my 8 year old and our friends took their 6 year old to Ediza over Labor Day weekend. Very pretty up there. But out of Mammoth the Duck Pass trail to Pika Lake is an easier option for kids if you're prepared to drive a bit farther down the east side, because you can take two days to get over the pass and fish the lakes on the way (our trip report from last year: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8103).

You might want to leave some flexibility about whether to go north or south of 108 depending on which way the wind is blowing, especially as there will be no issue with permit quotas.
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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby mediauras » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:52 pm

I hiked up Little Slide Canyon this summer, and it was AWESOME! But would I take my young kids (5 and 8) up it? No way. Tough hike. Desolation would be a great choice though. I was there last month, my first time actually. I had always been scared away by the "crowds". Well, it was crowded, but only on the main trails and just off of them. Scamper away off trail just 10 minutes (easy with the open granite bowls and what not) and you'll be alone. I owe a TR here, but on the advice of some HST members I ended up at Waca Lake. Close to Aloha, where the crowds were, but -- in early August, prime season -- I had the lake to myself. It was fantastic. ... Sylvia Lake in Desolation I have on my list for my kids next year.
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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby oleander » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:40 pm

Yep: Smoke. We drove over the Sonora Pass/108 twice - first on Aug. 25, then again on Labor Day - and both times, it was getting the brunt of the Rim fire. Terrible smoke. Towards Labor Day the smoke was starting to move south, affecting the Bridgeport area trails and northeastern Yosemite as well as Sonora Pass.

Whether or not the smoke is still an issue in mid-Sept, the ideas to go to either Desolation Wilderness, or Duck Pass/Pika Lake from Mammoth, are both excellent. Much easier to see a 7-year-old negotiate that terrain. And those areas are both very popular; mid-September you will get a special treat by having them mostly to yourselves.

Can't comment on fishing potential at either location.

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Re: Advice: Twin Lakes area

Postby DLeikam » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:00 am

For the first time ever, I looked at a map of Desolation and started planning the route in to lakes around Aloha, that seems doable and looks beautiful. Unfortunately, I miscalculated and did so badly: since school has started, we aren't able to leave Thursday night, we're stuck with a Friday evening departure and Sunday morning return. That's hardly time to do anything unless you hike in Friday night in the dark which probably won't fly. Regarding Waca or lakes around that, what trail would you take in this time of the year with the water taxi not running at Echo? Looks like a good initial climb but would it be the trail head out of Twin Bridges (Ralston?).
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