Grouse ridge area

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janky
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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by janky » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:06 pm

Can anyone recommend a good spot for two boys (9 and 11) and my wife to camp? Which lake would be in the 4-6 mile (one way) away from the most people with decent fishing? Grouse Ridge area is our backup to a trip over the 4th of July weekend so I don't know much about but I did call Tahoe National Forest to discuss snow levels and access roads. I know it will be busy so I'm going to hit the trailhead early. For those that have been there, I was planning on taking access road 18. Once I get to the trailhead, how far is the hike to Lindsey Lake, Penner Lake and even Rock Lake? I don't have a detailed map but going to buy one ASAP. Any suggestions on lakes on the Lindsey Lake trail to be away from people (or maybe that's not possible on a holiday weekend)? Also, fires are ok I presume given the ranger I spoke to mentioned obtaining a fire permit. Just wondering if they put any blocks on fires altogether given the heatwave the last week or so. Any input would be awesome, thanks all.








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wildhiker
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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by wildhiker » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:20 pm

I've done a lot of hiking in the Grouse Lakes area over the decades and have put together my own Caltopo map of trails and cross-country routes. You are welcome to print off sections: https://caltopo.com/m/500Q

On my map, purple indicates routes I have done - dashed for trails and dotted for cross-country. Blue dashed lines are other trails I know exist (have seen the ends and they look good). Thin red dashed lines are other trails mapped in OpenStreetMap. You can play with the upper right layers menu to see different base maps.

Assuming the snow is mostly melted and you can get to the trailheads, the trails from Grouse Ridge Lookout to Glacier Lake and 5 Lakes Basin will be the busiest. The trail out of Carr Lake to Feeley Lake and Island Lake will also be busy (it is the easiest). I like to go in from Loney Meadow on the northwest end. Right where the pavement ends on Bowman Lake Road, a decent dirt road takes off to the right. After about 1/2 mile, there is a major split in this road - the right hand one goes to Lindsey Lake, and the left to Loney Meadow. Loney Meadow has beautiful wildflowers, and then there is a nice trail up Texas Creek all the way to the Rock Lakes (it joins the closed jeep road from Lindsey Lake shortly before lower Rock Lake). Lower Rock Lake has more camping spots, but the upper lake is more alpine.

Another area with fewer people - because it is harder to reach - would be Beyers Lakes in the southeast portion. While driving up I-80 last weekend, that whole south slope from Black Buttes looked basically free of snow. The easiest access to Beyers Lakes is to start from Blue Lake. From the Bowman Lake Road past Fuller Lake, take the side road signed for "Camp Liahona" (a girls camp). Where it splits, take the upper main road that stays high. Eventually you get to a gate that closes this road. Start there and walk up to Blue Lake on the road, and then pick up the trail that starts at the southeast corner of Blue Lake and contours along the slope following an old ditch. It will eventually take you all the way to Beyers Lake trail (passing a trail dropping down from Grouse Ridge Road on the way - you could also take that, but then you have a lot of uphill on the way back). Your big problem getting to Beyers Lakes will be crossing Granite Creek. There is no bridge. Last weekend, you could see this creek roaring from the freeway.

On the map, it looks like you could also access the Beyers Lake trail from Eagle Lakes. The "road" to Eagle Lakes is an extremely rough jeep trail and is often flooded in early season. I don't recommend it.

-Phil

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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by janky » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:12 pm

Thanks Phil for the great post with lots of information. I need to digest this in the next few days as my family and I are getting a hotel Friday night and hitting the access roads.

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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by janky » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:49 pm

I zeroed in on Island Lake. We're going to head up there tomorrow morning really early to try to get a campsite before the masses. Good fishing is a necessity and from my web search both Island Lake and Penner lake have good fishing. Called TNF ranger office and Bowman Road is open all the way to Bowman Lake so we should be good there in terms of access roads. Will report back.

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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by giantbrookie » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:28 pm

wildhiker wrote:On the map, it looks like you could also access the Beyers Lake trail from Eagle Lakes. The "road" to Eagle Lakes is an extremely rough jeep trail and is often flooded in early season. I don't recommend it.
Phil
I have done this but this won't do in early season because there was (is?) no bridge over Fordyce Creek, or at least this was the case when I went this way in the late 90s. Without a bridge I'd say a crossing of Fordyce Creek is out of the question. The jeep trail certainly required 4WD and high clearance and experience driving such trails. It is probably the most difficult jeep trail I've attempted with my vehicle (stock '92 Nissan Pathfinder) and if you're familiar with the Roger Mitchell rating system I'd say there were a couple of spots that were Mitchell class 4. Of course the conditions and degree of difficulty of such trails can change a bit from year to year. Beyers is much better accessed from either the Grouse Ridge side or the Baltimore L. side. The Baltimore approach, however, also requires 4WD (Mitchell class 3) for the jeep trail that ends near Baltimore L. and some off trail work, but it is the closest approach and probably the most pleasant. The jeep trail isn't that long so that if one needs to walk it the added distance isn't huge, but one still has to do off trail.
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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by janky » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:27 am

Got back from backpacking with my two boys and my wife yesterday. We had an awesome time. I'd highly recommend this trip if you're backpacking for the first time with younger kids. My boys are 9 and 11 so it was actually a tad short but the day hikes to other lakes made it worthwhile. Drive from 80 to Bowman Road to the Carr Lake trailhead was uneventful. The final sign to Carr Lake is worn out but there's a log there with spray paint on it (thanks whoever did that). Parking was tight when we arrived Saturday morning but we found a spot. Hike past Carr, Feeley and eventually to Island Lake was really quick as it's only around 1.6 miles. There were loads of people on the trail and already a lot of spots taken when we arrived at Island Lake at 9am so a bit of scrambling to find a good spot but we found an awesome spot on the water and off the trail. Can't say it was the quietest time I've ever had backpacking but that was expected as there's no permits required except for a camp fire. Fishing in Island Lake was awful. I consider myself a very good fisherman but the lake just wasn't producing. I only saw two trout in the little outlet stream near a site and they were spooked very easily. I finally catch fish on some of my day hikes but overall the fishing was subpar. For the reason I don't think I'd go back anytime soon. Total was 4 Rainbow trout and I was fishing every day with my fly rod. My boys had each had one one with spinners but lost both. The mosquitos weren't that bad at all, only really near darkness. Last year at Chain Lakes they were awful even during the day but not the case at Island Lake. There was a lot of snow still up there, I was really surprised to see so much of it even at 7000 feet. We used the snow to refrigerate some of our water bottles over night :) Day hike to Penner Lake was superb but that lake was really busy too when we got there but not too busy to find a spot for the boys to swim and I fished around the edges of the lake (no bites but heard folks were catching). We also did a day hike up to Milk Lake (no luck fishing there but my son had one on and one of the hikers we passed said he caught 6 trout)....beautiful lake though. We were originally trying to get to Grouse Ridge lookout but got turned around because the trails weren't marked very well from Island Lake. There was a lot of debris and the trails were washed out in places with streams running down the middle in addition to a lot of crossings over snow and brush hiding the trails. So I'd say it will be another month before things really start to dry out to make the trails easier to navigate.

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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:37 pm

giantbrookie wrote:I have done this but this won't do in early season because there was (is?) no bridge over Fordyce Creek, or at least this was the case when I went this way in the late 90s. Without a bridge I'd say a crossing of Fordyce Creek is out of the question.
There is a bridge over Fordyce Creek. It's accessed via a trail that picks up just past the isthmus between two of the lakes. Approximate location in attached image.
Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 12.33.35 PM.png
I agree, the 4WD trail into Eagle Lakes is probably a wet mess right now.
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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by MarcoG » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:28 am

Can someone update us as to road opening to Grouse Ridge campground and conditions of trails : Grouse ridge trail down to Beyers lakes, then Baltimore to Glacier lake? Anyone ever done that route ? ?looks like it involves some off trail navigation. Looking to do this in about 2 weeks.. Please advise.

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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by Gazelle » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:03 am

Beyer lakes to Glacier lake I have done off trail a couple of times very rocky on the Beyer lakes side and probably LOTS of snow on the Glacier lake side and decently steep make sure to go down that side later in the day so it will be softer or have some traction devices etc. Don't know if Grouse ridge road is open yet?
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Re: Grouse ridge area

Post by MarcoG » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:22 am

Thanks for the response.

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