Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

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maytag
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Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by maytag » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:19 pm

Hello,

First...thank you all for the great information that is shared here on HST - great resource that we tap into often.
We have been looking at a 3 - 4 day trip out of Grouse Ridge TH and wondered if anyone has put together an enjoyable loop or lollipop from there (8 mile days are good). We see a few options but since we have never ventured into this area, thought I would see what y'all think. The other wonderment is regarding permits..? Which branch of Tahoe Nation Forest is issuing these.
Thank you again :)








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neil d
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Re: Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by neil d » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:23 pm

My backyard playground. Seems like I should not contribute to the area getting blown up, but too late, that has already happened...

Ok, so the best part first, no permits are required. Yep, you read that right, and it is a beautiful thing. Only downside is crowded parking lots and a forest that is slowly getting loved to death.

Oh, you do need a campfire permit, available online: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/permit ... re-permit/. And please consider not having a campfire, as it is very very dry up there...in fact, there may be a burn ban in effect.

But the Grouse Ridge roadless area is a great destination for low-impact backpacking, and a very popular choice for family trips and overnighters (my personal specialty). If you have 3-4 days, hiking 8 miles a day, you will actually see most of it, as it is rather compact in area. And no big climbs for the most part.

IMO, the easiest way to make a lollipop loop is parking at Carr Lake and heading out the Crooked Lakes trail. You will see a natural loop heading north at Sand Ridge, up past Middle and Shotgun Lakes, and back up by Penner Lake and Island Lake. This is really a two-night trip...if you want to extend it, I highly suggest taking the Glacier Lake trail out past Glacier Lake into the Five Lakes basin. Not sure if the maps show an actual trail past Glacier Lake, but the use trail from Glacier Lake will be quite easy to follow. Five Lakes is the farthest reaches of the Grouse Ridge area and therefore least visited. You could get out there in one long day, spend 1-2 nights, then double back (or find another cross country route) to the Crooked Lakes trail and spend a night or two in the vicinity of Island and Penner Lakes.

You can do iterations of this loop parking at Lindsay Lakes or Grouse Ridge, but those locations are not quite as convenient, and of course from Grouse Ridge you would be finishing with a stiff climb. Have fun!

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Re: Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by balzaccom » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:33 am

One of the best areas in the Sierra for beginning trips. Lots of lakes, relatively easy hiking, and short distances.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by maytag » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:15 pm

Fantastic information...thank you both for the tips on the area.
Balzaccom - I actually saw this area on your website which is how we started down this track. Looking for something off Hwy 80 for a quick trip. Prefer the back county of Yosemite but this could be a fun stopover.
Neil D - You are very kind to offer your route up to us; we will look at the Five Lakes Basin as a spot to spend some "quiet'ish" time. Never want to miss out on a highly recommended destination.
Cannot tell how grateful we are to have the back country during these time - we have spent some incredible days hiking in Desolation. Emigrant and Yosemite this summer.

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Re: Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by giantbrookie » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:14 pm

Five Lakes and vicinity is nice. The only drawback is if you want to fish (they are now fishless) That having been said the lack of fish probably reduces the number of folks. Another spot you can get to from Grouse Ridge that is pretty and out-of-the-way are the Beyers Lakes.
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 Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by maytag » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:11 pm

Appreciate the update on Five Lakes...no fishing for us and no campfires; we are just not drawn to them.
I do have a question about the road leading to Carr Lake off of Bowman (looks like Forest Service road 17); on the map we have it indicates that there are 2 gates.
Neil: do you know if these are normally open?
Thank you

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Re: Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by giantbrookie » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:24 am

maytag wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:11 pm
I do have a question about the road leading to Carr Lake off of Bowman (looks like Forest Service road 17); on the map we have it indicates that there are 2 gates.
Neil: do you know if these are normally open?
Thank you
There is a campground at Carr Lake but it is currently closed. Because of that closure, there is a gate closed across the road before Carr Lake. The parking lot for hikers is outside of this gate.
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 Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by neil d » Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:11 pm

maytag wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:11 pm
Appreciate the update on Five Lakes...no fishing for us and no campfires; we are just not drawn to them.
I do have a question about the road leading to Carr Lake off of Bowman (looks like Forest Service road 17); on the map we have it indicates that there are 2 gates.
Neil: do you know if these are normally open?
Thank you
Confirming what GB stated, that upper gate (at the campground) is always locked, but that is at the parking lot anyway so no negative impact on access. The lower gate (at the Bowman road) is never locked (at least I have never seen it locked).

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Re: Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by wildhiker » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:16 am

We have a cabin near Grouse Lakes and day-hike there a lot, plus do an occasional backpack trip. I find the whole area gets a lot of visitors, including the Five Lakes Basin. The access roads are rough - best to have a high clearance vehicle. My favorite trailhead is the northernmost one - Loney Meadow - because it has only 1 mile of rough road off the paved Bowman Road. In late June, I backpacked into Beyers Lakes from Blue Lake and liked the area, although it also had several other groups camped there. Actually, my favorite part was hiking beyond Beyers Lakes to Baltimore Lake. That part, on the "back side" of the Black Buttes, seemed the most wild and I only saw one other person in that area.

Be aware that because Grouse Lakes is not a Wilderness Area, but rather managed by the Forest Service as a "backcountry" area", that mountain bicycles are allowed. I rarely see them on the trails, but did see one by Beyers Lakes.

-Phil

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Re: Grouse Ridge Trailhead off Hwy 80

Post by giantbrookie » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:06 pm

wildhiker wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:16 am
We have a cabin near Grouse Lakes and day-hike there a lot, plus do an occasional backpack trip. I find the whole area gets a lot of visitors, including the Five Lakes Basin. The access roads are rough - best to have a high clearance vehicle. My favorite trailhead is the northernmost one - Loney Meadow - because it has only 1 mile of rough road off the paved Bowman Road. In late June, I backpacked into Beyers Lakes from Blue Lake and liked the area, although it also had several other groups camped there. Actually, my favorite part was hiking beyond Beyers Lakes to Baltimore Lake. That part, on the "back side" of the Black Buttes, seemed the most wild and I only saw one other person in that area.
Be aware that because Grouse Lakes is not a Wilderness Area, but rather managed by the Forest Service as a "backcountry" area", that mountain bicycles are allowed. I rarely see them on the trails, but did see one by Beyers Lakes.
-Phil
I agree (about crowds and nature of access) and this brings up the point that the Grouse Ridge area is more than just that accessed directly from the lookout, Carr Lake and Lindsay Lake. I too enjoyed the Baltimore-Beyers side of things and my access was made easy by the fact that I drove the Baltimore lake jeep trail to its end at the mine near Baltimore Lake with my stock 1992 Pathfinder. This required both high clearance and the traction of 4WD-low and there was (and I suspect still is) one fairly scary move where the jeep trail steps down an exfoliation step (so that you wonder if you'll be able to get back up coming out). Even if one doesn't have the off road vehicle this area has a lot of hiking possibilities and like anywhere else one can find solitude with a bit of off trail hiking. Phoenix Lake is a case in point. It is a beautiful place, as long as you don't want to fish (it is fishless, partly because water chemistry is too acidic because of runoff from old mine), and few folks visit it, along with nearby Old Man Mtn which is one of the main high points of this area (along with the attractive Black Buttes). The NE side of this open space has some nice hiking possibilities, too. For example, it is adventurous but easy off trail to hike up from Faucherie Lake to Five Lakes and there are some unnamed tarns along the way that are really nice and off the beaten track. The slot canyon from Faucherie upstream to Weil Lake is very scenic and can be negotiated with class 2 climbing and a smidge of bushwhacking (and lots of this is bypassed by a use trail)--very few folks hike in these places. French Lake is a reservoir but the public can't drive to it (gate on access road is about 1 mi from lake)so there is this enormous expanse of shoreline that sees very few people
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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