Tag Archives: granite

6S05 – Inyo NF

6S05bridge

Paved, one-lane extension of #4S12, Rock Creek Road.
Up above Rock Creek Lake, East Sierra Nevada, California

High elevation 10,272′ at roads end and parking lot

Little Lakes Valley Trailhead
Mono Pass
Morgan Pass
John Muir Trail (JMT)
Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

Mosquito Flat Picnic Area

Restrooms, paved parking lot, nature trails, fishing creeks, horseback, wilderness trails.

hikes NFS camp horse camp

Mosquito Flat Walk-In Campground is intended for backpackers departing overnight into the backcountry the following day. Single night stay ONLY. Please camp down canyon if you plan to stay for more than one night. Bear lockers are provided at campgrounds for proper storage of food items, so use them!

No campfires are allowed outside of developed campgrounds. Day use does not require a permit. Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips into the John Muir Wilderness. Bear containers are required for backpackers. Permits for these trails are issued at Inyo National Forest ranger station in Mammoth, or the Eastern Sierra Visitors Center (ESIA) near Olancha.

littlelakesvalley

John Muir Wilderness (JMT) trails, Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), epic scenery, alpine lakes, high elevation. Eastern Sierra

Rock Creek NFS Hiking Trailheads (download PDF)

Rock Creek Pack Station provides wilderness pack trips on horseback, and day rides too.

Road and canyon is CLOSED for winter snow approx. NOV-MAY

snowlane

Peaks and passes surrounding Rock Creek Canyon, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains –

Red Mountain 11,472′ (elevation)
Mount Morgan 13,748′
Morgan Pass
Mt Huntington 12,405′
Mono Rock 11,554′
Mono Pass
Mt Starr 12,835′
Mt Mills 13,451′
Mt Abbott 13,704′
Round Valley Peak 11,943′

Hike or horseback ride to these alpine lakes from Rock Creek Rd trailheads –

Davis Lake
Hilton Creek Lakes
Patricia Lake
Golden Lake
Pioneer Basin Lakes
Trail Lakes
Summit Lake
Ruby Lake
Mills Lake
Gem Lakes
Treasure Lakes
Dade Lake
Upper Morgan Lake
Lower Morgan Lake
Chickenfoot Lake
Little Lakes
Box Lake
Heart Lake
Marsh Lake
Serene Lake
Eastern Brook Lakes
Tamarack Lake
Buck Lake
Francis Lake
Dorothy Lake
Kenneth Lake

Spicer Reservoir

spicer terrain


Spicer Meadow Reservoir

Spicer Meadows, Spicer Reservoir, Rd #7N01
Spicer Lake, Stanislaus National Forest

lake elevation 6418′
227 surface acres

public boat ramp
hiking trail around lake
more lakes nearby

Ebbetts Pass Sierra Hwy 4

Ancient volcanic peaks mix with Sierra Nevada granite rock, pine forests and fresh, clear, clean mountain water! California, of course.

Stanislaus Forest Road #7N01 leads down from Highway 4 to this popular series of alpine lakes and reservoirs. Camping, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, floating and fishing are also popular water activities.

Rules of the Reservoir:
10 mph speed limit on Western Arm.
No motorized boating in Eastern Arm.
Camp only in developed Campgrounds.

NFS
2 NFS Campgrounds at west end of lake:

  • Spicer Campground (60 sites)
  • Spicer Group Camp (75 people max)
  • Campgrounds only open June-September. Some campsites at the campground are wheelchair accessible.

    Additionally, Stanislaus River Campground w/ only 8 sites, is located just off the main access road #7N01, right near the river.

    spicer lake shore

    Spicer #7N01

    Numerous smaller lakes in the region make this a hot spot for summer vacations. Union and Utica Reservoirs (both with dirt road access) are good for kayaking and canoes, while power or sail boats prefer the larger Spicer Lake. Summit Lake and Elephant Rock Lake are perfect for quite picnics and day hikes. Trails (many unmarked) connect the lakes to each other. Area gets buried with snow in winter, so these roads are generally only open half the year.

    More reservoirs and lakes nearby:
    Highland Lakes
    Mosquito Lakes
    Lake Alpine, CA
    (all along Hwy 4)

    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA
    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA

    Nearby mountain towns:
    ARNOLD, CA
    BEAR VALLEY, CA
    Lake Alpine, CA

    7N01 – Stanislaus NF

    Spicer Meadow Reservoir & more lakes: Paved Forest Rd #7N01

    Spicer, Utica & Union Reservoirs, Central Sierra, Stanislaus National Forest

    summit lake

    Stanislaus National Forest
    North Fork of the Stanislaus River
    Highland Creek
    Carson Iceberg Wilderness Area
    Spicer Meadow Reservoir (6418′ elev)
    Union Reservoir (6850′ elev)
    Utica Reservoir

    Spicer Meadow Reservoir can also be found on various publications, listed as Spicer Meadows, Spicer Mdws, Spicer Lake and Spicer Reservoir.

    tent camping

    Ebbett’s Pass is California State Route (SR 4) Highway 4, which cuts thru the middle of the Sierra Nevada mountains (east-west). Wilderness peaks and rivers surround this whole region. Deep snow pack is common, so much of this region is off-limits half the year (or more). Always check with local rangers by phone before venturing out, as winter conditions can keep these roads closed late into the year.

    Topo Maps of this Region:

    Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA
    Carson Iceberg Wilderness Map USDA
    Carson, Emigrant, Mokelumne Map NatGeo
    Sierra Nevada Topo Map

    Wilderness Maps

    N of Arnold, California; Continue up SR 4. Passing Calaveras Big Trees State Park & Camp Connell; After Big Meadow Campground, take the paved right turn for Spicer Meadow; This is forest road 7N01. Meandering thru a forest and descending in elevation, road will dead end at Spicer Reservoir.

    7N01, the main paved mountain road, is located on the south side of the highway. The highway turn off reads ‘Spicer Reservoir’. Suitable for travel w/ RVs and trucks with boat trailers. Quite curvy, scenic and about 7 miles long. There are developed campgrounds in the vicinity.

    The dirt side roads off the pavement can be narrow, muddy, rocky and overgrown, so be cautious when exploring. Choosing a dispersed camp site should be done during daylight hours, and will require a campfire permit ahead of time. Use an existing camp site whenever possible, instead of creating new ones.

    freespice

    Several man-made reservoirs attract outdoor seekers, mountain bikers, campers, canoes and fishermen. Kayakers tend to love Union and Utica, but power boats and sail boats prefer Spicer Lake.

    Volcanic features mix with Sierra granite in this part of the forest, and geologic formations make for interesting hikes. Mountain biking is common around these lakes, as well as day hiking and backpacking.

    Spicer Lake

    NFS Campgrounds in the region: NFS

  • Stanislaus River Campground
  • Spicer Campground
  • Spicer Group Camp
  • Campgrounds only open June-September. Some campsites at the campground are wheelchair accessible. Boat ramp located near campgrounds.

    outdoor recreation:
    backpacking
    boating
    bouldering
    camping
    canoeing
    fishing
    floating
    granite
    hiking
    kayaking
    mountain biking
    lakes
    sailing
    swimming
    trails
    wildflowers

    Left fork turn off, Dirt Road #7N05 leads out to Utica & Union Reservoirs. No motorized boats allowed on those two lakes. No developed campgrounds back that way either. No RV spots; only primitive style camping.

    Another dirt road treks steeply up the hill from Union Reservoir to Lake Alpine (at the highway). That primitive truck trails is actually a (somewhat designated, but not well-signed) 4×4 route and suitable for high clearance vehicles only.

    car camping lakes

    Spur Road #7N29Y is a small dirt road which leads a couple miles into the forest, over to trailheads and primitive camping options. Ideal for accessing all the lakes (on foot) from this prime location. A fire permit is required. No water, no bathrooms, no facilities.

  • Elephant Rock Lake
  • Summit Lake (7068′ elev)
  • elephant rock

    Closest small towns are:

    ARNOLD
    BEAR VALLEY
    LAKE ALPINE, CA

    lake camps

    7N01 – Los Padres NF
    There is another Forest Road in California named 7N01, but that one is a 4×4 OHV access route @ Dutchman Campground, located in south part of Los Padres National Forest. We have mention of it on the page for Frazier Park Camping.

    Kirkwood Lake

    Kirkwood Lake Campground

    kirkwood granite

    Central Sierra Nevada mountains
    Kirkwood Lake is west of Kirkwood Ski Resort;
    west of Silver Lake @ Carson Pass Hwy 88

    Kirkwood, CA
    El Dorado National Forest

    Inside the granite maze of rock known as Caples Creek, you may find this small lake, just off the highway. Paved access camp ideal for quiet weekends – fish, hike, stargaze and relax. Snow is deep in these parts of the Sierra, so the campground closes annually for winter.


    No motor boats
    No RV or motorhomes
    No horse trailers

    Small Camping Lake

    Kirkwood Campground

    • Elevation: 7,600′
    • Number of Sites: 12
    • Vehicle Accessibility: No RVs
    • Campsites Reservation: No
    • Campsite Fee: Yes
    • Length of Stay: 14 Days
    • Season: June – October
    • hiking trailheads, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoe, rock climbing

    Bears are active in this region, so use the metal bear boxes provided to store all food items.

    Canoe Lakes

    Extra precautions should be taken with human waste around fragile eco systems, like lakes and meadows. Use the new bathroom, instead of the bushes (or granite crack).

    new toilets
    new toilets
    pipe drinking water
    piped drinking water, a camp luxury

    Eastern Sierra Hiking

    Eastern Sierra Hiking Trails – Mammoth Hikes

    Autumn Bliss Hike

    Desert ghost towns to Sierra meadows & waterfalls, Inyo National Forest offers plenty of diversity for scenery. To list all the hikes in the Eastern Sierra would be obsurd, cuz there are so many trails. This side of the Sierra Nevada is all about hiking, fishing & camping.Inyo forest map

    No matter where you hike you will probably get a great view over the Owens Valley, Long Valley Caldera or Mono Lake. So that means most of those trails are hiking up a canyon, or a ridge line. Thousands of trails over this region require a good map to make the best decision for your hiking interest.

    US HWY 395: The Eastern Sierra is one of the premier hiking destinations of California. Featuring the granite crags of the HIgh Sierra peaks. Mount Whitney, the tallest peak is closest to Lone Pine. Southern Californians love Eastern Sierra destinations, cuz they can avoid Los Angeles Basin and stay outta traffic.

    Lone Pine Lake – Whitney Portal is a great, but crowded place for hiking. DO NOT ATTEMPT to hike to Mount Whitney in one day! Leave it to the seasoned pros. The first good stop up the Whitney Trail is gorgeous Lone Pine Lake, a great moderate day hike from there.

    Alabama Hills – just below Mt. Whitney and has a totally different landscape than the backdrop granite Sierras behind. Try some boulder hopping & explore the dirt roads. Bring your mountain bike too.

    Cottonwood Lakes (Pacific Crest Trail) – day hikes to alpine lakes. US 395 @ Lone Pine, W on Whitney Portal Rd. Left on Horseshoe Meadow Rd & continue up 19 mi. to the Horseshoe Meadow campground. Mostly a trail head camp, way, way up there. Open May – November

    Kearsarge Pass – from 9000′ Onion Valley you can access the incredible High Sierra & numerous alpine lakes. The elevation gain makes this a full days hike; rated strenuous. Or continue on w/ backpack into Kings Canyon National Park.

    Devils Postpile – back behind Mammoth Mountain, creeks, forest & cool geology awaits. Plenty hiking trails.

    FALL COLORS: Autumn is the best time to enjoy the gorgeous aspen groves, as they change colors w/ the onset of winter.

    Eastern Sierra Peaks

    Topo maps, wilderness hiking maps
    Equestrian trails, OHV maps –


    Sierra High Country Hikes
    Originally uploaded by danamight

    Trailhead @ Onion Valley leads up to impressive alpine lakes, Kearsarge Pass & Kings Canyon High Country.

    Eastern Sierra communities include:

    Alabama Hills
    Alabama Hills @ Lone Pine, CA

    El Dorado Campgrounds

    El Dorado Camping

    Kirkwood Lake
    Kirkwood Lake, California

    El Dorado National Forest
    Carson Pass Hwy 88, Ebbetts Pass Hwy 4, Gold Rush Country
    Sierra Nevada Mountains, Alpine Lakes

    campground elev spots veg toilet water notes
    Airport Flat Campground 5300′ 16 vault no Ice House Reservoir
    Azalea Cove Campground 4900′ 10 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    Big Meadows Campground 5300′ 54 pines flush piped handicap access
    Blue Lake Lower Camp 8100′ 16 vault piped PG&E; fish, boat, camp
    Blue Lake Dam Upper 8200′ 25 vault piped PG&E; fish, boat, camp
    Caples Lake Campground 7800′ 35 pines vault piped fishing lake
    Capps Crossing Campground 5200′ 12 pines vault piped gold panning
    China Flat Campground 4800′ 25 vault piped Silver Fork Rd
    Dru Barner Campground 3200′ 16 flush piped equestrian trails
    Gerle Creek Campground 5300′ 50 pines vault piped handicap access
    Fashoda Campground 4900′ 30 vault piped handicap access
    Hell Hole Campground 5200′ 10 vault piped walk-in
    Upper Hell Hole Campground 4600′ 15 vault lake Hell Hole Reservoir
    Ice House Reservoir Camp 5500′ 83 vault lake handicap access
    Jones Fork Campground 4900′ 10 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    Kirkwood Campground 7600′ 12 pines vault piped narrow road; fishing
    Lone Rock Campground 4800′ 5 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    Loon Lake Campground 6500′ 62 pines vault piped equestrian; group site too
    Lovers Leap Campground 5800′ 21 pines vault piped rock climbing
    Lumberyard Campground 6500′ 5 pines vault RV access
    Middle Creek Campground 8200′ 5 pines vault piped fishing creek
    Middle Fork Cosumnes River 6780′ 5 vault crk PG&E, swim, fish
    Mokelumne River Camp 3200′ 8 vault crk swim
    Moore Creek Campground 3200′ 8 vault crk swim
    Northshore Campground 6378′ 15 vault lake Loon Lake Campground
    Northwind Campground 5500′ 9 vault lake Ice House Reservoir
    Pardoes Point Campground 5900′ 10 pit no Bear River Reservoir Rd
    Pipi Campground 3900′ 51 pit no handicap access
    Sand Flat Campground 3900′ 29 pit no fishing
    Silver Fork Campground 5500′ 35 vault piped fishing
    Silver Lake Campground 7200′ 62 pines vault piped boating lake
    South Fork Campground 5200′ 17 vault piped fishing
    South Shore Campground 5900′ 22 vault piped Bear River Reservoir
    Strawberry Point Camp 5500′ 10 vault lake Ice House Reservoir
    Stumpy Meadows Campgr 4400′ 10 vault lake handicap access
    Sugar Pine Campground 6000′ 10 vault no boating
    Sunset Campground 4900′ 131 vault piped boating
    Wench Creek Campground 4900′ 100 vault crk boating
    Wentworth Springs Camp 6200′ 8 vault crk 4WD recommended
    West Point Campground 4875′ 8 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    White Azalea Campground 3500′ 6 vault crk Mokelumne River
    Wolf Creek Campground 8200′ 42 vault piped boating, fishing
    Woods Lake Campground 4900′ 25 vault pump handicap access
    Yellowjacket Campground 4900′ 40 vault piped boating, fishing

    see more about El Dorado National Forest

    waterfalls

    nearby towns –

    El Dorado Forest Maps –

    Ansel Adams Wilderness

    anselwoodsign

    Alpine high country hiking, Sierra Nevada mountains, California

    Ansel Adams Wilderness Area

    Ansel Adams Trail Map, Tom Harrison
    Ansel Adams Map, Forest Service USDA
    Ansel Adams Map, NatGeo

    Ansel Adams Hiking Map
    The Ansel Adams Wilderness is an area in the Sierra Nevada of California. The wilderness is part of the Sierra and Inyo National Forests, in the Eastern Sierra portion of the range, overlooking Mono Lake. Yosemite EAST is what NatGeo likes to call it. The wilderness spans 231,533 acres with Yosemite National Park lies to the north and northwest, while the John Muir Wilderness lies to the south.

    The wilderness was established as part of the original Wilderness Act in 1964 as the Minarets Wilderness. The 109,500-acre Minarets Wilderness was created by enlarging and renaming the Mount Dana-Minarets Primitive Area.

    In 1984, after his death, the area was expanded and renamed in honor of Ansel Adams, well-known environmentalist and nature photographer who is famous for his black and white landscape photographs of the Sierra Nevada.

    Ansel Adams Wilderness Map

    outdoor recreation –

    • backpacking
    • camping
    • fishing
    • hiking
    • horseback
    • ice climbing
    • lakes
    • mountaineering
    • peaks
    • wildflowers

    surrounding park & forest lands –

    nearby towns –

    leeviningvalley
    lee vining canyon

    Ansel Adams Wiki
    Ansel Adams Hiking on Summit Post

    Day hikes or overnight backpacking trips require a Wilderness permit and can be obtained at the local ranger station. A good topo map will also prove invaluable on your hike. Access trailheads for Ansel Adams Wilderness from EAST and WESTERN sides of the Sierra Nevada range.

    Ansel Adams Trailheads from the west –

    Onion Springs Meadow trailhead, Vermillion @ Lake Edison (Sierra NF)

    Isberg trailhead & Mammoth trailhead @ Granite Creek Campground via Beasore Road, way up behind Bass Lake (Sierra NF)

    Isberg Pass trailhead from Yosemite National Park

    Ansel Adams Trailheads from the east –

    Bloody Canyon, Walker Lake trailhead, near Grant Lake on June Lake Loop (Inyo NF)

    Rush Creek / Fern Lake trailhead, near Silver Lake on June Lake Loop (Inyo NF)

    Agnew Meadows trailhead & Minaret Vista trailhead, Mammoth Lakes CA (Inyo NF)

    Devil’s Postpile trailhead, behind Mammoth Lakes CA (Inyo NF)

    Fern Lake Reflection
    Fern Lake, day hike from Hwy 158 (June Lake Loop)

    Northern Sierra Nevada

    Sierra Nevada North / Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains

    lakes basin views

    sierra buttes
    the sierra buttes

    Northern Gold Country, Yuba River

    Sierra granite rock meets volcanic rock at Lakes Basin & Lassen NP

    Some California maps consider Mount Lassen to be the top of the Sierra Nevada range, while other maps cut it off at Lakes Basin @ Sierra Buttes, much further south. Lassen Peak is actually part of the Cascade Range of mountains that go up the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Either way, we’ve included Lassen maps in this list.

    Tahoe National Forest Map

    South Yuba River Map

    Lake Basin Recreation Area
    Lake Basin Map
    Sierra Buttes Map
    Gold Lake, Graeagle, Sierra City

    Plumas Eureka State Park
    Plumas Eureka State Park Map
    Middle Fork Feather River Map
    Blairsden, Portola

    View East from Davis
    Crocker Mountain @ Lake Davis, California

    Plumas National Forest
    Plumas Forest Map
    Almanor, Crescent Mills, Greenville, Inskip, Paradise, Quincy, Portola

    Sierra Nevada

    Lassen National Forest
    Lassen Forest Map
    Burney, Chester, Fall River Mills, Paynes Creek

    lassen park

    Lassen National Park
    Lassen Park Maps
    Mineral, Old Station, Westwood

    laseen camps

    Yosemite Lakes

    yosemite camping lake
    Lakes in & around Yosemite

    These are picnic lakes, hiking lakes and camping lakes that are located inside Yosemite National Park or the surrounding areas bordering the granite wonderland.

    Tioga
    Tioga Tent Camping

    John Muir Wilderness

    John Muir Hiking / John Muir Map

    High Sierra Hiking

    California Wilderness Area Acres Topographical Maps
    John Muir Wilderness

    elevations: 4000′-14,496′

    584,000 John Muir Wilderness Maps
    Inyo National Forest

    JMT

    High Sierra Nevada / Eastern Sierra

    Rugged Sierra Nevada high country. The highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada mountains can be found inside this Wilderness. Many peaks are well above 13,000 feet. Granite, glaciated basins, big snow, alpine lakes, meadows, wildflowers, streams, creeks, cliffs, jagged peaks. Mount Whitney stands as the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

    John Muir Trail Maps
    – JMT Topo Map

    lacontedivide
    Le Conte Divide, Sierra Nevada California – 12,000′ elevation peaks

    Eastern access via steep granite hiking, off US Hwy 395 (Bishop, Independence, Lone Pine)
    Western access backpacking thru Kings Canyon National Park, Hwy 180
    or Sequoia National Park, Hwy 198 (Mineral King, Three Rivers)
    or Sierra National Forest, Hwy 168 (Lake Edison, Florence Lake, Courtright Reservoir)
    North access via backcountry Yosemite National Park, Hwy 120
    or Mammoth Area towns (Lee Vining, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes)

    Hundreds of miles of hiking trails, some of the highest peaks in the nation. Trails open to equestrian and foot traffic only. Trailhead quotas limit the amount of day hikers and backpackers that an access the Wilderness daily. Wilderness permit required: Inyo National Forest Permits

    Eastern Sierra Visitor Center
    Inyo Visitors Office

    JM Topo Trails

    USDA National Forest
    USFS, NPS, BLM

    NFS NPS

    Eastern Sierra Interagency Office
    US Hwy 395 @ SR 136
    Lone Pine, CA 93545
    760-876-6200

    JMT
    JOHN MUIR TRAIL- John Muir Wilderness

    nearby towns, parks & resorts:

    Aspendell
    Big Pine
    Bishop, CA
    Courtright Reservoir
    Florence Lake
    Independence, CA
    Kings Canyon National Park
    Lake Edison
    Lone Pine, CA
    Mammoth Lakes
    Olancha, CA
    Tom’s Place
    Wishon Reservoir
    Yosemite National Park

    www.flickr.com

    Silver Lake @ Bucks

    Silver Lake from Above

    Silver Lake @ Bucks Lake Wilderness

    (Plumas Co)

    Plumas Road #24N29, off Bucks Lake Road
    East of Bucks Lake, California.
    a six mile, one lane, dirt road is the only vehicle access into this high elevation, dammed reservoir, tucked back against the wilderness. Secluded lake campsites await, you’ll just need to get a little dusty first. The turn off, at a small brown sign reading “Silver Lake”, one which is very easy to miss – due to the amount of homes, cabins, fencing and driveways in the vicinity.

    bucks trailhead

    Bucks Lake Wilderness
    Plumas National Forest

    All Bucks Lake Campgrounds

    Kayaker @ Silver Lake

    No swimming allowed at this Silver Lake, as it serves as a drinking water source for the neighborhoods below. Canoe & kayaking are allowed. Fishing is also popular at this location. Hiking trailheads at Silver Lake lead to the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), Mount Pleasant, Spanish Peak and a small gem of a swimming hole, we call mini Gold Lake.

    Bucks Lake Wilderness Map

    FREE Campground @ Silver Lake, near Quincy, CA

    This small campground is actually set downhill from the rock earthen dam, which is something to ponder before/during a big earthquake. With sites 1-5 in a shady forest area and the others a bit closer to the lake, no campsite is too close to another. These are all well-spaced-out sites, providing decent privacy and minimal noise from neighboring campers. No campsites are located at the lake edge, as the rocky dam is a long structure and quite complex with water control measures.

    All the campsites have new bear boxes for food storage, cuz ‘wilderness’ usually means black bears are roaming about. Deer tend to frequent campsites 1 & 2.

    silver camp 5

    Silver Lake Campground NFS

    campground

    • Elevation: 5800′
    • Number of Sites: 9
    • Vehicle Accessibility: RV 22′
    • Campsite Reservations: No
    • Camp Fee: No
    • Toilet: Vault
    • Water: No piped/potable
    • Length of Stay: 14 Days
    • Season: May – October
    • Trailheads: PCT, Gold Lake, Rock Lake, Granite Gap, Bucks Lake Wilderness

    silverbackdrop

    As with most of the high elevation lakes in California, winter months can mean deep snow and dirt road closures. This campground is usually open through the end of October, but call head to the local rangers if in doubt.

    Plumas National Forest
    Mt. Hough Ranger District
    39696 State Highway 70
    Quincy, CA 95971
    530-283-0555

    See all Silver Lakes in California

    19S01 – Inyo NF

    south sierra ridges

    Walker Creek Road #19S01
    – Inyo National Forest

    Southern Slopes, Eastern Sierra Nevada

    Just south of Olancha, off US Hwy 395 is a dirt road that takes you 5 miles up to an oak canyon lined with rocks. There are several primitive camp sites along the Walker Creek. A high clearance vehicle may be needed in some sections, but 4×4 is not required. Small RVs might attempt this, but if the first mile frightens you, turn around while you’re ahead.

    Dirt Road near 395

    This private, shaded, creek area is perfect for those traveling Highway 395, looking for a quick and free camp spot near Olancha, CA

    nice shady spots
    Shady picnic or camp spots above 4000′ elevation.

    some granite
    Hiking trails at the end of the road lead deep into the mountains. One on the right takes you to waterfalls. The trail on the left will take you to meet up with the Sage Flat Trail, which leads up to Olancha Pass, Summit Meadows & a small lake, in the South Sierra Wilderness. The Pacific Crest Trail runs the ridges here, just west of Monache Meadows, which is at 8000′ elevation, way above here – up on top. 

    First Camp

    US 395 highway – the dirt road turn off is very close to a gas station, and it maybe be signed, or not. The gas stop may be in business, or perhaps not. This is rural California, wide open desert and things come and go quickly.

    On a good topo map, located Olancha Creek and Summit Creek to the south. Walker Creek is the canyon in between those two, just so know where you are going and can visualize. This one is an easy-to-miss dirt road turn off – especially if you are going over 50 mph.

    Sawmill Lake Sierra

    primitive camp spots

    Sawmill Lake, California


    N of Donner Pass, Sierra Nevada

    elevation 5800′Canyon Creek connects Lake Faucherie, Sawmill Lake and Bowman Reservoir in the Sierra, Tahoe National Forest. 20+ miles of backroad travel, off I-80.

    While many consider Faucherie to be the most beautiful scenic lake, Sawmill Lake just downstream a couple of miles is still quite attractive – with dense forests and a granite mountain backdrop. Sawmill is especially nice for those who like to primitive camp, ouside of developed campgrounds. Way off the interstate @ Hwy 20, tucked in way back behind Bowman Lake a few miles, you can find Sawmill Lake.

    Sawmill Lake California

    Fishing and camping, kayaking and canoeing are all popular recreation around this lake. A trailhead on the northend of the lake leads out to even more alpine lakes (a day hike “lake loop” or backpacking option). The Pacific Crest Trail is also routed nearby.

    No motorized boats or watercraft allowed. No boat ramps, no pavement, no picnic tables, no bathrooms, no fees.

    4×4 Lake
    Fishing Lake
    Free Camping Lake

    The north shoreline is abundant with dispersed campsites: metal fire rings and a clearing only; no picnic tables, no toilets. Self sufficient campers only. Campfire permits, a water bucket and a shovel are required. During extreme fire restrictions campfires may not be allowed. Check with local rangers for up to date info.

    Tahoe National Forest
    Truckee Ranger Station
    530-587-3558

    National Forest Lake & Forest Lake Fishing Kayak lake hiking lake

    Most campsites are drive up and park, while others closer to the shoreline have only walk-in access. Hauling your gear down hill won’t seem unthinkable once you’ve seen the lakeside views. There is even a camp below the dam, next to the waterfall.

    waterfallfromdam

    The main access Road #843-037 is very rocky and 4x4s love to frequent the area. The backroads here are best suite for truck travel, high clearance vehicles, off-roaders and SUVs. No small RVs or trailers. Passenger cars are not recommended. The access roads around the lake and up to the lake are dusty and rugged. The road below the dam is quite rough w/ rocks.

    For more driving details, please see entry on Canyon Creek Campground.

    road at dam
    The water at Sawmill Lake is crystal clear snowmelt. The lakes around here are managed by Nevada Irrigation District, so this is why there are no engines allowed on the lake. This canyon area closes to public entry during winter months (NOV-APRIL), due to deep snow.

    clear water

    Faucherie Lake

    Faucherie Kayak Camp

    Faucherie Lake California

    Lake Faucherie is set in spectacular scenery of granite mountains, with peaks and waterfalls all around. Many believe that you could only reach this kinda high elevation beauty by foot, with a backpack, but here it is – accessible by a very long, rough & rocky backroad.

    No motorhomes, no camper trailers, no motorboats, no engine noises on the lake, no big families. Just well-deserved solitude, finally. Peace and quiet!

    Perfect alpine lake for car-top boaters – those who carry their boats on top of a vehicle. But be warned very few ‘passenger cars’ make it back this far, due to the challenging roads.

    BACKPACKING, CAMPING, CANOEING, FISHING, FLOATING, HIKING, KAYAKING, OFF-ROADING, SOAKING, STARGAZING, SWIMMING

    No motorized boats or watercraft allowed. One public boat ramp; gravel parking area, vault toilets, gated entry for group campground. No more driving across dam (it is now gated).

    NFS NFS NFS kayak camp hiking mountains NFS backroads snowmelt stars

    Faucherie Lake Road – a spur road, off of the ‘843 Road’ leads up to both Sawmill & Faucherie Lakes, as well as the Canyon Creek Campground.

    This primitive road forks off at Jackson Creek Campground, Tahoe NF, way, way back behind Bowman Lake. The rugged route is also known as Nevada County Rd #843-037. Conflicting numbers appear on USDA web site for this route, so don’t get confused.

    The brown Forest Service signage is decent at Jackson Creek Campground – so if you get that far, you’re almost there. Sorta. Did I mention how crazy the road is? Any wet weather or snow will make this route “4×4 required”. This place is closed off about half the year, due to deep snow (NOV-MAY). Although on summer weekends, this area is busy for a remote high Sierra lakes region.

    To reach this rugged Canyon Creek takes hours of driving with a good backcountry map and a reliable, high clearance rig. AWD Subies and mini SUVs beware, you’ll need a spotter on the bad sections of this road (or risk serious oil pan damage). Or perhaps maybe, we “shouldn’t be back on these kinda roads in that ‘lil sportwagon’ missy.”

    See more details on driving directions for Canyon Creek Campground.

    Crystal Clear Faucherie

    Faucherie Lake Group Campground
    (25 people maximum per site)

    • Elevation: 6135′
    • Number of Sites: 2
    • Vehicle Access: High Clearance Vehicle, no trailers
    • Campsites Reservation: Yes
    • Camp Fee: Yes
    • Season: June – October
    • Trailheads: Faucherie Lake Falls, Five Lakes Basin, French Lake, Haystack Mountain

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    Faucherie Group Camping

    Campground Reservations:
    Nevada Irrigation District
    530-265-5302

    incoming flow

    Faucherie Falls – Six waterfalls above lake:
    Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #1: 39.4257 N, 120.5616 W
    Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #2: 39.4257 N, 120.5606 W
    Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #3: 39.4262 N, 120.5568 W
    Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #4: 39.4268 N, 120.5550 W
    Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #5: 39.4270 N, 120.5544 W
    Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #6: 39.4272 N, 120.5538 W
    USGS Topo: English Mountain

    Granite Faucherie

    Canyon Creek Campground

    Tucked way back in the granite high elevations, near Donner Pass is a wilderness water flow called Canyon Creek. Connecting small lakes and big reservoir, this creek is part of the Nevada District water supply. The Sierra Nevada region is Tahoe National Forest and the terrain is abundant rock.

    Campground is perched on the edge of rock overlooking the impressive whitewater; sounds of crashing water at certain campsites is deafening. Half of the campsites are located in a forest loop and the rest are out in the open, with much granite and fewer trees, perfect for star watchers. All campsites have new bear boxes – for proper food storage in black bear country.

    Canyon Creek California

    creekcanyon

    Lake Faucherie is a mile up the creek and Sawmill Lake is a mile down stream, so it’s a great fishing location, as well as hiking, kayaking and canoeing destination. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is also routed close by. A hiking trailhead at the north end of Sawmill Lake leads to a loop hike of small lakes.

    Tahoe Rd 843

    roughest roads in the region

    Campground loop is paved, but the 12+ mile access road is NOT.
    Twenty plus miles of paved & gravel backroads in boulder-hopping bliss, leads to granite lined lakes and forested campsites. Two different driving routes into this canyon:

  • One is the longer way Road 18 – paved access off of Gold Country Highway 20, which becomes an 8 mile long, rocky, rough, one-lane road around Bowman Lake.
  • The other is slightly shorter, county road #843 that comes in the back way from Jackson Meadow Reservoir (off Hwy 89, N of Truckee).
  • Both of these primitive roads join at Jackson Creek Campground, a favorite among off-roaders.

    Canyon Creek Campground is another few miles up Road ##843-037, a rugged canyon route towards Lake Faucherie, where the road comes to a dead end.

    Don’t let the old maps fool you: these National Forest Roads are labeled as gravel roads, but boulders and rock slides are quite common. 4×4 would be nice, but high clearance is recommended.

    Minimal signs designate trails, roads and lake access; What signs that do exist are old, faded and broken. No warning signage reading ‘high clearance’ or ‘4WD recommended’ – so obviously Tahoe NF won’t be installing new signs anytime soon.

    Grassy Picnic Faucherie Lake

    Faucherie, Sawmill and Bowman Lakes are all along this waterway called Canyon Creek.

    Latitude: 39.436863
    Longitude: -120.579564
    Canyon Creek Campground

    • Elevation: 6000′
    • Number of Sites: 20
    • Toilet: Vault
    • Vehicle Access: High Clearance Vehicle, no trailers
    • Campsites Reservation: No
    • Camp Fee: No
    • Length of Stay: 14 Days
    • Season: June – October
    • Trailheads: Faucherie & Sawmill Lakes

    Small Site

    Canyon Creek Campground is an excellent campground for staying away from the crowds, which seem to focus more around Bowman Lake & Jackson Meadows Reservoir.

    granite camp

    Prefer camping outside of developed campgrounds? then the primitive camp sites that line Canyon Creek will be a welcomed surprise. Most are clearly marked with small signs and some may require 4×4 to access. When fire restrictions are tight, campfires are only allowed in the developed campgrounds.

    granite loop

    Campground Lakes

    RV California / Campground Lakes / Camping Lake

    RV lake Camping

    Wanna vacation near a lake this season? So does everyone else in California.

    “Mountains” & “lakes” are the top camping destinations sought by most web surfers. Be prepared to search for your ultimate lake side camp. Summertime is prime time at all water sources, so make your reservations, or better yet – find a secluded lake all to yourself. (4×4 may be required).

    boating marina camping RV Camp boating

    Lakes area recreation & camping sites in California

    granite domes


    Sierra Nevada Lakes

    Dome Trail 3

    Dome Trail

    Dome Trail Hike
    near Bald Rock in Berry Creek

    Plumas National Forest Trail #6E21
    Access Road #21N51Y
    Middle Fork – Feather River
    Sierra Nevada mountains @ Berry Creek, CA

    On paved Bald Rock Road a rusted metal sign reads “Dome Trail 3” which is where the fun begins, on the dirt.

    3 mile drive to trailhead from pavement
    4.6 miles RT hike
    w/ a 2000 feet elevation drop to the river

    Plumas Forest Rd #21N51Y is located in the forested community of Berry Creek – opposite from Upper Zink Road. Road 21N51Y becomes Bean Creek Rd #21N36: The forested route passes a few private properties and gates, the dirt road leads 3 miles down to an old wildfire (2008) burn area and eventually dead-ends at the Dome trailhead. The hiking trail descends down while overlooking the Bald Rock Canyon with the Middle Fork of the Feather River.

    Rated as a moderately difficult hike: Steep hillsides, plenty switchbacks, downed trees across trail, boulder hopping, cliff edges, extreme heights and rock slides. Delighted by dozens of wildflowers, the old metal staircase still in use, steel pipe railings and the minimal fencing and of course, the big river deep inside an impressive rock canyon. Sierra Nevada spectacular!

    Trailhead Parking

    Indian Creek spills down into Curtain Falls up the canyon, sometimes within view. Secluded Milsap Bar Campground is also up the river from here. The stretch of the whitewater river is popular with rafters and kayaks. Rock climbers gravitate to the big walls above. Bring a picnic lunch and water filter for this amazing all day hike.

    Granite Domes & Bald Rocks

    There are numerous granite domes and bald rocks within the Plumas National Forest, most located near the big river canyons. This particular granite dome is situated overlooking the Middle Fork of the Feather River, and it is called Bald Rock Dome w/ 3509′ elevation.

    MIddleForkFeather

    Not to be confused with another shorter hike nearby on Bald Rock Road at a well marked trailhead for Bald Rock, which over looks the forest and valley to the west side. The official peak is named “Big Bald Rock” as listed on most maps.


    Kern River Canyon

    Kern Spring Wildflowers

    Kern River Valley is one of the all time favorite Sierra Nevada destinations for SoCal escapees. First, it is the southern most ‘big river’ action for the Sierra range. The drive up from Los Angeles is easy access; only a coupe of hours. California Highway 178 leads from Bakersfield up the mountain to Lake Isabella (exit at 155 for Kernville destinations). The 178 continues east past the rural communities of Onyx, Canebrake, Weldon, and then on to the Northern Mojave desert & US Highway 395

    Second, Kern has an abundance of outdoor recreation, from fishing to boating, river rafting to kayaking, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking, camping, & soaking. Kernville is the “recreation headquarters” for the region, where you can find rafting outfitters, camping supplies and rental equipment.

    Kern Rafting

    Third, the mountain scenery is very diverse – with the dry shores of Lake Isabella, the granite lined Kern River, or the ridges with towering cedar forests, plenty sugar pines, plus a few Sequoia groves; Tons of dirt back roads to explore, granite & gorges for the rock climbers, prime wilderness access & several primitive hot springs.

    The whole area is encompassed by the Sequoia National Forest with wilderness areas to the North & East. Giant Sequoia National Monument is located along the Western Divide Hwy in the northern portion of the National Forest.

    campingFIND CAMPING along the Kern River

    camping Sequoia National ForestFIND ALL Campgrounds in the Kern River Canyon

    Kern River Valley communities include:

    Whether you’re an RVer wanting a developed campground near town, a fisherman needing a primitive site right on the river, or a backpacker seeking the high country, the Kern has a little bit of everything. High elevations beyond 8000′ ridge lines, or the lush Lower Kern under 2000′ with granite boulders lining, Kern has it. 4 wheelers will love the extensive network of dirt back roads, or maybe the OHV areas of Keysville. Lake Isabella has numerous oak lined campgrounds & boat rentals available too. Summer is not the best time to visit as the temperatures soar to 100 degrees & the city crowds come in full force to the Kern Valley. Springtime, the best season to visit runs from March to May, or Autumn cools for September to December.

  • SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST MAP
  • DOME LAND WILDERNESS MAP
  • GOLDEN TROUT WILDERNESS MAP
  • SOUTH SIERRA WILDERNESS MAP
  • KernWildflowers

    HoboCampground
    Hobo Campground in the Lower Kern Canyon

    Trinity Alps Wilderness

    NorCal Mountains – Trinity Alps Wilderness

    Sapphire Lake -- Suicide Ridge -- Trinity Alps

    525,627 acres

    North of Weaverville & Lewiston, about 10 miles
    West of Trinity Lake & Redding, CA
    Headwaters of the Trinity River & the Salmon River

    Shasta-Trinity National Forest

    Thompson Peak – 9002′ elevation
    Trinity Mountain – 6094′
    Granite Peak – 8091′

    Trinity is NorCal’s jewel of alpine lakes and granite peaks – many above 8000′ elevation, about 40 miles inland from the ocean. Trinity is located in between the infamous redwood coast and the I-5 corridor. Rivers, creeks, lakes, and trails into the high elevations regions, bqckpackers and equestrian campers alike.

    trinityalps_lgHiking trailheads are accessed from all sides -On the east side you have Trinity Lake & Trinity River w/ Highway 3 running lengthwise in a north-south direction. Hwy 299 runs east-west along the south side of the wilderness. Klamath River Hwy 96 lies on the west side of the wilderness. Salmon River, Scott Mountains and Cecilville are north of the alps.

    Both the small Russian Wilderness & the larger Marble Mountain Wilderness are located to the north of Trinity Alps, along with rural towns near the Scott Mountains and the Salmon River. Castle Crags Wilderness is to the eastern side, near Interstate 5.

    towns nearby –

    camp

    Campgrounds near Trinity Alps Wilderness

    hike

    Trinity Alps Trailheads

    lake

    Waterfalls & Lakes near Trinity

    NFS


    View Larger Map

    The mountainous area is quite unique, as exposed granite mountain peaks and alpine lakes are pretty rare in the coastal Cascade ranges. The only other spot in California that has an 8000′ peak nearing the coast is just north of Los Angeles – Los Padres’s Mount Abel & Mount Pinos peaks, both over 8000′ in elevation.

    TRINITY ALPS TOPO MAP

    camp

    The USDA map for Trinity Alps Wilderness was outta print for nearly 2 years and it has recently been updated and reprinted. New edition released in 2013 and now available at the Total Escape map store. Printed on waterproof map paper and updated in 2012.

    Youtube

     

    Mineral King Camping

    DSCN0019

    Mineral King is a magnificent canyon in the southern portion of Sequoia National Park, east of  Visalia, CA. So magical indeed that Disney tried to purchase the rugged scenic lands for a wilderness ski theme park in 1960. Thankfully that project never happened, due to strong opposition from preservationists. Mineral King became part of Sequoia National Park in 1978.

    Mineral King is the Great Western Divide, where high peaks separate the foothills from the taller Eastern Sierra range. Upper Kern River Canyon lies beneath as the main south drainage from the very tallest peak, Mount Whitney @ 14,494′

    sierra topo maps

    Mineral King Road is a paved off shoot from Highway 198, just to the east of the town of  Three Rivers, CA. The road is steep and curvy and 25 miles long. No gasoline at all. No RV motorhomes or trailers are permitted to travel this scenic and amazing back road. Certain portions of the road are dirt and usually graded, but most of the route is paved.  Snow closes the road in winter months – NOV-MAY.

    We usually get less than a half year to enjoy this special place, so make plans in advance to fit this destination into your schedule JUNE-JULY-AUG-SEPT.

    And do not even think of trying to cram spectacular Mineral King into an already packed Sequoia Park weekend trip. The Giant tree Sequoia groves, Hume Lake and Kings Canyon are over an hour north (hwy 198), to other side of the park.

    If you have a full week to hang out in the Sequoia National Park area, then obviously Crystal Cave and Mineral King should be on the list, but keep in mind taht each destination will take a full day to drive to and explore.

    Driving the distance on Mineral King Road, the wonders abound on every curve. Wildlife, waterfalls, water flowing and the dense forests.

    Atwell Mill Campground is located at an old wood mill site and has a good hike to a footbridge at Kaweah River. There is a small cabin community called Silver City which caters to summer crowds and family campers. Only open during the warm season.

    At the very end of Mineral King Road is the gravel parking. Step out into high elevation (7830′ above sea level), breathe deep and enjoy the granite bowl of alpine bliss with creeks, meadows, wildflowers, picnic spots, hiking trails and scenery everywhere. Mid day sunshine can be bright. Black bears and marmots are very common.

    Cold Springs Campground is the last developed campground, located next to a raging creek. The hike-in sites are the best choice for seclusion at this camp.

    South Fork Campground is the smallest of the campgrounds in this area; located in the foothills at 3600′ elevation, open all year. From Highway 198 (W of the town of Three Rivers), take South Fork Drive 13 paved miles to camp.

    KaweahFalls

    mineral king backpacking

    Mineral King is a favorite destination among backpackers as it gives instant access to many high country trailheads with mostly paved road driving. Located deep in the forest at end of a long road, near the center of the Sierra Nevada range gives ample hiking in every direction. The hikes are steep and challenging, but the rewards are solitude, true wildness and grandeur scenery. Although inviting, these steep passes might not be adequate for beginner backpackers, so please keep that in mind when planning. Fishing lakes, day hikes, horseback trails, waterfalls, creeks, and jagged mountain peaks.

    From Mineral King you can access the these popular spots – PCT, the Great Western Divide, the Golden Trout Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon High Country, Keasarge Pass, John Muir Wilderness.

    top maps for the region –