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Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

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Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby amigo » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:34 pm

My friend and I are considering a hiking trip next summer in the Sierras. Although we considered the Rae Lakes loop, we're now considering hiking from Onion Valley TH to Rae Lakes via Kearsarge Pass. I was thinking first night camping somewhere before climbing Glen Pass, then spend 2 nights at Rae Lakes (the free day we'd do a day trip to Sixty Lakes Basin), then return and camp overnight somewhere near Kearsarge Pass (either before or after). So, that would be a 5-day trip. Does this sound reasonable?

We may take a day off, then hike from South Lake to Dusy Basin and spend one night there to see something different. We may not have more time than this. Does that sound reasonable?



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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby balzaccom » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:02 pm

Without knowing what kind of shape you're in, how old you are, and how much experience you have, it's hard to say. This is a trip many people have done.

One note of caution---don't underestimate how long it will take you to drive from Onion Valley to South Lake....
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby amigo » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:03 pm

We're in our mid 50's, in good health have done lots of hiking and some backpacking (Sierra, Winds, Whites, ADKs).
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:03 pm

I suggest you camp at Matlock Lake on your way out. A use-trail takes off at the outlet of Flower Lake, goes over a small ridge and drops to Matlock Lake. It is off the main trail and very scenic, good campsites and never crowded. It is a very short walk out from there, making your second trip into Dusy Basin more feasible.

If you camp at Kearsarge Lakes, the camps near the bear boxes get crowded. The outlet of Lake 3321 has some nice sites and less crowded.

The east side of Bishop Pass is also very beautiful, if you do not feel you have time to get to Dusy. Also think about instead going in to the Big Pine Lakes for an overnight at 2nd or 3rd lake (about 4.5 miles, 2500 gain).
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby amigo » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:48 am

Thanks for the tips. Big Pine Lakes look spectacular. How long is the hike to Dusy Basin from South Lake, time-wise, approx? Are we talking 10 hours or so?

As well, I know that snow/cold can appear any time at higher elevations in the Sierras. I'm faced with going either first week in August or first week in September, but am leaning towards the latter since I'll likely be meeting someone else after this trip in southern Utah and want to avoid the excess heat of August there. My extremities don't fare well in cold weather. Is first week of September in the Sierras more likely to get cold, snowy, weather, or should I be ok for the most part?
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby maverick » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:53 pm

How long is the hike to Dusy Basin from South Lake, time-wise, approx? Are we talking 10 hours or so?


It's approximately 11 miles from the trailhead to Bishop Pass, that's about a 2,152 ft elevation gain, everyone's hiking speed it different, but 8 hours would be a leasurely pace.

Is first week of September in the Sierras more likely to get cold, snowy, weather, or should I be ok for the most part?


Varies, have had mid 60's during the day, other times snow, rain , and thunderstorms.

Both Big Pine and Dusy are spectacular, but if you are going for only a night, then Big Pine is a little more reasonable, stay at the eastern end of Second Lake and enjoy the views of Temple Crag.

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=16587&p=124949&hilit=+temple+crag#p124831
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=17076&p=128600&hilit=+dusy+basin#p128600
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby Cross Country » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:57 pm

Mike (10yo) and I got a late start from LA and stayed a little below Kearsarge Lake. I can't imagine staying there on the way out becarse you're almost out.
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby Ska-T » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:14 pm

maverick wrote:It's approximately 11 miles from the trailhead to Bishop Pass, that's about a 2,152 ft elevation gain, everyone's hiking speed it different, but 8 hours would be a leasurely pace.

11 miles is the round trip mileage from South Lake to Bishop Pass and back. So to get to a nice campsite in north Dusy Basin figure about 7-8 mi of hiking one-way.
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby maverick » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:32 pm

11 miles is the round trip mileage from South Lake to Bishop Pass and back. So to get to a nice campsite in north Dusy Basin figure about 7-8 mi of hiking one-way.


Yes your correct, round trip, and more like 12 miles round trip, 6 mile one way, and then add at least another 1- 1.5 miles to the nearest lake in Dusy, which makes the total more like 7-7.5 miles one way, or 14-15 miles round trip.
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Re: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes

Postby Cross Country » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:43 pm

I ment to say Kersarge pass not K lake
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