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Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

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Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby Flamingo » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:37 pm

Hi Everyone,
What is your favorite side-trip along the Rae Lakes Loop?

Context: I'm organizing a group trip for the Rae Lakes Loop in summer 2018. This will be my 4th time doing the loop, and for other group members it will be their 1st or 2nd time. My backpacking experience is level 4; the other hikers are level 2+. We'll have an extra day in our itinerary, and I would love to lead the group on a side-trip -- away from the crowds along the Rae Lakes Loop / JMT / PCT.
Do you have suggestions? We're open to class 2-3 peak-bagging, swimming in remote alpine lakes, or even just visiting a unique vista spot. Overall, I want to add some spice to this trip so that it doesn't feel like "yet another hike of the Rae Lakes Loop Trail."

Thanks.

PS: We're probably going clockwise, to make acclimatization easier.
Last edited by Flamingo on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby Gazelle » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:45 pm

I would go for sixty lakes basin, maybe up Cotter Class 2 with minimal class 3. I found Baxter Lake not that nice and had huge amounts of mosquitos when I went! Dragon Lake is also fantastic I would camp there instead of Rae Lakes as the view is fantastic and not that far off the trail but is uphill and you need to find the trail.
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The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein
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Re: Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby maverick » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:59 pm

For your groups ability I would also recommend 60 Lakes Basin and staying at Dragon Lake, especially if it is a zoo at Rae Lakes.
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Re: Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby CAMERONM » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:04 pm

60 Lakes Basin

+1
And yes, walk through the Rae Lakes area but camp somewhere in the 60 Lakes.
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Re: Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby bobby49 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:05 pm

Sixty Lake Basin is the place to go. Keep in mind that the trails there get a little thin. Also, you can't necessarily cross around every lake on its shore.

I found Mount Cotter to be very interesting. Assuming that you are going up the ridge, you have to decide to stay just a little to the right of it or else to the left of it. Each has its own little challenges. You can go straight up the talus slopes also. It gets slightly loose and hairy toward the top.
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Re: Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby Cross Country » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:40 pm

From the loop I've been to Kid, Arrow Peak Lake, unnamed lakes S. of Woods Creek, Window Peak Lakes, Woods, Baxter, Sixty Lakes Basin, Gardner Basin, Dragon, Charlotte, Bullfrog, Kearsarge Lakes, Vidette Lakes, East, Reflection, North Gard Lake, Crow Creek Lake, Sphinx. The easiest and really good is obviously Sixty Lakes Basin and Dragon. My favorite is Window Peak Lake (and I had good fishing on all of my 4 trips there).
What might seem odd is that I never "did" the Rea Lakes Loop. There are 2 one mile sections of the trail I never saw. But those of you who are acquainted with my writing know that my name (Cross Country) is because I prefer cross country ever time so never hiked the entire trail. I went to these places on 16 different trips.
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Re: Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby Flamingo » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:21 pm

Thanks Everyone for the great advice. This is why I love HST. It sounds like 60 Lakes Basin lives up to the hype. Mount Cotter is on my personal shortlist, but it's too much for this group trip.

If you have other suggestions, feel free to continue posting below.
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Re: Rae Lakes Loop Side Trips: Recommendation?

Postby limpingcrab » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:26 pm

Lake Reflection is one of my favorite lakes of all time. The little basin along the north side of Ericsson Crags is about as pretty as it gets.

Neither are a peak and they both kinda have use trails so it might not be as adventurous as a peak but I think those spots are more amazing than anywhere on the Loop
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