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Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:06 pm
by jtmann
Hello Community,

Onion Valley to Rae Lakes and back itinerary - Couple of questions and any suggestions are welcome. Will be hiking with two sons 11 & 13 and 18yr. old daughter. All with backpack/hike experience - first year I am making the boys carry a bear canister with some of their own food.

Day 1) OV TH to Flower Lake (Pretty straight forward)

Day 2) Flower Lake to Charlotte Lake - Question - Once over Kearsarge Pass and heading west I plan on taking the right fork to stay up high on the way to Charlotte Lake - is this the best way?

Day 3) Charlotte Lake to Rae Lakes area - Pretty straight forward

Day 4) Layover day in the Rae Lakes Area - I know I can only camp at each lake one night so we'll move to another lake or maybe even Dragon Lake? Suggestions welcome here.

Day 5) Rae Lakes area to Kearsarge Lakes - Question - Heading down from Glenn Pass is there a sign that says Kearsarge Lakes anywhere?

Day 6) Kearsarge Lakes out to the TH

I welcome any input or suggestions. Thanks, Jason!

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:16 pm
by bobby49
One thing about kids of that age, you can't count on them having great endurance. Try to keep each pack much less than 25% the weight of the kid carrying it. OTOH, I saw a 9 year old kid carrying a heavier pack going north over Glen Pass, and he passed me.

Personally, I always go from Onion Valley to Sixty Lake Basin in one day, but that requires a very early pre-dawn start, and kids do not tend to be good at that.

You seem to have Charlotte Lake high on your list. I've been there once, and I was not so impressed.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:35 pm
by jtmann
Hi bobby49,

Thanks for the input. Any suggestions for night two instead of Charlotte Lake? I am basically planning my trip from the Sierra South book.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:41 pm
by bobby49
Once when coming back from Forester Pass, I spent one night at Kearsarge Lakes. I thought that area was decent.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:21 pm
by Ska-T
jtmann wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:06 pm

Day 1) OV TH to Flower Lake (Pretty straight forward)
Or, for potentially a little more solitude ... from the southeast shore of Flower Lake find a use trail that goes south southeast to Matlock Lake.

Day 2) Flower Lake to Charlotte Lake - Question - Once over Kearsarge Pass and heading west I plan on taking the right fork to stay up high on the way to Charlotte Lake - is this the best way?
Either fork is OK if going to Charlotte Lake. You will probably take the lower fork on Day 5.

Day 4) Layover day in the Rae Lakes Area - I know I can only camp at each lake one night so we'll move to another lake or maybe even Dragon Lake?
Dragon Lake is good, especially if you want to avoid the crowds at Rae Lakes. The fishing may be better there, too. At any rate, it is worthwhile day hike.

Day 5) Rae Lakes area to Kearsarge Lakes
Your destination Day 2 of Charlotte Lake and Day 5 of Kearsarge Lakes can be switched if the timing works better for you.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:41 pm
by jtmann
Thanks for the feedback Ska-T. I appreciate it! The more info I have, the better when out with my kids.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:03 pm
by CAMERONM
I would not spend so much time at Rae Lakes, instead go up to Sixty Lake Basin and hang out/explore up there.
The two trails to Charlotte are basically the same.
The kids may find the passing hikers at Rae interesting; I find them sometimes annoying, and I have had negative experiences there with highly competitive people staking out territory. I believe I told one person who "helpfully" suggested that I try some more distant campsites to f*ckoff".
The pressure on the JMT was light this weekend, but it will pick up soon.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:46 am
by mkbgdns
Dragon Lake has pretty good campsite at outflow, and in stand of trees on North shore, but not a lot of spaces to stroll through. agree w cameronm that Sixty Lakes is the place to go to avoid the traffic. you could spend days there hiking w your kids.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:55 am
by c9h13no3
Yeah, Rae lakes is a beautiful place to spend a day, but I wouldn't want to camp there. I don't mind company in my "living room" (were I spend the day), but in my "bedroom" (campsite) I want as few people as possible. Rae lakes is really crowded.

Re: Questions/Suggestions for Rae Lakes trip

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:37 pm
by torpified
jtmann wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:06 pm

Day 5) Rae Lakes area to Kearsarge Lakes - Question - Heading down from Glenn Pass is there a sign that says Kearsarge Lakes anywhere?
Heading S from Glen, you'll want to take the second lateral from the JMT toward Kearsarge Pass. The diversion from this lateral south toward the lakes isn't marked, but it is conspicuous. You can scout it on google satellite. If there is a subtlety, it's that before the spur to Kearsarge Lakes, one or two faint social trails depart the main drag in the vicinity of Bullfrog Lake, where you're not allowed to camp. (Maybe they head toward campsites along the creek between Bullfrog and the Kearsarge Lakes?) Especially if the prime sites along the first Kearsage Lake are taken, it's worth carrying on to the second or third lakes.