Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

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adam
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Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by adam » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:37 pm

Hi,
I’m writing to ask for advice on a trip to Emigrant July 22nd-26th. I’ve been thinking of going to the hyatt and big Lake areas and checking out cherry creek canyon, with lots of wonderful trip reports from this site helping me out, and recent ones showing that the west fork cherry creek crossing is doable.

I have a couple questions- if you had a few days in this area, where would you go, or recommend going? Perhaps up to lake 7777 near mercur peak if possible to cross cherry creek at lords meadow? Buck lake, letora lake- I’ve seen both mentioned positively by posters here. Other recommendations? Or if it were you would you go somewhere else entirely?

I should say my priorities- I’m happy with off-trail route finding (but don’t mind trails either) and not really looking to push high mileage. I don’t fish, so that’s not an issue. I don’t mind snow- I have gaiters, and trekking poles-- but I left the ice ax and crampons at home, so I’m not looking for steep stuff. I’ve hiked around the Tuolumne meadows area quite a bit, so I like the slabs, lakes and creeks, but Emigrant is totally new to me.

Also, what is the status of the trailheads? I called the Stanislaus national forest to ask about the road to box spring trailhead; the woman who answered said it was closed, but didn’t know anything else about it. My understanding is that the crabtree trailhead road is not all the way open but may be soon- again, that wasn’t clear from what I could see on the usfs website. Would I be better served calling the wilderness permit extension instead?

Thanks for your help,
adam








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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by kpeter » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:00 am

My advice is not to try to cross the main Cherry Creek. It probably won't be safe by your expected date, but even if it were, your trip is too short to do justice to both of the two regions of lakes--one north and one south--of Cherry Creek canyon.

There are numerous trail reports that might help you, including some recent ones from people who make it across the West Fork to Hyatt Lake already this year. Here are two of my reports covering different areas out of Crabtree:

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... eer#p69688

http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... t=big+lake

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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by balzaccom » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:54 am

Crabtree trailhead is open, but they recommend 4wd for the last half mile or so. Not an issue.

I agree with kpeter, that snow won't be a worry, but stream crossings will be. And if you're not interested in high mileage, Letora Lake is about 16-18 miles from the trailhead, as I recall, depending on route.

The granite between Pi gree and Big Lake is truly astonishing, but if it were me and I had four days, I would head to Wood Lake and then explore south from there--very easy navigation, lots of open granite, lots of lakes to see : Karl's, Leighton, Red Can, Kole, Coyote, Five Acre, etc.
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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:44 am

Everyone has a different opinion, so I will just say that my preference is Pingree-Big Lake-Hyatt rather than Carls, Leighton, Red Can etc. (Buck Lake is the exception- quite pretty and great fishing) The latter is more woodsy and the off trail travel has a lot of downed timber to scramble over. I prefer the granite slabs. There is a lovely vegetated bowl below Big Lake that I call "The Oasis" that is really unique. I camped there at the southern end. From there you can easily drop to Cherry Creek as a day hike. I also do not recommend crossing Cherry Creek. Once you get there it will be more obvious regarding the safety. I agree that north of Cherry Creek and south are two different trips.

Be prepared for mosquitoes! I would not go without a shelter that has mosquito netting. The granite slabs can be like walking an oven. I took a "sun-brella" when I went, it really helped. Any light weight umbrella would work if you do not have a backpacking umbrella.

There is a trail from the lower trail (the one that crosses Cherry Creek and then goes directly to Woods Lake) that is distinct at first but sort of peters out as you near Pingree Lake. I doubt that trail has been worked on since I was there last year; it is not used much either.
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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:01 am

For what it is worth, here are some of the routes/trails that I used in 2018
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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by mschnaidt » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:30 am

I just spent a couple of days on the West Fork of Cherry Creek. I went in from the Bourland Meadow trailhead which is closer to the creek than Box Springs. Google maps will take you right there. Bourland is the shortest route to Hyatt, 6 miles or so with some off trail or faint use trail travel. Big and Pingree are 2.5 and 3.5 ish from Hyatt.

The road is open to BMT but it's a little rough. No need for 4wd though. There is still some snow on the trail but it is minimal and melting fast. The creek is running high but is crossable.

Hyatt, Yellowhammer, Big and Pingree are great. Spectacular granite and good campsites. Highly recommended.
Bourland to Hyatt.JPG
Have fun!
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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:54 am

Although you do not think one needs a 4wd, what kind of clearance do you need. Do you think a regular passenger car could make it?

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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by mschnaidt » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:09 am

Hi Daisy,

I think a regular passenger car would be fine. There were a few areas to maneuver around (erosion and downed trees) on forest route 3N16 but nothing requiring high clearance. 3N01 is in excellent shape on the unpaved section as there is logging going on and it's being maintained.

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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by balzaccom » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:38 am

Wow--that's the one route I would have thought impassable because of Cherry Creek!

We did that a few years ago. Once you get down to the level of Hyatt Lake, make DARN SURE that you cross the outlet and head up to the top of the cliff on the far side of that creek. Do NOT follow the creek up to the lake, unless you want to have a real bushwhack. Then the trail follows the top of that cliff for a while before reaching easy access to the lake.
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Re: Emigrant trip advice around Big/Hyatt lakes area

Post by adam » Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:34 pm

Thanks so much for all the advice, and Mschnaidt & Wandering Daisy, thanks for the route maps!

Balzaccom- I don't quite understand what you mean about Hyatt. To me the red track on mschanaidt's map looks like it hits Hyatt north of its outlet. Are you referring to where the route crosses the "S" of Stanislaus national forest on the map?

Thanks again!

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