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Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2
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David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/03/2011 21:07:01 MDT Print View

My boss at work is not able to get away from the office and family obligations very often. He was eager to find time for a backpacking trip before the fall/winter set in and I gladly agreed to be his hiking partner (approval for the time off was a sure thing). Since the weather was forecast to be mild with highs in the 60s and lows in the high 30s, we decided to start our hike out of the low elevation and exposed Bell Meadow Trailhead. Our desire was to explore the lakes in the heart of the Emigrant Wilderness area, catch a few fish and have a great experience.

After a few miles of hiking we reached the canyon that contains the West Fork of Cherry Creek. Our path would take us south into the canyon and over the ridge to the west (left in the picture below).


My Wilderness Press Map shows this as a trail but I would say that many of the "trails" shown on my map should be considered something between a trail and cross-country. I think the trails in this area are relatively infrequently visited and not maintained. We relied on our map to navigate and I used my GPS to verify our decisions.

After a climb that left me short of breath and had my boss with his hands on his knees, we reached Rosasco Lake. It was a small but lovely lake that would make a great destination for a future BPL meetup. July 2012 anyone?



Our next destination was going cross country in Cherry Creek Canyon to Hyatt Lake. The weather was perfect but there was a smokey haze in the air from wildfires in the area.4

Hyatt Lake sits in a massive granite bowl but perhaps its most distinguishing feature is its sand beach:


8 Hunting season is in fully swing and so yellow was the chosen color. Daiquiri on the beach BPL style.

After hiking northeast out of Cherry Creek canyon we traveled to (in order) Pingree Lake, Kole Lake, Leighton Lake, Karls Lake and Red Can Lake.
9Pingree Lake

10Kole Lake

12Leighton Lake

14Karls Lake

16Red Can Lake and our last destination for the day.


18 Sunset from camp. The night was windy but the temperature did not drop below freezing.

The next day we traveled north to visit Wood Lake, Buck Lakes, Deer Lake, Jewelery Lake and Gem Lake:
woodUpper Wood Lake

buckUpper Buck Lake

99Jewelery Lake

teaTea time in camp and Gem Lake

contrailThe Contrail survived another windy night. The clouds rolled in and it looked threatening but they eventually broke up in the morning to reveal the sun and a pleasant day.88

We dropped south back to the Bell Meadow Trail and traveled west back towards the trailhead. We stopped along the way and I let my trip-mate give it a go with my Tenkara Rod.66

77Back at the trailhead.

I feel fortunate to work with a great group of people and I even enjoy their company outside of the office. This is the second trip in three years with my boss. While enjoying our post hike meal, we agreed to maintain the tradition of a late fall Emigrant Wilderness trip.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour on 10/03/2011 21:24:24 MDT Print View

Great pictures David! Where is that TH located? I have never heard of it--more places to explore for sure... I am trying to get my boss to go on a a hike too--no luck so far.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/03/2011 22:26:54 MDT Print View

Nice Dave.

Cool trip, I followed the route on my Tom Harrison Emigrant Wilderness map. He doesn't show any trail for half of the trip.

We were out there almost exactly a year and got dumped on, almost stuck on the wrong side of a rapidly rising creek.

It's raining now, timing is everything!

See you soon.......

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/03/2011 22:40:59 MDT Print View

Very Nice Dave. Looks like a great time. Will have to get south next year for sure. See you in a few weeks!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/04/2011 09:15:49 MDT Print View

Great trip Dave....I am with Jay, I have never been through some of that area. Sounds like I need to now

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/04/2011 10:43:58 MDT Print View

Hi Dave, very nice report and photos. How were the Hyatt Lake campsites? Last time I was there ('08) it had burned recently and most of the north shore campsites were unusable.

Such a nice area--need to get back there!



David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/04/2011 12:54:12 MDT Print View

Thanks for the positive response everyone.

Jay - The Bell Meadow trailhead is right off Crab Tree Road. The turnoff is signed and its before the Aspen Meadow Pack Station. The trail runs east-west parallel to the Crab Tree Trail. There are lots of aspens along the trail and it would be a great spot to take in some fall color.

Rick- It did not appear that there were many established campsites at Hyatt Lake. I did not notice any obvious signs such as a fire ring. There were some nice flat open areas to setup a tarp/tent but as shown in your picture, there was not much tree cover due to the fire.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/04/2011 14:25:59 MDT Print View

About halfway around Hyatt lake on the East side is a nice flat area that is very private and has a great view across the lake. Most people seem to try to camp near the outlet.

James Winstead

Locale: CA
Emigrant Wilderness Lake Tour 9/29 to 10/2 on 10/05/2011 23:27:13 MDT Print View


Great photos... good to to see that you dodged some weather. I'm considering a solo trip next weekend and and keeping a close eye on it.

Glad you are coming to the Trinities... see you there.