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Rush Creek trail conditions?
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Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Rush Creek trail conditions? on 05/21/2012 20:59:23 MDT Print View

Hello all, I'm thinking I might do a short 2 or 3 day backpacking trip this Wednesday through Saturday (5-23-12 through 5-26-12) up Rush Creek trail, from June Lakes Loop. If anyone has been in this area recently I'd love to get some current conditions.

I know that the trails to 1000 Islands Lake out of Reds/ Agnew meadows are closed to vehicle and peds due to all the downed trees. Evidently the Rush Creek trail is open, and the only access for 1000 Island Lake currently. I'm not sure I'll try to get all the way to 1000 Island Lake, I may just see how far I can go.

My biggest curiosity is snow (or lack of) in the area of Clark Lakes and Summit Lake. Here's my reason for wondering...I'll be getting to the trailhead early to mid-afternoon sometime, so not an early start. The USFS guy I spoke with said that Gem Lake is reportedly snow free, but Waugh Lake is still snowy. So I'm debating on splitting off at Agnew Lake towards Clark/ Summit Lake, or staying to the north and going the Gem to Waugh route. I'd kind of hate to get all the way up towards Clark Lakes the first night, only to find that at 10,000 feet the trail is unsafe or unpassable.

On the other hand, I may chicken out and just hike to Parker Lake and camp for a couple nights. It is my first backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierras. :)

Edited by Jedi5150 on 05/21/2012 21:00:42 MDT.

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
alternatives on 05/23/2012 14:21:20 MDT Print View


I'm sorry I don't have any update for you on Rush Creek trail conditions. But if you do go, please report back afterwards, as I have a permit to go in there a few weeks from now!

If it's your first trip to the Eastern Sierra, given the current snowmelt, may I recommend that you start instead in the Hoover Wilderness, where most of the major lakes are at or below ~9200 feet and should be (?) mostly melted out. The two prettiest entries are probably Green Creek or Twin Lakes. Those are great "intro to the Eastern Sierra" trips anyway - both are prettier than the haul up towards Waugh Lake. Call the Hoover Wilderness to ask about the snowmelt though.

We are only going into Rush Creek so that we can hike all the way in to Marie/Davis Lakes in the real highcountry. If you can't make it to Thousand Island, Davis, Marie, or Lost Lakes, I don't think Rush Creek is worth doing - it's a long tedious slog and you won't get to the best part!

Or, try further south where the snow is melted to an even higher altitude. McGee Canyon is a classic, gorgeous Eastern Sierra canyon, beautiful colorful rocks, should have a LOT of flowers right now!

- Elizabeth

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: alternatives on 05/25/2012 12:42:11 MDT Print View

Hi Elizabeth, I hear that today or tomorrow another storm might be coming in with the possibility of more snow. As it was, I only went as far as Agnew Lake (well, plus about 1/3 of the way beyond towards Gem Lake). It really kicked my butt. It was a warm afternoon, no shade, and I live and hike at sea level (a couple miles from the ocean). Starting the hike at 7,200 and gaining 1,500' elevation on a warm afternoon was brutal. I would also have done much better with a lot less weight in my pack. My plan is to reduce my packed weight by about 1/2 before my next trip.

My dog was also getting pooped. The excercise wasn't so bad, but she really doesn't care for warm weather. Every patch of shade from a bush on the trail she was lying down (and we both drank plenty of water).

All in all, we had a good time just in the hiking that we did. And I found the scenery to Agnew Lake to be beautiful, so I can only immagine how much better it gets. My end of July trip is for a 4 day 1000 Island Lake starting from Agnew Meadows. The pooch and I are going to have some training to do to get ready for it. Lighter weight pack for me, more practice hiking in warm weather for her.

Sorry, I forgot I hadn't responded to your snow question (since it may change today or tomorrow). People I passed on the trail told me there was no snow at Gem Lake, and only a little past Waugh (none in the exposed areas). I came over Tioga Pass, which is 9945' elevation, and the snow started at least 200 or 300 feet higher on the mountains around the pass.

Vixen, on the trail to Agnew Lake:
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Resting in the shade between Agnew Lake and Gem Lake:
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Edited by Jedi5150 on 05/25/2012 12:43:55 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: alternatives on 05/25/2012 12:44:12 MDT Print View

Ahh, now that is a dog.


Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Re: Re: alternatives on 05/25/2012 13:40:29 MDT Print View

Thanks Bob! You can see more pictures of her (plus a post-trip report) here:

Edited by Jedi5150 on 05/25/2012 13:42:40 MDT.