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Emigrant Wilderness in mid August - bugs/solitude?
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bryan c.
(bugsdad) - F
Emigrant Wilderness in mid August - bugs/solitude? on 07/17/2013 12:08:02 MDT Print View

Hey All...
I'm planning on taking my 12 year old out for 3 nights in the Emigrant Wilderness. We are having to move our trip up by about 2 weeks (I was hoping for first week of September to avoid bugs and crowds). Right now we're planning on Aug 12-15 starting at Crabtree and doing an easy loop of maybe 12-15 miles total. Anyone know how mosquitoes might be at this time and a route that would avoid the last minute/before school backpacking throngs?
Part of the appeal of this trip for my son will be the feeling that we are truly "in the wild" and sharing a lake with large groups of noisy, splashy people will take away from that.
Our original thinking was starting at Crabtree and maybe making it as far as Gem lake before looping around to Grouse Lake and back to the trailhead. This seems like a popular route that I'm afraid will be more popular in Mid Aug than our original early Sept (after school starts) start time.

Never having been to this area though...we are open to suggestions that might help avoid crowds but keep the distance and effort fairly light (see my previous post regarding my sons limitations).

Thanks All! And a special thank you to those that have reached out personally with gear and route help!!!


Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Emigrant Wilderness in mid August - bugs/solitude? on 07/17/2013 12:43:40 MDT Print View


Here is a photo essay of a trip I took there starting at Crabtree and it was in mid August.

I don't recall there being a lot of bugs, but we did have head nets, and I do recall having to wear it once or twice while having dinner.

Nothing heavy and maybe less so given that this year has been pretty dry in the Sierras for snow and rain.

Still, I would recommend headnets for sure and maybe 1 oz of DEET repackaged into a dropper bottle will be fine.

My recollection was taht Gem Lake was a popular destination for people for recreation and fishing.

You might want to push on a little futher.

If anything, the pictures will give you an idea of the area that you are going into, but not a suggestion for a route for you to take.

Hope this helps.


Vincent Lauricella
(1776SM) - F
Re: Emigrant Wilderness in mid August - bugs/solitude? on 07/17/2013 15:58:15 MDT Print View

Hi Bryan,

We did a trip out of Crabtree the 3rd week of August last year and had no bug issues. We had been warned that it could be bad so we came prepared with deet and headnets...maybe we just got lucky? I slept in a shelter with no netting and didn't have any bites.

As far as crowds, that wasn't bad either. We ran into some horse packers, CCC workers, and backpacks, but no large, rowdy groups.

The hike up from Crabtree to Gem Lake is very nice. We went in further to Buck Lake and spent a few days fishing and doing some off-trail hiking. We made it a loop by heading out past Wood Lakes (very nice)and down past Grouse Lake into Pine Valley. Grouse lake has an ok sandy swimming spot, but it's not as nice as Gem or Buck.

The conditions were very dry and we were kicking up a lot of dust on our way out.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Emigrant Wilderness in mid August - bugs/solitude? on 07/17/2013 16:49:48 MDT Print View

I agree with Vince, go to Buck Lake and then cross country a 1/4 mile and go back via trail to through Pine Valley. Nice hike

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: Emigrant Wilderness in mid August - bugs/solitude? on 07/17/2013 20:04:18 MDT Print View

Buck Lake is nice but it is a popular destination for the packers. I spent I night there and got to listen to a large group and the stereo they packed in. I may have just had bad luck that night. Long Lake may also be a good destination for you out of Crabtree.

Jeffrey Pelz

Locale: Tri-Valley
Emigrant Wilderness on 07/31/2013 11:06:39 MDT Print View


Just got back from Emigrant Wilderness on 7/27. The insects problem was spotty. With only a few locations with attacking masses, mostly around the dark ponds of standing water. While we had daily short thunder and rain, the trail stayed pretty much dry and dusty. Small creeks were dry and mostly took water from the lakes.
Have a great trip.