After not more than a third mile, in the trees below the waterfall, we already sat down for a break and took our packs off. By huge I mean fridge- and car-sized. The main trail rises gently for some one and a half miles to the first lake, Little Pothole Lake. At least we found a lightweight tent, and almost last minute, I bought our hiking poles. It was pretty obvious: if this snow continues on and on, we could be in a bit of trouble. We still had the two huge and heavy packs, and I brought the Mamiya again, now two with backs, and a tripod! Onion Valley is a small campground at 9.200', by the end of a steep road winding its way up from Independence, gaining more than 6,000' in 16 miles. Golden Trout Lakes Trail, Onion Valley All Towns All Activities Fishing Independence Golden Trout Lake Loop is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Independence, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. We did a trip to Charlotte lake, then returned to Matlock Lake and back to Onion Valley. 2,200'. Next morning, we awoke early, but there was no rush, so we breakfasted slowly, then broke camp and left. It was very exhausting, but fun. "Low", and everything was just... perfect. Things turned out very well, though. After resting a bit, we set up camp among the trees, reasonably close to the water, and I set out to fish, catching a few small trouts for dinner. The trail begins at Onion Valley, elevation 9,185 feet. At least, it was a very flimsy and light tripod, barely enough to hold the weight of that big camera, but still... Also, we needed a bear canister in this area, and considering we decided to do this more often, we bought one. This was at 11,300', higher than any of us has ever been, and we really felt it. Onion Valley; Golden Trout Lakes Trail. It took almost an hour to get past those 100 yards of "trail". The distance to the lakes is approximately 2.2 miles, and the elevation gain is approximately 2,200 feet. Turns out, this was a bit too perfect, we got way too bold for the next trip only three weeks later, and that one almost ended in disaster. With all the breaks, it took us over 5 hours to walk (climb and crawl) less than 3 miles. DUE TO COVID-19... Museum will be closed from December 6th through December 31st, 2020. It's a single-walled, non-freestanding tent pitched with a hiking pole, and it has a few good points, like being very light (just over 2 lbs.) As soon as we found out about all these exciting possibilities, we decided to check it out and embark on another two-nighter three weeks before the Mineral King trip. In many ways, our gear was improving, but was also even more ridiculous than last time. They are ridiculous compared to a real backcountry bag, but they are much smaller and lighter than the stupidly big and heavy two-person bag with had with us last time. To the north-west there's the Golden Trout Lakes trail, around 3.5 miles, gaining cca. US Lakes > California > Inyo County > Golden Trout Lake Custom Search If you go for the outdoors you'll go for it here in the Southern Sierra Nevada. It took us forever to get ready, and the was past 9 when we finally secured the car at the main parking lot and left. Golden Trout Lake is a water feature in Inyo County and has an elevation of 11,401 feet. and relatively roomy. Up at the Lakes, and on the way down, we encountered snow flurries. This is where the nice things on our back ended. Once you’re in Independence, CA, there will be a very obvious sign that says “Onion Valley”. Dragon Peaks' somewhat challenging third class summit blocks and wonderful vistas have garnered it … From the meadow, the trail kept climbing and climbing, going up the creek's drainage, and we even lost it briefly at a point. That left the Golden Trout Lakes, which looked like a very scenic and non-crowded option. Onion Valley to Mount Gould and Golden Trout Lakes 9/6/03 Read More. It was almost 4:30! (Note: we've been there many times since then, the the trail is in better condition. We got to the top of the waterfall at noon. There are 25 photos in the gallery. We returned to the meadow, packed up everything, and hauled our tonnage up the hill. The trail first climbs within the trees, then in the bushes, which became thicker and thicker, and after a while, we couldn't follow it anymore. No matter how hard it was, we had a great time, ate well, slept well, and spent two days in an amazing place without seeing anybody else. We had a reservation for the campground, so we didn't have to leave early. He told us the hike up to Golden Trout is very tough, with the section up to the waterfall being the toughest, especially as the trail is faint or almost non-existent and very lose on the steepest parts. Shortly after the trailhead the trail to Golden Trout Lake separates from the Kearsarge Pass Trail marked by an old wooden sign. Also, despite that we were approaching the end of June, almost nobody came this way yet to make the trail a bit clearer. The paved road is long and very winding; sheer cliffs, steep drop offs, hairpin curves, minimal guard rails. Our trip to Mineral King in 2009 emboldened us. Day 3 - Golden Trout Lakes to Onion Valley and back to L.A. Next morning, we awoke early, but there was no rush, so we breakfasted slowly, then broke camp and left. Since leaving Onion Valley more than 48 hours earlier, we haven't seen another human being. The afternoon was spent on the lake shore, walking around, fishing (no luck this time), trying to get used to the altitude. Golden Trout Lakes trail is a 5 mile out and back hike to a beautiful alpine lake in the Gallatin Range of SW Montana. Going down was of course much, much easier, but we still had to take the packs off on big boulders below the meadow, and we had to take several other breaks to rest a bit. The road to Onion Valley is usually open from May to November. Tesla Charging Station: There is a Tesla Charging Station available at the Museum. The scenic hike to Kearsarge Pass (11,823-ft.) travels by five shimmering lakes and features great views of the rugged crags and peaks along the east side of the Sierra Crest. There was very little snow, and as we got this far, we decided to explore the area for possible camp locations. Jan 17, 2015 - Starting from Onion Valley, the Golden Trout Lakes trail ends in a high alpine basin which contains the "Golden Trout Lakes". Onion Valley; Kearsarge Pass / Mt. I'm was glad, however, that going up we chose the boulders. Gould / Golden Trout Lakes Trail Loop - June 20, 2006 Read More. Direction: From LA, you want to take the 395 fwy north. It was very steep and very loose, but going downwards with the poles made it a much better alternative than the boulders. The campground is past a relatively big parking lot for the dayhikers and backcountry people. Of course we were exhausted, so we took a long snack break and enjoyed the view. A backpacking, camping and climbing trip to California's Sierra Nevada John Muir Wilderness starting at Onion Valley. This is where we both started truly appreciating how useful they are. In the spring, Onion Valley is popular with backcountry skiers and snowboarders. There are two more trails leaving from here, both dead-ends: to the south a 1.5-mile trail up to Robinson Lake, a scenic, small lake about 1,200' higher. Rough trails lead to the high bowls containing Robinson Lake and the Golden Trout Lakes. Onion Valley starts at 9,200′ and is surrounded by jagged alpine ridges and several streaming waterfalls around all sides. ONION VALLEY ROAD access via Independence, CA. ONION VALLEY INYO NATIONAL FOREST Once an Indian trading route, the Kearsarge Pass trail provides access to a lovely east-side lake basin and the spectacular backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park. So I plan our trips accordingly. I looked ridiculous, but it held. Starting from Onion Valley, Golden Trout Lakes Trail ends at Golden Trout Lakes, in the John Muir Wilderness. The hot air from the valley floor loses it's heat quickly, and when you get out of the car at the end, a cool, pine-scented breeze greets you. Buy Photos. To say it's very pretty is an understatement. 4 / 51. After breakfast, we considered moving camp up to the lake, but first we went for a walk. As we later learned, the trail crosses the creek and goes up on the north side, but this time, that whole area was covered in snow, and cairns marked the way on the west side, on huge boulders. Of course, it can be crowded in the summer with all the tourists and the Whitney climbers picking up their wag bags and rented bear canisters, but the rangers are generally very knowledgeable and very patient. After picking up the permit, we drove to Independence, then up to Onion Valley. Clouds were gathering, so we set up camp quickly and prepared for rain, but luckily, nothing came. The museum reserves the right to limit the number of pets in the museum and to ask a pet owner to take the pet out. Beautiful Alpine Lake. Extended Hiker Parking Permits Available at Museum: The Museum offers some spaces in its parking lot for extended long term hiker parking May - September. To get to Golden Trout Lakes, head north out of Big Sky on highway 191 for 5.1 miles. The just-past-full moon rose after sundown right in the notch looking down towards Owens Valley, creating a very cool spectacle on the rocks and the water. At 10,400 feet, Gilbert Lake offers cool mountain air and good fishing for brook trout and few brown trout. Paid parking permits must be displayed. At the waterfall, we didn't take the boulder field, but found the faint trail and descended there. On the right, the waterfall of Golden Trout Creek can be seen, almost 1,000' higher than the valley floor. Dragon Peak beckons to the climber as the distinctive pyramid seen from the Golden Trout Lakes drainage, accompanied just to the north by the dramatic "Dragons Tooth". Of course, the cheapest, but heaviest Backpacker's Cache, which is almost 3 pounds. Our biggest concern, however, was snow. We knew there's another lake a little bit higher and farther, but this time, we didn't go as far as exploring that. This trail is steep, rugged and difficult to follow. Don't forget to take a look at full gallery. It was past noon by the time we got to Lone Pine, and stopped at the the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center to pick up our permits. Hiking trail near Lone Pine, California. https://www.alltrails.com/.../onion-valley-campground-to-flower-lake There are 4 lakes within the system, the trail branches off at 1.35 miles to two of the lakes to the north, #1 and #2. Majestic scenery and challenging trails draw campers to the Onion Valley area for hiking and horseback riding. Gilbert Lake rewards anglers with pleasant fishing in lightly forested setting in the John Muir Wilderness region of the Eastern Sierra. While crossing the town of Independence, I saw a sign for Onion Valley, and reminded myself to look up the place. Wowza. Onion Valley to Mount Gould and Golden Trout Lakes 9/6/03 Read More. MUSEUM CLOSED for New Years Day, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We got up at 6 in the morning, which is early for us, and saw many serious hikers already heading up towards Kearsarge. I took a piece of rope, and fashioned a "belt" out of it. Well, it became our favorite gateway to the Sierra, no doubt. azbackpackr. Then, I found two small synthetic-filled and not very lightweight sleeping bags reasonable in price, and they could be zippered together. We spent the night pretty comfortably in our new bags - they were small, and not very warm, but the temperature was pleasant, we didn't even have to layer up. I knew the trail is going to be steep, even steeper then Eagle Lake the year before, but as I said, we were bold. After arriving to the car a few minutes past 1pm, we both had this sense of total serenity and calmness. Pets: The museum is Pet Friendly, but pets must be on leash or carried and under control of the owner at all times. Overnight parking without a paid parking permit is prohibited. The paved road is long and very winding; sheer cliffs, steep drop offs, hairpin curves, minimal guard rails. Buy Photos. The Onion Valley Trailhead hike to Flower Lake is an alpine adventure that has it all: Access to Mt. Admission: Donation - $5 For Adults; Children Under 12, Active Military and Museum Members ...Free of Charge. Then, after getting to the thick bushes again, we left the trail and started climbing on the boulder field. The campground itself is pretty small, only 29 sites, but very well organized, save for a few walk-up sites that can be too small for a family tent. Both Em and I though we are not going to like them, but we got used to them very quick even during practice, and after this trip, we were completely blown away by how useful they are. The seams looked so bad, however, that I got a tube of silicone sealer and went though the whole tent with it a week before the trip. This road is a destination in itself with amazing views of Owens Valley. All sites can be reserved, and very often, they fill up months in advance, especially weekends. Whitney, the Inyo National Forest, the John Muir Wilderness, and the PCT! Compared to the day before, it was somewhat less bad, most because of the ease of the terrain. After taking a few steps, the most wonderful landscape opened up before us: a true alpine meadow with the creek in the middle, lots of green grass, beautiful wildflowers and essentially no snow. On the Golden Trout Lake Trail, there is a creek to follow, and a big waterfall along the way. Favorite See All. Regardless, I still remember this as one of the best trips I've ever been on. The host was a very nice guy in his seventies with a big black dog. We never heard of it before, but somehow I had a feeling we'll like it. Gilbert Lake. 9,028 feet of variation between top and bottom and 264.9 miles of backcountry backpacking is what you get at Pacific Crest Trail - section 11, a delightful backpacking and hiking trail close at hand. Fishing, several lakes, amazing view. Golden Trout Lake from Mapcarta, the free map. ONION VALLEY ROAD access via Independence, CA. Further on there are a few patches of snow, amazing peaks, and long views to the east toward the Owens Valley, which was full of smoke from a fire near Mammoth. Carrying this much weight is, simply put, dangerous. That's where we'll be going next day. Heading the advice of more experienced people, we bought two really good Leki hiking poles (I think these were the first truly pro pieces of our gear) and even had the time to practice with them a bit. Right past the boulders, there was another snowfield, which looked pretty big, and we couldn't see the end of it, but I knew we had to be right below the meadow. First the good things: we got rid of the big tent, and bought a $20 "backcountry" tent at Big Five. Golden Trout Lake Loop is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Independence, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Beyond the lake, jagged peaks stand along the Sierra crest, marking the edge of Kings Canyon National Park. The Governor has ordered all indoor museums to close until further notice. Download area map for trail names. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/golden-trout-lake-loop From the pass breathtaking views encompass the Kearsarge Lakes, the Kearsarge Pinnacles and the Kings-Kern Divide. Turned out they saved our butts big time. If there's high… Kearsarge Pass Hiking Detail. After setting up camp, we took his advice and took a short hike up towards the waterfall. Day 0: We day-hiked to Robinson Lake from the Onion Valley Campground I call this "Day Zero" because it was technically the day before our week-long trek was to begin. And having two "Day Ones" is absurd. The road is Market Road but then it turns into Onion Valley road. September 3, 2004 We spent about four hours hiking up and down the Golden Trout Lakes Trail. Though still loose and steep, forget about the boulder field and just take the trail up and down.). This is a fantastic place, with great resources for all aspects of the Sierras and Death Valley. Golden Trout Lakes: About 1.5 to 2 miles from trailhead with a 2100 feet gain. No overnight RV parking. The place is very popular with backcountry people, as it sits 5 trail miles from Kearsarge Pass, and only 8 trail miles from the PCT/JMT, making it an obvious resupply point. There were two small snow fields, but nothing serious, and from the tracks, we could see that most likely only one single person has been up here since winter, more than a week ago. We headed up Kearsarge Pass trail, and after around a quarter mile or so, there's a well-marked turnoff for Golden Trout Lakes. At a Glance Despite idiotically heavy packs, we survived and had lots of fun, so in spring 2010, we already started talking about going on another backpacking trip in the summer. Then we had all the other heavy stuff from last time, like the big gas burner, one Gear Guide pad and non-pro clothing. This trail is steep, rugged and difficult to follow. Long term paid parking permits are available inside the Museum. 571: 2017-08-08: Onion Valley to Happy ... our group did fine with a night at Onion Valley Campground to get a bit ... also is a good base to build to a longer trip in the area. Of course, Em had a blast making fun of me. Since leaving Onion Valley more than 48 hours earlier, we haven't seen another human being. Favorite See All. It was very, very slow going, but at least clear of bushes, and the hiking poles came in very handy. 51 / 51. May 12, 2013 - Onion Valley, Kearsarge Pass, Mt Gould and Golden Trout Lake - 8.5 mile loop hike in the eastern Sierra Nevada, California, bordering Kings Canyon National Park Slim Lake; Golden Trout Lake Canyon. It’s about a 4 hours drive including getting to the trailhead from the main road. Anyway, we left San… We were ecstatic, however. Thank goodness in the few nights we ever used it, we never got any rain, as I think it would be disastrous. If you don't have backcountry gear, don't reserve one of those. The main from my pants button fell off, and we realized we forgot the sewing kit (never since). Museum of Western Film History, Further Information About Current Exhibits, Special Programs and Activities during the Festival. Read More. This was not Golden Trout Lakes, those were another few hundred feet higher and around a mile further, but it was heavenly nonetheless, and there was not much discussion about spending the night right there. The Museum will be closed December 6th through December 31st. In a few minutes, we found a sheltered and level spot not far from the water. When we came to the thick bushes, we fought our way through them, and it turned out the worst part was only a few dozen feet long. Slim Lake; Golden Trout Lake Canyon. Early 1900s Kernville resident Ardis Walker wrote, "Many of the pioneer visitors to golden trout waters reacted with a desire that was almost compulsive; they shared a common missionary urge to spread the golden beauty and life of this native habitat to the barren waters of more elevated and more easterly and northerly lakes and streams." Box 111)Lone Pine, CA 93545760-876-9909info@museumofwesternfilmhistory.org, © 2021 Then came the boulders. Nobody got sick, but we were both out of breath after taking a few steps. I have no idea how much everything weighed, but try carrying a baby elephant on your back... that's how it felt. Common Destinations: Golden Trout Lakes. The campground is near Kearsarge Pass, Robinson Lake and Golden Trout Lakes Trailheads, which access several alpine lakes and mountain peaks within the John Muir Wilderness, as well as Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Onion Valley Trailheads (Kearsarge Pass, University Pass) (Kearsarge Peak, Golden Trout Lake) Revised 18 Jun 2018 - please send updates to the webmaster Then in May, we went for a long weekend to Convict Lake and stayed in cabin. His suggestion was to take the opportunity and explore the area this afternoon. Day 1: We backpacked from Onion Valley to camp at Flower Lake and also visited Matlock Lake I've been hiking with Vicki for a lot of years now, and I have a pretty good idea of what the two of us are capable of doing. Buy Photos. The Museum of Western Film History701 S. Main Street(P.O. As much as we like it, we did not know for sure what awaits us, and though it would not have been impossible for us to camp on snow, we definitely did not have the gear to spend two nights in a complete winter wonderland. The Golden Trout Lakes trail (Trail #89) is located up Portal Creek in the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky. It just wouldn't be right to call the day we started "Day Two." Looking over at the Robinson Lake Trail from the Golden Trout Lakes Trail. Robinson was too close, but we didn't want to go very far, either, and the Kearsarge Trail was supposedly very crowded. Golden Trout Lake Trail. We knew it was there, but decided to try going up the boulder field next day. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/golden-trout-lake-loop, https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recreation/recarea/?recid=20778, Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide (CA). The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until July. Sometimes, these two lakes are referred to as Dragon Peak Lakes or Upper Golden Trout Lakes. Pictures of Onion Valley, Kearsarge Pass, Mt Gould and Golden Trout Lake, California: Blue waters of Golden Trout Lake We reserved a permit for Mineral King, wanting to try the same place again, this time for two nights. On the way down to Independence, we listened to Philip Glass' Symphony No 1. 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