Last Road Opens

Mineral King Open Sign

The road to Mineral King is now open for public use. This is the final road to open for the summer 2018 season. Users can now access the northwestern most tip of the Golden Trout Wilderness via Farewell Gap. When entering into the wilderness, you’ll have to pay for a permit through the National Park Service. Permit fees are generally based on your trip’s starting point. Since Mineral King is within the National Park Service jurisdiction, you will have to obtain a permit there. This is a great access point to some very geologically unique areas, water falls, high elevation lakes of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Depending on the time of year, it can be great for photography.

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Trail Report: Jerkey Meadow to Trout Meadow

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Photo by Daniel Hall in May 2018

Last week Daniel went out into the Golden Trout Wilderness via the Jerkey Meadow Trailhead. He hiked up and over to the Little Kern River Bridge and ultimately to Trout Meadow. Then he reversed course and this is what he has to report. The Forest Service and partners will likely benefit from this report too for trail maintenance purposes.

Jerky Trailhead to Little Kern Bridge
There is only one blowdown in this section, a fourteen inch diameter one about a quarter mile before the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary. Hikers and stock are getting by it without significant problems or environmental damage.

Little Kern Bridge (via Willow Meadow Cut-Off) to Trail Junction for Trout Meadow
There are five blowdowns, ranging from six to fourteen inches in diameter. All except one are in the burn area over the crest of the ridge. Hikers and stock are getting by them without significant problems. Work was apparently started for a preemptive dropping of a large dead tree, but the sawyer work was not completed (see photos). By the way, the extensive and recent trailwork on this trail is
notable.

Trail Junction for Trout Meadow to Trout Meadow
There are six blowdowns, ranging from six to fourteen inches in diameter; one of them will require a lot of cuts and time to remove (see photo). Hikers and stock are getting by them without significant problems or environmental damage.

Trout Meadow (via the regular trail) to Little Kern Bridge
There are six blowdowns, ranging from six to sixteen inches in diameter. Hikers and stock are getting by them without significant problems or environmental damage.

Would you like to see Daniel’s photos from his trip? Check out the link HERE. Thanks so much Daniel for your trip report. It is greatly appreciated and I am sure it will of use to others planning on going out that same direction.

If you have recently went out into the wilderness and would like to share, please do! You can share via email, Facebook, or even just past your report in the comments below. It will get shared!

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More Access! Sherman Pass Road

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Photo courtesy of panamintvalley.com

The Sherman Pass Road is open to the Black Rock Trailhead. Now users can access the Inyo National Forest side of the Golden Trout Wilderness besides Horseshoe Meadow. The Black Rock Trailhead is a popular starting point for those going down to Jordan Hot Springs or visiting some of the largest meadows within the Golden Trout Wilderness.

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Trail Report: Summit and Maggie Lakes

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This past weekend hiker Andy Cai went out from Hidden Falls Campground and did a big loop to see places like Summit and Maggie Lakes. He even tried out the old Griswold trail that was reopened in 2015. Here is what he has to report:

Hidden Falls Campground -> River Trail -> Summit Lake, this section is easy to follow/hike and mostly snow-free, summit lake is ice-free.

Summit Lake -> unknown pass east of Sheep Mountain, this section is covered by firm snow.

-> Twin Lakes -> Frog Lakes -> Maggie Lakes. Snow-free but there are falling branches/trees everywhere. With a GPS navigation it should not be a problem to reach Maggie Lakes. All lakes including upper Maggie Lakes are ice-free. Frogs are so loud at Twin Lakes that you can hear them a mile away.

Maggie Lakes -> Summit Trail -> Griswold Trail. Falling trees everywhere but with GPS it’s easy to navigate.

Griswold Trail basically does not exist any more. A lot of bushwhacking and descending on steep slops with off-trail navigation. I had to cut a very steep slope from Griswold Trail down to Silver Creek eventually, as following the trail was not possible. That 1000 ft off-trail distance with 600ft elevation loss took me a couple of hours.

Passing Silver Creek I reached an abandoned fire road and walked all the way to my car at Hidden Falls Campground.

What a trip.

Thanks for the report Andy! This will be a big help for those wanting to head out this weekend or future dates this summer season. Anyone else venture out to the wilderness and want share you trip? Please do so as we all would like to know how things went!

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One Road, Several Trailheads

As of 9 AM this morning, the North Road (21S50) will be open to the public! This is a major access point to several trailheads on the Sequoia National Forest side of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Trailheads now accessible are the Summit Trail, both Clicks Creek ones, and Lewis Camp!

Popular destinations from these trailheads are Maggie Lakes, Little Kern River north of Grey Meadow, and the Little Kern Bridge. It is great to hear these will be a lot more accessible in time for Memorial Day weekend. Just make sure to grab your wilderness and camp fire permits (all free) before heading out!

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National Trail Day – June 2

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Image from American Hiking Society

Mark your calendar for June 2 as it is National Trail Day! There are various way you can participate this year from simply just going on a hike to maintaining trails to special trail events and more. You can also donate financially to the cause and get some swag in return. To learn more, you can check out American Hiking Society website.

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Mountain Home Opens on 5/10

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Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest announced they will be opening up on May 10, 2018. Great news for all those wanting to get to the Long Meadow TH on the western most portion of the Golden Trout Wilderness. The Long Meadow TH is a popular access point out of Shake Camp that leads up to Summit Lake and eventually Maggie Lakes. These lakes are both above 9,000 feet.

Trail conditions are not known at this point and exactly how much snow is up at the top of this trail is anyone’s guess. However, if you plan to head out there as soon as you can please consider sharing what you find. It can me a simple email, note on our Facebook page, or a full story. Any information is appreciated. Either way, plan accordingly and enjoy!

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Last Survey of 2018

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The last snow survey results are in for 2018! May is the final survey for the area and sites within or near the Golden Trout Wilderness. Unfortunately the results are bad. The Kern River Basin is at 13% of normal for this time of year. If you are wanting to find sheets of snow, you’ll need to get high in elevation.

Anything less than 10,000 feet to be exact had no snow on the course. About half the snow survey sites reported zeros or “no snow” for the month. This does not mean people passing by won’t see a patch or two of snow at lower elevations. It is just not enough snow to record on the actual snow courses. If you did not know, these snow survey courses have been surveyed in the same spots for decades.

Going into the summer backpacking season, make sure to note your water sources. If you head out into the wilderness, please consider sharing a trip report or sending in info on where creeks were flowing. This will help others going out to plan accordingly. It is greatly appreciated.

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Lloyd Meadow Road Opens – SQF

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Great news for those wanting to get in the wilderness earlier than Memorial Day weekend. The Lloyd Meadow Road (22S82) is now open to Jerkey Meadow TH as well as 20S67 to Forks of the Kern TH on the Sequoia National Forest side. Users can now enter the wilderness from Jerkey Meadow and Forks of the Kern. Make sure to have your free wilderness permit with you.

Why grab a permit when they are free anyways? This helps the Forest Service keep track of exactly how much use their wilderness areas get. Skipping it will only hurt users in the long run, so please grab one before heading out. They can be obtained from any of the Forest Service offices.

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A Road Opens….

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Photo from itoda

Many roads accessing various trails to the Golden Trout Wilderness are still close. They are estimated to open as early as mid-May, but ultimately by Memorial Day weekend. Are you itching to get a head start and catch the wilderness prior to it’s “spring” time? Well the only way right now is through Horseshoe Meadow. You’ll need to drive up the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Inyo National Forest. The trail head starts at about 10,000 feet elevation, so be prepared!

The Roads portion of this site will be updated as often as reports of roads opening. Stay tuned for more in the next several weeks. Remember to plan accordingly for your trip. Not sure how? Check out the Preparation section for help.

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