Rush Creek Trail to Agnew Lake

MODERATE 13 reviews
#33 of 95 trails in

Rush Creek Trail to Agnew Lake is a 7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near June Lake, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round.

7.0 miles 2445 feet Loop

camping

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

rocky

1 month ago

Keep going past Agnew lake if you're going to do this trail!

backpacking
1 month ago

the views of banner Peak were incredible we hiked all the way to Island pass Thousand Island Lake what a beauty

backpacking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail twice to Gem Lake. Once was backpacking/camping and the other time was with my 5 and 10 year old. July was absolutely beautiful/great weather. September was just as beautiful but overcast with slight rain. My kids can't wait to go back again, this is our new favorite trail!

Both times hiked up the tracks to cut out the switchbacks, but beware, it is a steep climb if you go that route!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail! I took it to Agnew Lake and enjoyed the water and great views along the way. It's quite a climb up, but I thought it was worth it once I reached the lakes. There's not much shade so come prepared for that. Yes there was horse poop, but it wasn't too bad. There are tracks for a little rail car on the trail to Agnew Lake. I didn't think it was still operational and hiked them instead of the trail for a short while near the top. BEWARE! It's still in operation and I was surprised by the car as it came down. Fun hike.

hiking
4 months ago

My husband and I left Rush Creek with our husky up to Agnew Lake. The hike was a challenge and we took short breaks and talked with other hikers. The view of Silver Lake and waterfalls were beautiful. Next we took Spooky Meadows which has a moderate rating but let me tell you, it's difficult. We hiked up around 5 miles total that day and by the time we got to Clarks Lakes, we were exhausted! The next day we stayed on Spooky Meadows to hit up Gem Lake making one giant loop. Gem Lake was pretty but the horses leave the trail with tons of road apples which make it smelly and draw an enormous amount of flies. This was our first backpacking/hike and I wouldn't recommend it for first timers. I'm grateful for the beauty and the ability to take my dog. We wanted to go to Garnet Lake but decided that coming down Spooky Meadows was dangerous without trekking poles. Next time, we'll leave from Agnew Meadows to avoid the crazy elevation. Happy Trails

backpacking
4 months ago

This trail is a great example of the goal being worth the work. We only stayed one night at Gem Lake, but it was beautiful. We started out of Silverlake, and the 3 miles to Gem was exposed and hot. For that effort, next time we plan on staying longer in the higher parts, checking out more of the lakes.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful. The Rush Creek Trailhead is near the Silver Lake RV Park and we took it to Agnew Lake. It is a beautiful trail with the bonus of three waterfalls on the way (in June), the trail is sunny and challenging but in good shape.

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

I have hiked the Rush Creek trail since the 1980's. This is a spectacular area. I took a solo day hike to 1,000 Island Lake back in June (my hike was about 16 miles roundtrip). I loved it, but have a few words of advice about the trails:

Rush Creek trail begins with a very steep climb up to Agnew Lake. It is almost entirely along a granite cliffside with some truly beautiful views of the glacial valley that holds the June Lake Loop. Take note of this, backpackers, you will definitely feel the rapid elevation gain during this portion of the hike! Once you get to Agnew Lake, a fairly unpleasant industrial looking area with views of two dams and heavy equipment, you can choose to keep going to Gem Lake or take the shortcut trail to Clark Lakes that intersects the main trail just below the dam. Don't let this small stretch of unappealing area get you down; there are gorgeous vistas coming your way very soon.

I do NOT recommend taking the shortcut trail to Clark Lakes if you are a solo hiker. The trail is steep and very sketchy at times. It often disappears at critical moments, like when fording the fast moving stream on the steep cliff (even during this drought). I can recommend this trail if you are with friends as it does take two or three miles off the distance, but if you are alone I advise against it. You can reach Clark Lakes via the easier Rush Creek trail, but it adds additional mileage as it goes around Gem Lake.

However you get there, the trail from Clark Lakes into the Minarets is wonderful. It is easy to follow, moderate in elevation gain/loss and very well marked. I think the Ansel Adams Wilderness is the prettiest area in the Sierra Nevada. If you can make it to 1,000 Island Lake or any of the other lakes in the region you will be greeted with stunning views of Ritter, Banner, and all the other spires.

This is a beautiful trail for the most part. But do your homework and practice your aerobics! It will take you to beautiful places, but it doesn't let you in easily!

hiking
1 year ago

I have hiked this (back in 2012) probably about eight times when I worked in the area. There is almost NO SHADE on the way up except for a couple of trees that make a nice stop. Yes it does parallel the road for a bit but I never thought of that as a problem. I knew once I got a couple miles up the trail by Horsetail Falls (which is probably not a big deal in the major drought 2015 but otherwise is quite impressive) the road noise is long gone and you are at the edge of the best part of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. You pass the AAW sign about a mile from the trailhead and get great views back down to Silver Lake, over June Lake and all the way out to Mono Lake eventually.

Agnew Lake is probably a disappointment again because of a lack of water. Once you get to Agnew, keep hiking up to Gem Lake for a standard day, or if you are not afraid of a very fast 1000 foot climb, cross Rush Creek below the Agnew Lake dam, head west along the south side of the lake and you will see a nasty very steep trail with maybe 15 switchbacks(?) I forget. This gets you up to Spooky Meadows and is the quickest way to the John Muir Trail and PCT.

Once up in Spooky Meadows, it's easy to lose the trail which starts to parallel the meadow on the west side before turning up the hill to Clark Lakes. At this point you will have climbed almost 3000 feet from 7246 at the trailhead to over 10000 as you crest above Spooky Meadows.

Not for the faint-hearted, we mere mortals should stick to the main trail on the north side of Agnew Lake. No you are not allowed to row across the lake in the power company barges :)

Also I read a note somewhere that the parking may be restricted due to some construction give a call to the local ranger and inquire if you are worried.

Bottom line if you are looking for a faster easier more rewarding hike and can take some climbing I would hike the Yost Lake trail, the branch that starts at the June Lake Firehouse (across the street, right next to the main campground in town, June Lake USFS Campground). That's a very rewarding trail but still steep. If you are looking for something mellower look at Parker Lake but I never hiked that.

hiking
1 year ago

Went to explore the Inyo wilderness area when the forrest fires were taking over yosemite (our original plans) but it ended up being quite an enjoyable trip. Took this trailhead up to Agnew Lake and Gem Lake. The climb from Silver lake up to Agnew lake is BRUTAL. I went through almost 4L of water and had never been so happy to set up camp when I arrived at Gem Lake. But it was SO WORTH IT because the lake-view sunrise in the morning was one of the most spectacular I've seen :)
Didn't see any bears but saw quite a few deer down the rush creek trail. My friend caught some fish down in Blue Lake and Webber Lake, but not much.

hiking
2 years ago

Hot, dry day, no shade (really, there's NO shade). The first mile of the hike is literally next to the road, although you continue to climb higher and higher, you still hear road noise, not ideal for a Sierra hike.

The trail is very loose, VERY narrow, and filled with horse manure. I've hiked a lot of Sierra trails and most have some manure, but this trail was awful. When we arrived at Agnew Lake, the water level was down 20 feet, quite sad, and we actually walked in the lake and next to the damn/hydroelectric facility. A trickle of water ran into the damn. Next stop was Silver Lake, beautiful views, but quite windy on this day. We decided to turn around and not hike any further.

This trail may be okay in late Spring or early Fall, although once again, no trees. You must hike past Silver Lake and onto the next lake, before any quantity of trees is visible.

For us, this was a one-time experience, and never again. There are too many other gorgeous trails to spend our time on.

hiking
3 years ago

Very easy hike. Just went Oct. 31. 2013, It would have been a nice hike to see the fall leaves before they dropped...