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generally: moderate trail in Stanislaus Wilderness with good scenery most of the way, moderate difficulty, well maintained trail, decently popular for backpacking with sites scattered around the lake
permits: free, get at ranger station, fires allowed at lake with permit
trailhead: unpaved road for several miles, lots of parking at trailhead

hiked once in september with snow on trail and once in late july and swam in lake

hiking
27 days ago

I hiked this trail today, 20 October 2018.

This trail and lake are gorgeous! The route is a manageable distance and elevation change, but the altitude slowed me down more than I expected. I imagine this lake being absolutely stunning on a sunny day (needs sun to be bright blue!) after a light snow. The sky today was clear and the lake was incredible. It’s not a massive lake, but definitely big enough for dogs and brave people to swim around and enjoy. The river, flowers, and icy waterfalls on the way were beautiful as well.

Trail:
The AllTrails directions will get you to the exact trailhead parking. Start your app where you have service and keep it on if you’d like to double check your progress to the lake. You’ll park along the road before the “9000 ft elevation” sign. Walk down the hill and cross the creek. You should see the trail go back up and over. The creeks were passable at this time without getting wet (as long as you can jump or rock walk, but it still isn’t that intense). Keep in mind that they’ll be a bit fuller and faster later in the day as the ice melts.
I found the trail to be easily followable. The path is well worn, and even at spots that were briefly uncertain, the area is clear enough to look on and see where you need to go. It’s a fairly straight trail anyway, you could point-and-shoot/river walk your way there easily. The hardest part was a bit of a rock slide scramble, but it was manageable. There was no ice or snow today to deal with. The only confusing part I got to was the last plateau of elevation before the last few tenths of a mile. The trail kind of abruptly ended at a step ridge, and it wasn’t obvious to me whether I was supposed to go over it or to head down the cliff side to the river. I realized that dropping down to the river was the correct way after a bit of bumbling around the ridge figuring the river will get me there anyway. The drop to the river was a bit harrowing at first, but there are plenty of rocks to make multiple points of contact on so you don’t totally eat it. From there, it was an easy walk up the river/trail to the lake.
The walk back is obviously just as simple. You can see the road once you’re halfway back. I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but it’s really really hard to get lost. There are opportunities to take a harder path over some rocks of course. My dog always found an easier way it seemed!

Overall, I thought this trail was moderate for someone in reasonable shape who can handle some climbing or at least butt scooting up and down rocks. It would’ve been easy if it weren’t for the altitude and those two spots that were a bit difficult to traverse.

Time:
I left the trailhead at 7:45 AM, about 20 minutes after sunrise. No one else was parked there, and I had about two hours to myself at the lake before heading back. I didn’t pass anyone else until about 11:15 when I was almost back to my car. At that point the lot was almost full and about 5 people were headed to the lake.
Leaving that early was nice because it was definitely bright enough to see, but the ridge shaded the trail (there are no trees) on the way up. Once I got to the lake, I had to wait about 30 minutes for the sun to hit the lake and reflect it’s gorgeous blue.

Dogs:
My hiking buddy today was my 16 month old lab mix. Apparently these trails require dogs to be on leash, but there were a few times I had to let him off so that we could safely negotiate the rock scrambles and creek crossings without messing each other up. I recommend having your pup wear a harness. It’s far easier for humans to scoot down steep ridges without forward momentum sending you over, and I had to pull on him a few times to help him brake. Of course he jumped rocks, creeks, and swam in the lake like a CHAMP. Keep this in mind if your dog is not the best on off leash recall, or if they’re not the most agile. Your dog will need supervision/coaching, especially on those steep parts I mentioned. Also, check their paws for scratches/blisters. Apply paw wax before leaving if they aren’t used to walking on rocks.

Bring:
Layers! It was in the 40s when I started hiking. About halfway, I got hot enough to shed the jacket and balaclava. It was also a tad windy at the lake.
Sunscreen. There is no shade after about 1030 AM.
Snacks. I like to bring dried fruit at high altitudes. There didn’t appear to be wildlife threats keeping people from bringing small snacks. I did not bring my dogs meat snacks though.
Water. I had a 2.5 liter camelbak that more than lasted me. My dog had some, but mostly preferred the cold, fresh river water to the lodge tap water (I don’t blame him).
Actual hiking boots. You’ll need them when avoiding slippery small rock slides while gripping onto bigger rocks that are cold or slick in the creek. Also, some rock spots are ankle breakers.

I think poles are unnecessary, if not inconvenient. I needed my hands free for the rock scrambles.

Enjoy!

This trail is easily one of my top trails to visit again. Just did this trail yesterday and the view was amazing. The hike might be short but man it was tough, but totally worth it. Recommend 5/5 stars!

backpacking
1 month ago

very nice not to difficult to get to. kids can do this hike. as for the road to rough it is but don't listen to the GPS. take Crabtree rd the two intersect.

took about 1.25 hours to hike to the lake, some loose uphill but not bad at all. the lake was beautiful, some bees were around but not enough to disrupt the view. 10/10 would recommend!

hiking
2 months ago

Clean trail - great hike with awesome views. gusty winds on the summit...

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing! Great hike not for the beginner. So beautiful the water is so blue, along the trail you’ll see waterfalls, wild flowers and beautiful rock formations. I’m ready to do it again!

Great hike one of my favorite. Views at the top are amazing and when you get to the lake it is even better. Nice place to relax and chill at the water, people swam and hangout. I would say its semi-crowded but worth it and the hike is moderate. A must try hike!

Great trail. ROund trip from the parking lot to the lake and back was closer to 10 miles.

NOTE: paved road ends and you have to drive about 6 miles on a graded dirt road.

The trail had a few really nice vista points. And the lake was beautiful. I’d like to return and stay a couple nights.

The trail from y Meadows to chewing Gum lake not maintained and is more like rock climbing

backpacking
3 months ago

gorgeous hike with wildflowers and a big green lake. the stream crossings are super manageable this time of year but be aware of high risk for forest fires. we backpacked in and had the whole lake to ourselves. dog friendly!

To say it was beautiful doesn't do it justice. Very scenic would definitely be doing this one again. Lots of mosquito's. Bring DEET! I think we fell in right after they hatched. However each day seemed a little better. Had a great time. No fish in these lakes. Plenty of frogs though. To summit all up, if you can go, go!

We spent two nights at Chewing Gum Lake, July 25-27, with a day hike to Toejam Lake in between. Chewing Gum is a gorgeous lake, not cold this time of year, with great campsites. There were some mosquitoes at dawn and dusk but nothing severe--none at all during the middle of the day. The hike from the trailhead to Chewing Gum is a very good trail almost all the way and goes over two moderate ridges. The trail from Chewing Gum to Toejam is also mostly good except for the last 100 meters or so getting to Toejam, which is rocky and not too well defined. Toejam Lake is also gorgeous. The only good source of water between Chewing Gum and Toejam is at Whitesides Meadow, about halfway, so plan ahead--it was very hot out in the sun the day we hiked it.

hiking
3 months ago

Fabulous hike, about 5 hours round trip. Easiest route up Leavitt on SE flank, just north of the snowfield (don't cross it).

hiking
3 months ago

Trail was absolutely breathtaking. So many beautiful wild flowers. A few very challenging areas where climbing or crossing creeks required the help of friends. Definitely worth the challenge!

3 months ago

great hike, a few snow fields to cross but nothing serious. very beautiful alpine environment

beautiful area - horrible mosquitoes right now... glad we brought cards, was confined to the tent for relief. trail was tough for a flat lander but great views.

4 months ago

Well I know there is a debate on whether or not you can/should drive up to the trail head and you could if you go slow but I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you like to bottom your car out when hitting pot holes and large rocks. I have a Honda Civic and parked in a small lot right before it turns into a dirt road and hopped in my friends huge truck to get there.

But! The hike was amazing and we did it for a sunset hike because the views where incredible once you hit the top part of the incline! We didn’t reach the lake because we found the perfect spot to watch the sun set (approximately 1.75-2 miles from the trail head) see pictures

hiking
4 months ago

I went to Blue Ridge Lake today. if you don't mind a little high elevation and a little bit of rock scrambling this is an absolutely beautiful Trail flowers were everywhere however I will warn you to parking lot is fairly small. this off limits the amount of people going out to the lake which is nice because it's not a big late but it is stunning against the mountains in the snow.

We day hiked to Chewing Gum Lake from the Crabtree trailhead and back on July 10. It's slightly over 4 miles each way with a big elevation gain going out--almost 2000 feet over the first 2 miles or so. Most of it isn't very steep but it keeps coming at you. Most of the hike is in partial shade until you get very close to the lake and the wildflowers were lovely. The lake is very pretty and was a great place to have lunch. We found no mosquitoes at Chewing Gum near noon, and there was only one area on the way where the bugs got bad. Leaving the lake, staying on the trail requires some attention. This is a harder way to get to Chewing Gum than from Gianelli (more climbing) but very nice and very quiet. We saw only two other people during our 5-hour outing.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked this two weeks ago. Snow patches along the way which made it more difficult without poles! Long hike but the views more than made up for it. Lots of pct folks along the way too.

Beautiful Hike!! Struggled with hiking in the high elevation but so worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike a year ago and I’m so excited to do it again! The views and geologic history of the canyon fascinate me and the lake itself was so serene and peaceful. I recommend this to everyone I meet!

Blue Canyon Lake is a stunning turquoise blue - worth the climb! Please be prepared for many stream crossings and getting your feet wet this time of year(June/July); trusty hiking boots are a must on this slippery gravel/talus trail. This trail is not for the faint of heart as there are some sections that require light scrambling. I don't recommend this hike for beginners primarily due to the stream crossings, scrambling sections and the ~1200ft gain in a short 1.8 miles. Also, the trail is not well-marked with signage and there are a few deceiving pseudo trails - follow the cairns and you'll be just fine! With the right preparation and determination, I do think anyone could ultimately tackle this breathtaking trail. Please be safe and always pack out what you pack in. Enjoy!

We were prepared for hoardes of mosquitos but it wasn’t bad! We stayed at the north end of the lake in a great little site. The bugs were a little annoying in the morning and a little bit at sundown but between permethrin, deet and picaridin they left us alone.

Others who had been at other lakes said the mosquitos were so bad they were basically trapped in their tents, even during the day.

This is an awesome beginner trip.

We took a day hike to Y Meadow Lake Greg bugs were worse there) and then came back cross country over the ridge to Chewing Gum. With topi maps it wasn’t too hard, even for a first-timer on the trip.

hiking
4 months ago

Don’t listen to the Prius guy below. The road is rough at parts but DEFINITELY drivable, you just have to go slow...like every other car. I even saw a few Prius’ (is Prii the plural

hiking
4 months ago

All day hike with amazing views the whole way up. At the summit it is filled with butterflies in late June. Can see all the way to Yosemite. 360 views over the whole mountain range.

beautiful area. relatively easy hike. very very bad mosquitoes. basically the mosquitoes are out with a vengeance from about 7 in the morning until 9:30 at night. would definitely go back in late summer. we did camp for two nights. and we did swim in the lake which was beautiful, but we swam with our mosquito Nets on our heads and made a major Dash back to the tent once out of the water.

Wonderful hike, not too tough. Views are some of the best. Mosquitoes were so bad people were cutting their trips short. Bring DEET, and it is tolerable. Will definitely do this one again or hit another of the many lakes in the same area.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike, very steep and some areas of the trail was under snow. No markings or signs of a trail head at the start. It appears on Topo as being in the Emigrant Wilderness but only a broken post remains a short way in. The trail is not always clear and a few alt routes to get around obstacles were present if observant. Lake was about 75% frozen 6/24/18. Enjoyable and remote despite its closeness to 108.

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