Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Emigrant Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
6 days ago

It is a tough 2 day hike, especially in winter when the day ends at 5pm. And you really need the map for the off-trail section if you don’t want to add too much steep sections. We camped at Ridge Lake, and the view was awesome.

hiking
1 month ago

Easily one of my favorite hikes in the central California region. Thin air don’t care. The reward at the end is worth it. Peaceful, I feel like those who come here seek the peace and quiet. Definitely recommend before it gets more notice and people. However, trailhead can be missed if not careful. Also very limited. Some uphill rocky scrambling, repelling, heavy breathing included song this trail.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Oct 10, 2019. Beautiful lake, kind of a rough trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Recommend this trail to anyone looking for a splendid lake surrounded by mountains. The unassuming trailhead is very easy to miss. Parking is right by the side of the highway and there is space for 4 - 6 cars if they are parked properly. Plenty of gorgeous views to take in. I went on a Tuesday and I was the only one on the trail and by the lake for about 4 hours. I took a long lunch break and nap once I reached the lake. It was one of the most peaceful lake trails that I have hiked so far.

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail actually uses forestry roads which I discovered during deer season...so if you don't mind eating dust from vehicles go for it.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

One of my favorite trails. Easy and watching the sunset on the trail is breathtaking

Although this hike is only 3.2 miles the altitude and elevation gain made the hike perfectly strenuous

hiking
2 months ago

My wife and I enjoyed this hike very much. Views spectacular, and flowers of all kinds with glacier at lake. App says 3.2 miles out & back however I logged closer to 5 miles just stepping off trail to take pictures along the creek on occassion.

backpacking
off trail
rocky
2 months ago

Once again, amazing.

hiking
no shade
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Beautiful hike though mostly uphill. But it’s pretty short so lots of time spent stopping and enjoying the waterfalls and view. Pretty chilly even with the sun out. The dogs were able to do this hike no problem. Pack a lunch to enjoy next to the little lake. Definitely want to come back to this place. Only came across 2 other hikers. Had the lake to myself.

Great trail and great lakes. No mosquitoes. North Forest road 4N34 is high clearance 4X4 only (we've done it, but it's rough). South road 4N47 is for sedan and is fine.

backpacking
off trail
rocky
2 months ago

If you are comfortable with a little off trail hiking I highly recommend this one. We camped at Ridge Lake which is a gorgeous alpine lake then spent the next day hiking to the summit of Granite Dome and visiting the various lakes nearby. We didn't see anyone at Ridge Lake and ran into 4 people on our way to Granite Dome so felt like we had the place to ourselves.

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

We had a really nice, successful hike up to the top and I recommend this hike for others willing to overcome the tough altitude challenges. Starting at 9600 feet, was quite a challenge. Since it was easily accessible from 108, summiting Leavitt Peak is a great day hike except there is no acclimation period. So if you are used to hiking at sea level, you will likely experience some form of altitude sickness here. The trail begins on the PCT right at Highway 108. There's a bathroom at the parking lot. Why does the sign warn of bears? There's not going to be any bears at this high altitude above the tree line. The trail begins with a steady climb up with some amazing videos of Sonora pass, the High Sierras, Mammoth Mountain, and more. At various passes, the wind picks up. You'll find a well marked, high trafficked trail along the Pacific Crest Trail until you take the turn off for Leavitt Peak, which is not well marked, unfortunately. Some come prepared with either your map cached and GPS, or a good knowledge of where the fork occurs. Even in September, we crossed a couple of snow banks, no crampons needed. We could have walked around if needed. The trail is not well marked at times. But you just head up and you'll find the trail again. The top is not especially dramatic but it's worth the journey: a great panoramic view, diverse vistas, a sense of accomplishment with the highest peak in the area, and a nice descent down. I found a letterbox to register our achievement. We also chose to take an excursion to Latopie Lake, just off the trail, adding to the distance. All in all, this was a great day hike. Travel up to the top of Sonora pass. Park at the trail head. Struggle with being unacclimated to the altitude. Take a nice 11 mile round trip hike up to the top with great panoramic views of diverse mountainscapes, and a fun return home, stopping at a small town mom-and-pop place to grab a burger to celebrate and swap hiking stories.

First time backpacking in 12 years and absolutely fell in love again! Will say the trail is pretty popular so expect to see other people especially at camping spots. Mosquitoes were out but not bad this weekend, only word of caution is bring sunscreen or sun protection, it will burn you quick without! Do NOT use the "directions" tab on here, it will take you up a 4x4 road that also goes to the trail head

Beautiful hike. Lots of cool shady areas as well as a spectacular view. Took both pups even though we didn’t go all the way to chewing gum lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Completed this hike Saturday August 17, 2019. I would rate this as moderately difficult. I, as a person who does not "do" the outdoors...or exercise...really at all...and who lives in Southern California near the beach...was able to make it to the lake in about 2.5 hours lugging a backpack with many snacks, water bottles, whiskey, so much sunscreen, bug spray, and all the other things that newbie hikers think might be useful whilst venturing into the wilderness. Also, I was on a trip of Stanislaus National Forest specifically for photography, so my pack also had DSLR, multiple lenses, tripod, gopro, and another tripod. The altitude was challenging. However, I don't feel that I panted any more than I have on previous hikes that I've been conned into taking with friends/significant others. I used the "challenge" as an excuse to take extra breaks so I could take more photos :) For a comparison, I was not able to make it to the top of Camelback mountain in Arizona. The Cholla trail there is about the same length with the same altitude gain, but I found this trail to be much easier. And thankfully with many less people. And it's not because I'm a better hiker now- I did Camelback in February 2019, and have had a chronic illness ever since, and I did not have a backpack last time, just a waterbottle, so I'm definitely weaker now/was carrying more stuff, and found this to be much more manageable. There are others that say they have done the full thing in two hours. Cool. It's also a super amazing hike to take very slowly, because the distance isn't super far, and the views are utterly spectacular the entire way from top to bottom, so you can 100% turn it into a full day hike, stop to enjoy the scenery, and still complete it in one day without having to worry about not making it all the way to the end before having to turn around so you can get back to your car before dark. TL;DR- don't let the altitude or the difficulty rating deter you if you're in Stanislaus National Forest. It's a spectacular hike, you can do the hard things, you do you babygirl.

backpacking
bugs
muddy
3 months ago

We backpacked from Gianelli to Chewing Gum Lake with a day hike to Y Meadow Lake in between. The trail to Chewing Gum is very well defined with lots of shade and some gorgeous views and the climbs aren't too steep. Lots of mud the last kilometer to Chewing Gum, however. The mosquitoes weren't bad during the day but got considerably more active at night. The lake is gorgeous and has great camping areas. It will be better in a few weeks when the bugs die off.

skiing
3 months ago

Skiing, Aug 11th 2019

Good trail. Well maintained and really easy to follow. Beautiful views. I didn’t have much issue with the bugs, but I was also wearing insect repellent and my clothes are all treated, there was also a strong breeze so that helped. The wildflowers are stunning and the grasses couldn’t be greener.

Trail is in good shape but mosquitoes at Chewing Gum were HORRIBLE!!! We left as early as we could the next morning. Y Meadow had a nice breeze and was much better.

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