Explore the most popular lake 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.

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
17 days 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.

This was my first backpacking trip. We did three days and two nights. The last weekend of September all of the creeks were dry, the lakes were a little low but still beautiful. The days were perfect hiking weather in the 70s-80s. Nice chilly nights probably 40-30s. Day 1 started at the Crabtree trail head. The trail was fairly moderate elevation rise. We had lunch at Camp Lake. So beautiful with lovely fall foliage. We hiked further on and ended the day at Bear Lake. We set up camp on the North side of the lake. We found a great camp site with a stone fire ring, enough room for two tents and a view of watching the sunset behind the lake. Our second day was a beast! Quite a climb in altitude had my heart pounding! But the glorious high mountain vistas were absolutely worth it! We stopped to have lunch at an unnamed lake we called Lily Pond Lake. After lunch my son stood up quick and from the high altitude he got a massive bloody nose. Took us an extra 30min just to stop the bleeding. After half a toilet paper roll used, we continued on our journey. Past dried up Piute Creek we ended our day at Grouse Lake. This day was quite strenuous and took us longer than estimated. But this was my first big hiking trip, we had a couple groups fly past us with their happy dogs leading the way. At Grouse Lake we found a spacious camp site with a large stone fire ring on the North of the Lake and trail. On our third day we finished the loop back to Crabtree trail head. This was the shortest day, but the incline in elevation was intense for a little while. On our way we passed a couple groups on horses. And also saw some shy deer. As a whole the trail was very well maintained, perfect for a first timer.

9/29/18 Did the loop as a day trip. 7 hours of walking, an hour of lunch and yoga and an hour of taking photos and just enjoying log sitting.
Clockwise is the way to go - esp for water. Plenty at camp, lily pad, piute, gem and grouse. Nothing between gem and grouse on main trail.
No insects just golden ferns, mushrooms and beauty ❤️

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!

Went counterclockwise for the loop. Labor Day weekend was quite busy, but we found a great spot overlooking Gem Lake. Several good dayhikes are possible from Gem. Scarce mosquitos this time of year. The lake water is very cold and refreshing, and tastes good once filtered. No complaints other than the holiday crowd.

There is a good amount of elevation to climb towards Gem Lake from both directions. Be prepared to rest and catch your breath (you’re well above a mile up) if you have to.

We did the lower part of the loop--Crabtree to Grouse Lake to just before the turnoff to Gem Lake, and then back. This would be a great hike except that on Labor Day weekend there was no water in any of the creeks (Lily, Piute, or Cherry).The only source of water between Crabtree and Gem Lake was Grouse Lake, and it had been badly fouled by cattle. I was really glad to have a good water filter but the filter was completely clogged after several uses. On the plus side, there were no mosquitoes--not a one.

Cool place for some backpacking. Parking can be brutal. Somewhat, busy, from the amount of cars you see, but hiking wise, it’s isn’t that bad. Started our hike at 10:45am and made it to Gem Lake by 3:15pm. Found a great spot and it wasn’t too crowded. NO MOSQUITOES AT ALL, so that was awesome. We did the hike clock-wise and this is what I would recommend for everyone wanting to the the loop.

hiking
1 month 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!

This trail has it all. Some ups, some downs, some sun, some shade. A few nice swimming holes. Natures raw beauty and sweet serenity. Even a little cowbell! (see pics in my profile) Good elevation gain for a nice workout. Trail length much longer than posted, I completed 15 miles and didn't even do the offshoot because I started late and was running out of daylight. Even on Labor Day the trail wasn't too populated. Trail goes from super sandy in spots, to you having to traverse over rocks, big and small. A varied terrain for sure. Lots of super rad places to camp, would be perfect for packing in and staying overnight. Recommended hike!

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.

We did this 20 mile loop, counter clockwise, in one day. It was a long day (took us about 9.5 hours to complete) but definitely doable.

We were surprised to see lots of cows grazing around Bell Meadow and near Grouse Lake as well. Just a heads up as we were a bit startled the first time we came across them. We saw lots of mosquitos as Grouse, but the rest of the trail was pretty free of them.

We also struggled with trail markers after about the 7th mile out. We got a little turned around on our way back, at around mile 14. The trail is very dry and dusty this time of year, but the sky was clear (no smoke!) and the scenery is truly breathtaking.

The lakes and creeks were teeming with mosquitoes. Even with deet and smokey campfires, I got about fifty bites, mostly near the creek crossing where we camped around mile 6.

Gem lake (10mi) was free of mosquitoes around 1pm and was lovely to swim in. I expect it would have been a nice place to camp without getting eaten so badly.

Grouse Lake (15mi) was also not too bad, but still not great.

Lots of horse poop on the trail.

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

backpacking
2 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!

Wonderful trail for all experience levels. Some friends and I went on a two night backpacking trip this past weekend and enjoyed the scenery regardless of the smoke from the fires nearby. Hope to go again soon when fire season is over.

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
2 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!

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.

3 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
3 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.

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

Backpacked the loop clockwise two weeks ago. As soon as we hit the pass before Piute Lake, mosquitos became unbearable. Camped the first night at Gem Lake and regretted that decision. We woke up early and had a great second day fishing Rainbows in Buck Meadow Creek and Cherry Creek West Fork. Camped at Grouse Lake second night and bugs were still bad but much better than Gem. We caught three Brown at dusk and one Rainbow at sunrise. Can’t wait to check out this area again without the skeeters.

hiking
3 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
3 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

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