Photos of Alger Lakes via Rush Creek Trail

Distance: 17.2 miles Elevation Gain: 4,494 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

running

forest

lake

views

wildlife

snow

no dogs

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked in on Tuesday 8/27/19, the weekend before Labor Day. Even on a Tuesday it was busy on the trail before splitting off at Gem Lake. We came across a dozen hikers and a pack train along our trip to Agnew. After the fork at Gem Lake, we saw only 2 day hikers the entire hike to Alger Lakes. Trail is completely exposed all the way past Agnew Lake. Recommend to start before 7am to avoid the heat. Some of the trail along Gem Lake and the initial climb past the trail fork at Gem Lake is partially shaded but still can get hot and dusty. The trail is used by a pack train that brings people/supplies into the PCT/John Muir. They make frequent trips which means lots of horse manure along the trail, at least until the trail forks at Gem. Less horse manure on the trail to Alger Lakes but still some. The hike is tough and Agnew lake is nothing special. Rest at the north end of Gem Lake as the climb up to Algers lakes past the fork at Gem Lake is just as tough as the hike to Gem Lake. Continuing past the North end of Gem Lake, the trail forks to Waugh or Alger Lakes. The views of Gem Lake are spectacular as you climb toward Gem Pass. You climb for a few miles then pass a meadow and a dusty pass before the views open up along Gem Pass. Very beautiful views of the valley and Koip Peak as you round Gem pass make the hike up worth it. Lower Alger Lake is small and barren. Another half mile past Lower Alger is Middle Alger Lake. Beautiful, deep blue lake nestled against shale rockfall from the mountain beside it. Further up another small climb is Upper Alger Lake which is about 100-200ft elevation gain past Middle Alger. The wind can pick up here at 10.5k ft unlike you will experience at Gem Lake. The temp is much cooler and there are few camping spots to choose from. Beautiful lakes but the hike was very tough. Hiking poles recommended, especially for the hike down.

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