Emigrant Wilderness Loop Trail is a 19.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Pinecrest, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and backpacking and is best used from August until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
19.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,172 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

wildlife

hiking
1 month ago

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 ❤️

2 months ago

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

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
2 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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.

backpacking
3 months ago

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.

backpacking
4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

Traveled from the south direction and had lunch at grouse lake. (Great idea) Then camped at Gem lake, mosquitoes were absolutely terrible. Spent the day hiking out and was tormented by them anytime I was near water, other than camp lake. I will go again just at a latter date. But the scenery is beautiful.

backpacking
5 months ago

Just completed the loop - backpacking. No snow but mosquitoes are ferocious at Gem lake. Deep Woods Off not effective - we hunkered in our tent for 3 hours til sun went down and skeeters left. I do not recommend camping at Gem or higher elev. for maybe another few weeks? Until they die off. Camp Lake and Grouse Lake (along north and south legs) are 1000' lower elevation and no bugs - good camping right now. Cherry Creek (cross on both the north side and south side of loop) is running about knee high and very cold but not too hard to cross.

backpacking
5 months ago

heavily trafficked, not sure why it is labeled as "light" definately bring deet.

beautiful hike. went from crabtree th to deer lake and sayed the night. all in all a great trip.

hiking
5 months ago

Just got back yesterday. Trailhead is easy to get to. Beautiful loop. The lakes are small, but maybe that's to be expected. The first good place to camp is at Piute Lake, but Gem is even prettier. The creeks were not too hard to cross. The deepest reached halfway up my thigh (I'm 5'4"), but the water is freezing. Found a fantastic campsite at the southern crossing of Cherry Creek. Just walk straight up the granite on the West side of the creek until you can't go up any further. Great view and secluded. Downside of this trail was the amount of people out there. Saw at least 20 people over 2 days.

hiking
5 months ago

My goal was to go from Crabtree TH to Gem Lake the first day and then to explore the lakes beyond Gem Lake. Unfortunately, the water at Cherry Creek (about .75 miles from Gem Lake) was to my chest and higher in most spots and I wasnt able to find a good place to cross without having to float my backpack and swim. I chose not to and returned to Piute Lake for the night. Piute was a good spot and no one else was around. Good initial plan, just happened to catch the runoff at the wrong time.

hiking
5 months ago

We backpacked from Crabtree to Gem Lake on Memorial weekend as an out-and-back hike using the upper end of the loop. We spent a day hiking from Gem Lake around Deer Lake, absolutely gorgeous area, still covered by 2-3 feet drifts of snow with some clear patches in sunnier areas, so expect slower travel (and beautiful pictures!)

The snow was melting at the end of the weekend. Cherry Creek filled up fast and rose a couple feet on our way back so we camped nearby and crossed in the morning. It came up to our hips even still! Absolutely use caution when crossing anytime soon. Paiute Creek is also rising from snowmelt, but it wasn't as swollen and came up to mid-thigh on us.

I'd recommend this hike to anybody who'd like to get away to a beautiful place! Will definitely be going back later this year - hopefully we'll make it all the way to Emigrant Lake next time!

hiking
5 months ago

We did a day hike from Crabtree Trailhead to Bear Lake and back on Memorial Day. It was perfect--great weather, neither too cold nor hot, dry and almost completely sunny, and NO BUGS! We never even considered breaking out the DEET. All the streams were easy to cross, but there were plenty of streams alongside the trail for our dog to drink and splash around in, besides Camp Lake and Bear Lake. Crabtree to Bear Lake is an easy hike with only one section that's a little steep. The round trip took us four hours with a number of brief stops. There were lots of hikers and backpackers on the trail on Memorial Day but at other times it's much less busy. One of my favorite places for a leisurely day hike.

backpacking
6 months ago

Hi. We thinking of hiking to buck lake from crabtree trailhead around June 8, 2018... Is this too early? Is the road open to the trailhead? Is there still a lot of snow? Thanks for your time*

backpacking
6 months ago

It is a beautiful hike with lots of breathtaking views. There is still quite a bit of snow which makes the trail a little hard to find but one can still find their way with the maps and gps. The rivers are at peak capacity since the snow has started to melt so crossing them (mainly 2, along with several small rivulets) can be a little hazardous. So if it has been a snowy winter then I would recommend waiting till May end or June end to do this hike.

Also there is no way to drive to the trailhead (or we were just lousy at finding the way) so we had to hike an additional > 5 miles to get to the trailhead but those additional miles don't come with a whole lot of elevation change so no big deal.

backpacking
8 months ago

Packed this hike, plus the extra loop out to Buck Lake into 3 days/2 nights. Bit off way more then was necessary. The hike is beautiful and a ton of fun, but plan extra days if you want to make it all the way to Buck. We did the north trail on the way out, and the south trail on the way back which ends up finishing with a brutal 1.5 mile trek straight up so beware. Fantastic hike overall though.

hiking
11 months ago

Emigrant is my favorite place to hike for all around scenery and terrain changes.
This loop is stunning at every turn. And the lakes...come on!! Wow!!
Starts out at the always busy Crabtree parking lot/trailhead. But, as is the norm, you get more than 1.5miles out, and it the herds thin drastically.
Not sure I’d qualify this as a “hard” trail. Three, maybe four good steep climbs. But nothing horrible. Just depends on your fitness level...and/or your pack weight.

backpacking
Monday, September 04, 2017

We were originally going to do the full loop with an end destination of Gem Lake. The ranger told us that she had written a ton of permits for Gem Lake and made a different suggestion. We look the loop trail and went right (south) at the fork. Our first night we camped at Grouse Lake. Insider tip: only 2 non-marshy access points on this lake so we suggest not camping near one of them unless you want a lot of foot traffic through your campsite.

Day 2, we hiked south towards chain lakes. There is no trail to get here so you have to forge your way over a pretty high ridge. But we traversed and got over it with ease. Chain lakes were beautiful. Only one is a swimming lake (the largest one). The other two are mostly marsh.

This was a fun, easy 3 day/2 night trip with shorter hikes. We had our little puppy so the 18 mile loop would have been too much for the little guy.

backpacking
Saturday, September 02, 2017

Follow the sign at camp lake carefully else you'll end up at bear lake like we did - but it was a gorgeous huge lake and a worthy detour.
Very well marked trail with plenty of water (carry a filter). Thunderstorms are unpredictable and we encountered one at Pieut lake.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Great hike. Lost my camera if you find it message me at jennmurphy@sbcglobal.net

backpacking
Monday, August 14, 2017

Strenuous but incredible terrain. Good opportunities to scramble throughout and excellent swimming holes along the return trail. Recommend staying at Gem Lake.

hiking
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Emigrant Wilderness is great, but at the moment (June 21st 2017) the road to Crabtree is closed at Aspen Meadows. Apparently due to fallen trees. Check the website or call the ranger stations to check ahead. I suppose one could hike in from Aspen Meadows to Crabtree. Overall, the trails are great, and nice to see what is basically upper upper Yosemite.

backpacking
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beautiful! trail Plenty of camping spot.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Went to Chewing gum lake from the Crabtree trailhead. Trail is maintained well. First few miles is a continuous ascent, then a gradual hike down. Lake is very beautiful with nice camp sites. Tried a little fishing with negative results. Spoke to several hikers who stated that fishing here is pretty much non existent as well as the upper lakes. Overall a nice trip, only wish that these lakes were stocked with fish.

backpacking
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wonderful trail, beautiful alpine. Camped Friday night at the trailhead, spent the next night at Gem Lake, and hiked back to the car on Sunday. Definitely stop at Camp Lake on the way out.

hiking
Monday, June 15, 2015

Lots of opportunities to camp off the main path which is great.

camping
Monday, June 28, 2010

GET OFF THE TRAIL!!!!! EMIGRANT IS EASY FOR EVEN A BEGINNER TO NAVIGATE, WIDE OPEN TREELESS GRAINTE ROCKS MOUNTAINS FOR THE MOST PART, WHERE THERES WATER THERE ARE USUALLY TREES BUT ITS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND HARLDY ANYONE GETS OFF THE BEATEN PATH, SO YOU WON'T SEE A SOUL FOR DAYS AT A TIME DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU GO...FIND YOUR WAY TO PINGREE LAKE, CUT ACROSS THE CHERRY CREEK VALLEY TO ROSOSCO LAKE AND FIND PINGREE FROM THERE---TAKE A BEARING THOUGH, ITS A LITTLE COUNTER-INTUITUVE RIGHT THERE..FROM PINGREE GO TO YELLOW HAMMER THE TROUT ARE PLEANTIFUL AND ALTHOUGH NOT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LAKE, IT HAS GREAT FISHING AND A LOVELY CAMPING SITE..YOU'LL FIND A INTERESTING SUPRISE THERE BUT I'M GOING TO TELL YOU YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK FOR YOURSELF: CLUE: FIND THE MEADOW...ALSO, A LITTLE HINT, EVERYONE GOES TO GEM AND JEWELERY LAKE BECASUE OF THE NAME BUT AND THE TRAIL ACCESS BUT IT SUCKS! HIKE A LITTLE FURTHER TO LONG LAKE, ITS NICE AND REMOTE BUT ONLY A SHORT 1 MI OFFTRAIL FROM THE MAIN, WHILE YOUR CAMPING OUT, HIKE UP THE HILL ON THE RIGHT FLANK OF THE LAKE TO THE UNNAMED "POND" AT THE TOP, YOU MAY CHOOSE TO CAMP THERE ONCE YOU SEE IT...IT OVERLOOKS BUCK LAKES AND A LOT MORE...THE VIEW IS WORTH THE HIKE ALONE...BUT THE POND IS ONE OF THE BEST SWIMMING HOLES I'VE EVER BEEN TO...DEEP, OVAL, BLUE..

hiking
1 month ago

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