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Gem Lake via Rush Creek Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near June Lake, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 6.6 mi Elevation gain 2,080 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Fishing

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Snow

Description
Waypoints (1)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (97)
Photos (306)
Recordings (80)
Completed (237)
Nick Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
Backpacking

This trail is definitely a climb but keeping good pace and breathing well make it very doable. The path is completely exposed so there is very little, if any shade. The views are pretty spectacular! The cable car tracks are kinda neat to look at as you go up. Would recommend to a friend.

Ron Fliege
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

My wife and I originally planned to hike to lake Agnew which is on the way to Gem lake. We were very happy that we decided to hike the extra mile or so to Gem. It’s a different world when you get up there. Definitely worth the extra hiking. It is basically up hill the whole way. We are in our mid 50s and in pretty good shape and the hike was fine. Not much shade so leave early and wear a hat.

Jennifer B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun May 17 2020
Hiking

Such a beautiful hike!!

Jessica Wei
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 09 2020
Hiking

Beautiful waterfalls, great workout! Gem lake is a gem! A couple minor snow crossings but nothing major

KRIS D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Sep 25 2019
HikingNo shadeRocky

There are better hikes nearby. This one is rocky. The first lake, Agnew, is industrial with SCE dam and equipment all over. Yuck. Gem lake is pretty. You can’t access the shore easily. If you think you’re going to continue the hike along the waters edge, not going to happen. After you reach gem the trail cuts inland a bit and you loose the view of the lake from the trail until about half way around where you can rock scramble to get the view back. Good trail for a work out but not a good bang for your buck trail. As others have said there is no shade.

KristinMike B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Sep 20 2019
HikingBugsNo shade

Beautiful lake however the yellow jackets at Gem were bothering our dog a lot, and I would agree with other posts, there is not a lot of shade. The way in is tough- all uphill the whole way.

Sasha Smirensky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Sep 19 2019
Hiking

Camped up by Gem lake last weekend with perfect weather and little to no mosquitos. I saw many people on the trail hiking up but not many who were staying around to lake so it was nice and peaceful. There’s several nice developed campsites around the lake, with a few that are closer to the water for easy cooking/drinking/swimming access. Would recommend staying here for a night if you’re pushing on to a further lake, but might not be worth it as your final destination.

Carson Pope
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 13 2019
Hiking

A+

James Kao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Sep 11 2019
HikingNo shadeRocky

I decided to hike this trail yesterday as I was looking for a real challenge. Not that this hike was the hardest that I’ve done lately, but this was the first time in this country where I hiked over serious elevation carrying my inflatable standup paddle board and gear to reach an inaccessible-by-road lake where I launched my board and circumnavigated the lake and returned to my start point in one day. With a pack weighing over fifty pounds, it was difficult and slow negotiating the rocky inclines, switchbacks and steps. The trail also was mostly exposed so there was no shade for most of it except for a few scattered trees. It was an interesting hike too with two crossings of a mining cart track and beautiful views of Agnew Lake and then Gem Lake. I’m not sure how this app recorded my hike as I left it on while I was paddling on the water. I’m not sure if anybody else has attempted bringing an inflatable SUP here to this lake before.

View James's Recording
Richard Knowland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Aug 30 2019
Hiking

Leave early as it gets hot! Otherwise a beautiful Sierra spot with lots of water and other hikes to take once at gem. Good camping spot but I just do the RT I think this is a tough hike but I take it easy. Fishing for catch and release brookies is awesome this year. Not so much last year.

Darrin S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Aug 27 2019
Backpacking

Hiked in on Tuesday 8/27/19, the weekend before Labor Day. Even on a Tuesday it was busy on the trail. We came across a dozen hikers and a pack train along our trip to Agnew. Trail is completely exposed all the way past Agnew Lake. Recommend to start before 7am to avoid the heat. 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. Seems like they should be required to do something about that. The hike is tough and Agnew lake is nothing special but Gem Lake and the lakes beyond are worth the hike. After you crest the top above Agnew Lake, most of the hard work is done as the elevation gain ends here. There are a few camp spots to choose from as you hike along Gem Lake. We stayed at the North end of the lake. There are additional spots to camp that are not marked on the Alltrails map after you continue along the trail past the North end of the lake. The sun hits the lake early and the water is exposed quickly. There are fish to be caught but they mostly feed early and trying to hike along the shore of this large lake can take all day. It's a tough lake to fish

jeff buckingham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jun 26 2019
Hiking

Waterfall is epic. Exposed trail but today was cool weather so no problem. Gem Lake basin is beautiful and high altitude.

Jason Musnug
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 09 2019
BackpackingSnow

Just left. Made it all the way to Gem. Got there Friday. There are patches of snow on the trail. We didn't need spikes or snow shoes, but you will want your poles due to the snow crossings.Got up to 70 during the day and 30's at night. Gem is still frozen in spots and it is low. There is a patch of snow that's sketchy if dont what to cross that you can go up the trolley track and get back on the trail. Its Beautiful up there.

Marcus Vidaurri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri May 31 2019
Hiking

Made it up to the falls then had to turn back. Even with waterproof boots the water is just moving too fast to cross safely. Proceed if you’re a good jumper (I am) but I can’t promise anything after that. Have to cross a couple of large snow patches before that, too. It’s great until you have to turn back prematurely.

View Marcus's Recording
John Mussotto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Oct 28 2018
Hiking

Did this May 15th, 2018. Be in shape for this hike because it is all up hill. That said it is very worth the climb because you get to see so much more then you expected. The old tracks they used to haul up equipment are still in use it looks like. Then the two lakes you come across are just beautiful.

L Phillips
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Oct 16 2018
Backpacking

Love this hike, it never gets old! We’ve hiked it a total of four times for a day hike, camping and on our way to thousand island. The trail is pretty steep up until you get to Agnew lake, but after that it’s not bad at all. My youngest son had just turned 5 the first time he went and didn’t complain once! Views are amazing. I suggest starting out early in the morning since there is not very much shade. There’s a nice cold stream as you make your way around Gem lake which is perfect to fill up your water bottle with if you’re camping there or if you just need it for the hike back down.

Lizz N.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Oct 05 2018
Hiking

Amazing hike. The start of the trail at the campground is not well marked. Walk towards the fence line and there is a sign. Once past the campground you get great views of Silver Lake and as you climb you see the falls and the cable car tracks straight up. Agnew Lake is small. Gem Lake is beautiful and worth the extra distance. While eating lunch an afternoon storm moved in and the temperature dropped dramatically in a matter of minutes. We watched it snow at the far side of the lake as we put on our jackets and rain gear before heading back down the trail. We got to the car just as the rain started pouring down. Great fall colors in the Aspen trees.

Marigold I
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Sep 05 2018
Hiking

The initial climb overlooking Silver Lake to your left was very beautiful and rewarding. After some switchback, you'll get to Agnew Lake (2 mile), keep going another 0.9 mile and you'll reach Gem Lake (2.9 mile). Gem Lake was definitely more impressive than Agnew Lake, but I would suggest further continue to the west end of Gem Lake, which is even more picturesque and has an access to the serene beach (4.4 mile). It was a perfect lunch spot for us, and my husband enjoyed a dip and swim in this beautiful cold water before lunch. No single soul around us. Great thing is that from this corner of the lake, the man-made structure was out of site (both Agnew Lake and Gem Lake are reservoirs supplying water to LA). We started the trail head at 10:30, reached Gem Lake at 12:30, then the western end at 1:00, ate lunch and relaxed for an hour at the lake and headed back down at 2:00 pm, returned to the trail head at a little after 4 pm. A beautiful rewarding day hike. Highly recommend.

Germaine N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 20 2018
Nature trips

Great hike. Not too hard for my 2 - 12 year old companions. Most of the trail was slag. The views around every corner was great. You pass a very ugly Agnew Lake. Keep going all the way to Gem Lake. It is worth the extra hiking

Kali Groover
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed May 09 2018
Hiking

This trail leads up by Horsetail Falls which was an awesome sight to see! It crosses a smaller waterfall/stream so waterproof shoes would come in handy. The last ascent to Gem Lake is very steep with lots of loose rocks. It's kind of a gnarly hike to be rated moderate but I loved it! The views are amazing! Also, bring a hat as there is no shade!

George Adams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 22 2017
Hiking

This trail presented a tough climb up & a difficult stream crossing due to the snow melt. The views at the top of Gem lake & Agnew lake were well worth the effort. Crowds thinned out once you crossed the falls. Start of trail was a bit confusing from the campground, but you can continue on the road for about 5oo yards to reconnect to the trail head as the signs at the campground said the trail was closed due to flooding.

Jacob Basa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 27 2017

Meh

Lori McKinley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Aug 08 2017
Hiking

Love this trail...always a lovely hike, but lots of work being done on Agnew which ruined my photo shoots!

Sandy Wright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 23 2017

Nice hike if you're in the area. Unfortunately the smoke from the Detwiler fire was abundant even in the June Lake area. Be aware that there are only a handful of shade areas on the trail. Definitely worth pushing on past Agnew Lake. The waterfall from Rush Creek was on overload when we hiked last week.

Stacy Sipple
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 27 2017

Holy cow!! We did this baby yesterday. We started around 5pm, got back down right as darkness hit. I think doing it in the evening made it more magical. The lighting was perfect for taking photos. There wasn't any snow on the tail which was a contrast from all the other trails we've been doing in the area. The waterfall made the hike! It was gushing!!! Took my breath away as we moved closer and closer to it. We only saw a handful of people on the trail. I felt like it was a hidden treasure. Agnew Lake was spectacular, especially once the sun went behind the trees. We wanted to stay for sunset at gem lake so that we could get amazing photos. However it was a bit chilly, and the wind was crazy- so we opted out and spent more time at Agnew.

Robert Paul
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 26 2017
Hiking

Much more removed than Agnew, bald eagles flying by and a beautiful lake to be had. Geologically the rock formations had a lot of interesting things to see as well.

Alexandera Painter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking
View Alexandera's Recording
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