Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Twin Lakes in the Crystal Range of the Sierra Nevada

The Eldorado National Forest in the Sierra Nevada southwest of Lake Tahoe in California is an area of small and not so small lakes, hidden in forests or openly placed in granite bowls. This “forest” includes the Desolation Wilderness, a part of the High Sierra with boulders, rocks, and walls; yet featuring various wildflowers and here and there a tall tree. The best time to see the colorful display of wildflowers such as blue lupines or white and red heather is late spring and early summer, when the meltwater is rushing downhill and builds its own streams, not to be found on any map. On July 2, this year, the Twin Lakes Trail still served in parts as a path for running water.
The Twin Lakes hike—on trail sections with up to forty percent grade—is a scenic experience. The eastward view at the lake goes across the lake, small rock islands to a waterfall and patches of snow in the Crystal Range.

Getting to the Twin Lakes Trailhead
From Highway 50 between Strawberry and Freds Place take Wright Lake Road (Highway 4). Drive uphill to the Chimney Flat area. Cross Lyons Creek and South Fork Silver Creek. Continue on Wright Lake Road all the way to the Visitor Center at Wright Lake. Turn right, drive slowly through the camp ground and find the parking lot at the end of the road. This point is close to the eastern end of Wrights Lake and provides trail access to Maud Lake, Gertrude Lake, Tyler Lake, Twin Lakes, Island Lake, Grouse Lake, Smith Lake and Hemlock Lake as well as other lakes, ponds, wetlands (in spring) and waterfalls.

[1] Eldorado National Forest, Recreational Activities: Hiking, Biking, and Horses. Wrights Lake Area.
[2] Desolation Wilderness at summitpost.org.
[3] Adam Paul: Nature & Travel Photography and Narratives. Hiking from Wright's Lake to Twin Lake (Desolation Wilderness, California).

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