Backpacker Magazine San Francisco: Bear Lake/Emigrant Wilderness 

Wildflower pockets and piles of granite boulders punctuate this mellow 7.4-mile route to two alpine lakes with primo campsites.

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Author: Backpacker Magazine
Date: 7 Jun 2006 9:27:38 PM
Activity: Hiking
State: California (CA)
Distance: 3.67 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 862 ft
Total Loss: 339 ft
Net Change: 523 ft
Difficulty: 5 / 10
Tags: California, Hiking, Pinecrest, San Francisco
Rating:   1 rating(s) Rate it

Mapped by David Miller, Bay Area Outdoors

TO TRAILHEAD: From Sonora, go 30 mi. E on CA 108 to Summit Ranger Sta. in Pinecrest. Get permit; backtrack S on CA 108 to Crabtree Rd. (FR 4N26). Turn L; go 5 mi., then L (staying on FR 4N26) @ Aspen Pack Sta. In 3 mi., turn R to Crabtree trailhead.

Position Format: Datum:


Distance: 3.67 mi Points: 114
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Camp Lake Track

Points of Interest

Azure Glow

Location: 38.165596, -119.879021
Shimmering in the Sierra sun, Camp Lake beckons for a swim. ©Dave Miller

Morning over Bear Lake

Location: 38.175243, -119.866631
A calm morning over Bear Lake. ©Dave Miller

Bear Lake Panorama

Location: 38.173756, -119.866684
©Dave Miller

Pine Valley

Location: 38.164326, -119.882492
The view of the eastern edge of Pine Valley from near Bear Lake. Great scrambling opportunities everywhere. ©Dave Miller

East End of Bear Lake

Location: 38.165966, -119.877800
©Dave Miller

Bear Lake

Location: 38.166100, -119.877480
©Dave Miller

Sunset Over Bear Lake

Location: 38.173435, -119.866409
©Dave Miller

Morning Over Bear Lake

Location: 38.174072, -119.867004
©Dave Miller


Location: 38.178589, -119.906899
Head N from Crabtree trailhead (7,180 ft.) toward Bell Creek bridge to begin southward climb


Location: 38.176479, -119.906303
Cross Emigrant Wilderness boundary, then traverse ridgeline of tall red firs and cedars


Location: 38.168369, -119.905899
Begin 300-foot ascent into narrowing gully


Location: 38.165249, -119.900703
Straight @ trail marker for Camp and Bear Lakes, bearing E


Location: 38.164452, -119.891502
Stroll through a serene glade of quaking aspens


Location: 38.165249, -119.882500
Fuel up @ Camp Lake (7,590 ft) in a shallow basin with pine-laced granite terraces


Location: 38.165009, -119.879303
Don't miss: Concealed outcrop with sweeping vistas of Pine Valley's sloping white marble crags and forest that's regenerating from the 2003 Mountain Fire


Location: 38.166161, -119.877899
Continue N @ trail marker for Bear Lake across fields of yellow and "wandering" daisies, big blue lupines


Location: 38.172989, -119.872803
Note large, stacked boulder formations on L


Location: 38.174400, -119.866898
Bear Lake (8,100 ft.): Alpine gem locked in by lodgepoles and boulders near headwaters of Lily Creek; set up camp on NE side


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