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#44371 - 09/25/15 02:45 PM Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
I am thinking about bringing a group up to hike and was wondering what reservable campground you'd recommend? We'll be getting in late on a Friday night, so I'm not sure I want to leave it up to walk-ins.


I have a loop I would like to do, with some cross country stuff. I will post it later to see what everyone thinks.
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#44374 - 09/25/15 06:22 PM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Try Upper Sage Flat campground, which can be reserved:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recreation/recarea/?recid=20310&actid=29

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#44388 - 09/28/15 02:21 PM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: Bob West]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks Bob.

For those that have been in the area, I have some questions. Here is a link to the route I've mapped out:
http://www.hikinggeek.com/2015/09/28/trip-planning-north-fork-of-big-pine-creek/#map


1. Whats a good spot to watch sunrise from? We plan to start early Saturday.

2. The route I have planned out has a short (1/2 mile) cross country section between Summit and Black Lake. Have any of you done this? Cross country is fine, but Im not interested in bushwhacking with this group.

3. Is there an alternative route youd recommend? What are your favorite spots to visit in this immediate area?

4. I have estimated that the 13 mile loop I mapped out would take us
less than 8 hours. Does this seem reasonable? The last hike this group did was 9 miles RT with 2600 feet of elevation gain and we finished in less than 4 hours.



Edited by 63ChevyII.com (09/28/15 02:23 PM)
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#44389 - 09/28/15 02:36 PM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Chevy,
I haven't been to the area past 4th Lake so I can't comment on that. I had a great time camping at 3rd Lake though and was treated to some nice fish that some backpackers gave to me and a friend after we climbed Temple Crag. I think they felt sorry for us because we looked so ragged and eating such crappy food while they were living in the Hilton by comparison. :-) The view of Temple Crag there as the sun lights up the celestial aretes in the morning and the alpenglow is awesome, but I'm sure you could catch the view at other locations as well.

I would have recommended you check out Sam Mack Meadows but looking at a recent trip repot from goldscott, it didn't look as good as when I went. It was lush and green with a raging waterfall coming down when I went years ago. We got there in the early morning just as the sun was rising. Mt. Sill and the other 14ers were getting lit up in a dark shade of red, just...AWESOME.

It is off trail, but the view past Sam Mack when you get to the toe of the glacier, looking at the Palisade Glacier and that cirque of peaks is also very cool. I don't think you can go wrong here.

EDIT: I haven't been to Sky Haven, but you might want to check out the possibility. The views look awesome and would certainly complement your photographic abilities. See link for pictures.

https://pantilat.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/sky-haven-cloudripper/

http://hikenhi.smugmug.com/Davids-Hiking-and/The-North-Palisade-Mount-Sill#!/


Edited by 2600fromatari (09/28/15 02:45 PM)

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#44395 - 09/28/15 08:31 PM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 2600fromatari]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks for the help! Someone else suggested Sam Mack also.

It appears that Glacial Trail is to the east of Sam Mack Meadows and Lake. Is there a use trail to get up there? I've added the route to my map (orange route).
http://www.hikinggeek.com/2015/09/28/trip-planning-north-fork-of-big-pine-creek/#map

Also getting to that view of the glacier. Is that directly south of the meadows and lake, or more to the east where the trail is shown?


Sky Haven looks nice. I am having some trouble finding info on the route. I would really like to give it a shot, but not sure if the group I am with would be up to it, or if we'd have time to take it on. We need to be off the trail around noon.
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#44396 - 09/28/15 09:56 PM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
There is a use trail after Sam Mack. I don't know what it's like right now, but you have to boulder hop across the stream to the left/east. The use trail should be very visible and gets more faint the higher you go. There should be cairns along the way once you get to the moraine field...there may be lots of cairns in different directions. Pick the easiest way for yourself and your party.

The glacier is directly south but you cannot see it from Sam Mack and you probably don't want to scramble up that way. Follow the trail until it disappears then follow the ridge that you see in the topo map where the trail terminates up. You may also access it going up the talus slope from Third Lake but I don't recommend that for your party from your original post.

EDIT: Don't forget to stop by Lon Chaney's cabin.

http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/gallery/residence-lon-chaney-sr-john-muir-wilderness-ca/


Edited by 2600fromatari (09/28/15 10:33 PM)

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#44397 - 09/28/15 11:21 PM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 2600fromatari]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks for the help!

I'm going to have to play it by ear and see how people are doing, but want to have some options while we are on the trail.

SO if I'm not mistaken, it looks like Big Pine Flat and Sage Flat campgrounds are closed for the season? Any other suggestions on where we should camp?
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#44398 - 09/29/15 08:02 AM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Yes, as we speak, the USFS is starting to close campgrounds in the White Mountain Ranger district, which includes Big Pine Creek. The "Brown's Town" campground in Bishop is still open.

You might consider sleeping near your vehicle the night before starting your hike, at the backpacker parking lot, which is down the road from the Glacier Lodge trailhead. If you decide to park over-night at the Glacier Lodge trailhead, expect to be cited for a parking violation.

Many backpackers leave their packs and passengers at the Glacier Lodge trailhead, have their driver (you?) take the vehicle back to the official backpacker parking area and walk back up the road to the Glacier Lodge trailhead (about one mile). This tactic eliminates the long, dusty hike, with heavy packs, from the parking lot.

The cross-country loop you mentioned is probably not such a good idea, since it involves some complicated route-finding.

The Black Lake trail starts just before 1st Lake. From Black lake, a good trail takes one down to the main trail, near 3rd Lake. From that point on the main trail it isn't far to the side trail into Sam Mack Meadow. There is ample camping near that trail junction.

Yes, there is a use trail from Sam Mack to the glacier, but gradually disappears after a while. Not to worry however, because at that point you will see the glacier (perhaps a good place to watch the sun-rise). There are no loop trails between Sam Mack and elsewhere; it's all difficult cross-country. If you go onto the glacier this time of year, you will need ice-axes and crampons.

From the main trail, you also have the option of continuing up to 5th, 6th, and 7th Lakes.


Edited by Bob West (09/29/15 08:05 AM)

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#44399 - 09/29/15 08:27 AM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: Bob West]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks Bob. Others have mentioned Baker Creek and Glacier View campgrounds - online those don't look that great, but if nothing else is available we may end up staying there.

Originally Posted By: Bob West

You might consider sleeping near your vehicle the night before starting your hike, at the backpacker parking lot, which is down the road from the Glacier Lodge trailhead. If you decide to park over-night at the Glacier Lodge trailhead, expect to be cited for a parking violation.

If I was on my own or just one other person, I'd just sleep in the back of my truck. With this group, I imagine we'll want to pitch a tent. Is that something we can do near the lot? Is this the backpacker parking lot?
GMap4


Is there day use parking at the Glacier Lodge TH?
Is this the TH?
GMap4


I've mapped out another route (orange) which is probably what we'll end up doing. If we get ambitious, we'll hike towards Sam Mack for a bit (pink).
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#44401 - 09/29/15 10:15 AM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
Is this the backpacker parking lot?
GMap4


Is there day use parking at the Glacier Lodge TH?
Is this the TH?
GMap4



That is the backpacker parking lot. All lot of people head up the dirt trail from there.

There are a few spots at the Glacier Lodge TH for day-use.

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#44402 - 09/29/15 10:23 AM Re: Campground & Route for North Fork of Big Pine Creek [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Yes, that's the parking lot. The pack station is located just West of the parking lot.

And yes, that's the day-use parking area (free to use) and the Glacier Lodge trailhead. There is a small store just along the side road from the day-use parking. The trailhead is located near the rest-rooms at the end of the main road. Don't try to reach the trail from the store area...it is a dead-end.

From the Glacier Lodge parking trailhead, the trail follows Big Pine Creek for a short distance, until several easy switch-backs. You will come to a trail junction - take the right fork (the left fork goes to the South Fork of Big Pine creek and the Middle Palisade area)and continue up until you reach the old road, then turn right toward the second bridge over the creek.

Then, just after the bridge, you have two options: 1)continue following the old road to the main trail, or 2) follow a "trail" sign to go directly up to the trail...turn left. I still prefer option 1; it's a little prettier and also takes you to the trail.

The trail eventually switch-backs up to the creek, which it follows for quite a way. Along the way, visit the beautiful, old Lon Chaney cabin, which is now used by the USFS.



Edited by Bob West (09/29/15 10:29 AM)

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