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South Lake - Evolution Valley - North Lake Loop
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National Audubon Society Regional Guide to California
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Table Mountain Inyo 3 miles
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Bishop Park Group 6 miles
Big Pine Canyon 6 miles
Upper Sage Flat 6 miles

Trail Journals

South Lake - Evolution Valley - North Lake Loop


Pages:   Introduction   1   2   3   4
 
Day 5 - To the Entrance of Piute Canyon Map: Kings Canyon
Evolution Meadow
Evolution Meadow
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Goddard Canyon
Goddard Canyon
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Today's hike was another easy one. We started with a short descent into Evolution Valley. This place is a real work of art. I wish we had the time to spend an entire day resting here. The trail is pretty much flat from here all the way through the valley until just after you cross Evolution Creek. This stream is pretty wide so you won't be able to avoid getting your feet wet. Also, be warned that early in the season it can be a very challenging and even dangerous crossing.



Shortly after crossing Evolution Creek you get big views of Goddard Canyon and the trail descends into it. This trail is pretty rocky and rustic and it also does not have too much shade. If you are hiking up this trail you should try to get to it early.



Once at the bottom you will cross a large footbridge. There are plenty of campsites down here, but nothing very impressive. If it's not too late in the day and you aren't too tired I would recommend climbing into Evolution Valley or continuing on to Piute Canyon depending on which direction you are going. There really aren't any campsites inbetween.



You continue north along the left side of the San Joaquin River for a while. Then you cross the river at another bridge and continue. The river is rather impressive with a number of fallen trees that stretch across the bottom of the narrow canyon just above the river. Soon you pass Aspen Meadow where the USGS 7.5 minute maps says there is a campsite. Don't believe it. You could camp here but you might as well continue. Also, I did see Aspen here and a few tufts of grass, but nothing that I would call a neadow.



You can see Piute Canyon ahead and you cross another bridge immediately before the trail goes into the canyon.



There are lots of campsites where these two canyons meet. This is a nice place to camp and I would recommend it. The only downside is that it is very popular and when digging a hole to go to the bathroom you are likely to dig up other people's toilet paper. Other than that it's grand.

Day 6 - To Upper Golden Troute Lake Map: Piute Canyon
Piute Canyon
Piute Canyon
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Upper Golden Trout Lake
Upper Golden Trout Lake
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The trail into Piute Canyon begins immediately past the bridge. We would have missed it if it wasn't signed.



The hike through Piute Canyon was a pretty tough hike. It never gets too steep, but the climb is constant. The first part of the hike is pretty sunny which got warm even in the morning. Eventually the trail goes right along the river where there is more shade. This is a great spot to get water and take a break.



Not long after you enter a forrested area the trail remains fairly flat for a while. Soon it begins to climb again, but it remains in the forest for a while so it doesn't get too hot. The trail leaves the forest around Humphrey's Basin where it starts to level out.



Upper Golden Trout Lake has some very good campsites. They are nestled among the rocks above the north side of the lake so you have to sort of look for them. Also, there is no marked trail to either of the Golden Trout Lakes. However, there are a number of trails in the area that look like dirt roads that will get you there.

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