Once you get to the beginning of the trail, the hike is a nice little workout until you reach the final location of Golden Trout Lakes. The Cottonwood Lakes and Golden Trout Wilderness in the Eastern Sierras are one of those places that helped to grow my love for adventure travel in California. The trip begins on a mostly sandy trail leading you North into the Golden trout Wilderness. Shortly after sunrise, we reveled in this incredible view of quaking aspens from Conway Summit. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Once the Cook Lake fishery was established, it served as the brood stock for Wyoming, providing eggs for Wyoming and other Rocky Mountain states from 1936 through 1954. Golden Trout Creek: Starts at the headwaters of Big Whitney Meadow and Rocky Basin Lakes. The fish I saw--all Golden Trout--were only briefly emerging from the depths to take a few food items from the shallows before their route took them back down out of sight. The first time I experienced the awesome grandeur of California’s Eastern Sierra was in 1975, when, as a rookie Fish and Game warden, I drove there on assignment to work the Crowley Lake trout-season opener. Golden trout lakes is a 5-mile rout trip hike with the opportunity to fish for Golden Trout. Notice the famous Alabama Hills in the background. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until July. Download area map for trail names. After spending the night in Bishop, Kathy and I drove north on Highway 395 before dawn, in hopes of capturing  the trees at Conway Summit in the early morning sunlight. Shutterbugs have been photographing the Eastern Sierra since Brownie cameras were popular, but the so-called leaf peepers have taken this activity to the next level. Looming In the background were the famous Alabama Hills, where 150 movies and at least a dozen TV shows had been filmed over the decades. Golden Trout Lake from Mapcarta, the free map. The steep switchback road to Horseshoe Meadow offered spectacular views of Owens Valley. Sitting quietly and listening to the gentle babble of water tumbling over the rocks, we spotted several fingerling trout darting in and out of the shadows. Golden Trout Lake from Mapcarta, the free map. From my experience and what I thought was that Golden Trout were usually in lakes in the sierras over an elevation of 10,000 feet. At a Glance. The creek has about 14 miles of fishable water from just below Rocky Basin Lakes at 10,500 feet to above Volcano Falls next to the Kern River at 7,500. The distance to the lakes is approximately 2.2 miles, and the elevation gain is approximately 2,200 feet. Save Add Review Get Directions Add Photo. According to Jeff Simpson of Mono County Tourism, the following sites currently have the best fall color:  Rock Creek, McGee Creek, Sagehen Summit, and Lobdell Lake. The opening of trout season in the Eastern Sierra remains popular, but as some of the veteran game wardens will tell you, it doesn’t draw the crowds it did back in the sixties and seventies. Fearing that the unsuspecting reptile would be flattened by a passing car, I nudged it toward some high grass at the side of the road. Whatever the season,  the Eastern Sierra always offers an eyepopping display of color and natural beauty. Cottonwood Pass This 7-mile round trip trail ascends 1,200 feet to an 11,200-foot pass and a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, with access to Golden Trout Wilderness and Sequoia National Park. Gateway to the Cottonwood Lakes and Golden Trout Wilderness. The view from Lubken Canyon Road. The distance to the lakes is approximately 2.2 miles, and the elevation gain is approximately 2,200 feet. Much to our delight,  grove after grove of quaking aspens were decked out in their most brilliant fall colors. This is the thanks I get for saving your life? The Golden Trout lakes offer a scenic getaway just out of the Gallatin Valley Canyon. Starting from Onion Valley, Golden Trout Lakes Trail ends at Golden Trout Lakes, in the John Muir Wilderness. Added by Derek Tice. Saving this moisture-dependent species for future generations to enjoy may depend on our making dramatic cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions. Lower Golden Trout Lake is situated northwest of Wahoo Lakes. The dirt road follows Portal Creek. Golden trout eggs from California were first brought to Cook Lake (Sublette County) in 1920 by U.S. Forest Service personnel. Over the years I’ve visited again and again, sometimes in the spring, sometimes in the summer, and sometimes in the fall. I often find late August and early September to be the best times for camping, because the temperatures are better and the fishing is the best. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/montana/golden-trout-lakes Elevation change: 1200 feet, Old Cottonwood Creek Trail to South Fork Lakes, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area, Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. www.NevadaFishReports.com © 2021. (For now!) When that happens, they make them available to other western states including Idaho. “You can probably make it in two hours,” said the gentleman and his wife, both equipped with backpacks and sleeping bags. Starting from Onion Valley, Golden Trout Lakes Trail ends at Golden Trout Lakes, in the John Muir Wilderness. This fall, Kathy and I returned with a limited amount of time, so we decided to spend one day checking out the Golden Trout Wilderness west of Lone Pine and the next morning photographing the annual aspen display near Conway Summit. Seeing that it was already three o’clock and we were equipped with nothing but a camera and two containers of water, Kathy and I decided to head back to the car and come prepared to spend a night or two the next time. We stock Golden Trout in select high mountain lakes as the fish become available. Sitting quietly and listening to the gentle babble of water tumbling over rocks, we spotted several fingerling trout. The view of the Owens Valley from Horseshoe Meadows Road. I stopped to take a few photographs and noticed a three-foot gopher snake sunning itself on the warm asphalt ahead. Cottonwood Lakes Loop starts from Horseshoe Meadow and travels from the Golden Trout Wilderness into John Muir Wilderness. This trail is steep, rugged and difficult to follow. This is a favored place for backpackers to bed down, and for good reason. As we climbed higher and  higher, eventually rising to 10,000 feet, I commented that we hadn’t seen a single car on the way up and maybe we would have the whole mountain to ourselves. Common Destinations: Golden Trout Lakes. Jul 2, 2013 - Beautiful pictures of the golden trout in the high country were fly fishing is good!. Unlike Lower Lake where the Cutthroat were rising constantly, I only saw one of these Goldens every 20-30 minutes. After a mile there is reliable water in the form of a creek. Discover places to visit and explore on Bing Maps, like Golden Trout Lake Idaho. Golden Trout Lake is a lake in Idaho and has an elevation of 8153 feet. Golden Trout Campground is not operated by Hipcamp and can only be booked externally. All Rights Reserved. It is 303,511 acres (1,228.3 km 2) in size and was created by the US Congress in 1978 as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. At a Glance. Shimmering beneath Sylvan Lake lies the prize most anglers and hikers seek- the California Golden Trout. This piece originally appeared in my October 26, 2018, “On Patrol” column in My Outdoor Buddy and Nor Cal Fish Reports. Discover places to visit and explore on Bing Maps, like Golden Trout Lake California. Admirers of  quaking aspens  flock to the Eastern Sierra by the thousands for a few weeks every fall, in hopes of witnessing one of nature’s most spectacular events in all its glory. Every fall, aspens put on a magnificent display in California’s Eastern Sierra. There are also campspots with fire pits if you want to make it an overnight. After trudging up the trail for two hours, we met a couple headed in the opposite direction. To get to Golden Trout Lakes, head north out of Big Sky on highway 191 for 5.1 miles. Populus tremuloides has been referred to as the canary in the coal mine when it comes to analyzing the effects of climate change (increasing hot, dry weather) on our Western forests. HORSESHOE MEADOW – This trailhead area is also referred to as the Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead Several trails embark from the Horseshoe Meadow area including those going northwest to Cottonwood Lakes and New Army and Old Army Passes, those … I captured this close-up view of quaking aspens from Virginia Lakes Road, west of Conway Summit. Stay right at the first fork. Badges, Bears, and Eagles—The True-Life Adventures of a California Fish and Game Warden. Since Kathy and I had gotten a late start, our plan was to hike the trail to the first lake we encountered, take a few photographs, and return to the trailhead before dark. The scene reminded me of an artist’s color wheel—pale green,  yellow, gold, orange, and  several shades of red. Fall-Color Update: As of October 2, 2019, Chuck Kilpatrick of the Bishop Visitors Bureau reports that the bulk of the fall color is in Bishop Creek Canyon at elevations of 8,000-10,000 feet; it has not yet made it down to the 4,000-foot level. Turn east at the Portal Creek turnoff – FS Road 984. Four buddies hiked to Cave Lake, MT in hope of catching Golden Trout. Originally the golden trout was described as a subspecies of the salmon species, with a name Salmo mykiss agua-bonita, and it is still often considered a subspecies (now called Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita) along with several other rainbow trout subspecies commonly known as redband trout. Fantastic tenkara fishing. Hipcamp is working closely with the government to allow bookings here asap. California Dept. This trail is steep, rugged and difficult to follow. Photos; Directions; Print/PDF Map; Share; More; Muir Lake from the old Cottonwood Trailhead is a 13.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Caught fish, saw lots of wildlife, and had a good time; with some CRAZY surprises. “How much farther to the first lake?” I asked. Tom's Place is 30 miles north of Bishop, 9 miles south of the Mammoth Lakes turnoff, or 34 miles south of Lee Vining. The Golden Trout Creek volcanic field consists of a group of Quaternary basaltic cinder cones and lava flows in the Toowa valley of the Sierra Nevada about 25 km (15.5 mi) south of Mount Whitney, California. The Eastern Sierras themselves are full of adventures to be had, with some only 30 minutes off the main Highway 395. Turn southeast (left) at Crowley Lake Drive at a 4-way stop sign. A host of trails and off-trail targets make this a prime base camp. Other than humans, this golden-mantled ground squirrel was the only mammal we saw at 10,000 feet. Boy, was I wrong! of Game and Fish, every few years, have Golden Trout eggs that are excess to their needs. The Mono County Tourism fall-color report is updated every Wednesday. Saving this moisture-dependent species, and so many others, may require significant cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions. That spring, the majestic mountains to the west were covered with snow, and the entire scene, from Mount Whitney to Mammoth Lakes, looked like something you’d see on a Christmas card. They say no good deed goes unpunished; before slithering into the weeds, my scaly new friend showed his gratitude by wheeling around and hissing at me. Golden Trout Lake is a water feature in Inyo County and has an elevation of 11,401 feet. Rough roads to the Golden Trout Lakes It was difficult driving up the road to get to the beginning of the trail, so I recommend a vehicle that can handle the rough road; preferably a truck or AWD. The parking lot at Horseshoe Meadow was full, and a dozen excited backpackers, many of them speaking foreign languages, were readying their gear for the ascent into the Golden Trout Wilderness. Download area map for trail names. Meanwhile, campers will be just feet away from a mile-long trout stream bragging “trophy size” golden, brown and rainbow trout – 10 to 12 pounds -- and maybe even salmon. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was April, instead of the end of September,” I said to Kathy, as we approached a farm field  blanketed with wild sunflowers. Enter your email below to be notified when we get access. See more ideas about trout, fly fishing, fish. Golden Trout Lake Loop is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Independence, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Lower Soldier Lake lies at 10,800 feet on the eastern edge of Sequoia National Park. The trip begins on a mostly sandy trail leading you North into the Golden trout Wilderness. The Eastern Sierra economy must increasingly rely on other activities to help fill motels and sustain local businesses throughout the year: skiing and snow sports, hunting, hiking, mountain climbing, backpacking, cycling, and nature photography. Leave Hwy 395 on McGee Creek Road about 6.5 miles north of Tom's Place (Rock Creek). The motel clerk in Lone Pine directed us to Lubken Canyon Road, a scenic one-lane path through miles of green meadows and awe-inspiring rock formations, leading to Horseshoe Meadows Road and our eventual first-day destination. Lower Golden Trout Lake is a water feature in Fresno County and has an elevation of 10,791 feet. The wik says “The golden trout is commonly found at elevations from 6,890 feet (2,100 m) to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level”. I’d like to think it’s worth it. Taxonomy. I spent a couple of hours catching trout-after-trout at this unnamed lake, which I’m calling 10594 by the elevation I mapped it at. Could they be goldens? Along the way, we stopped to rest on the banks of  a gorgeous little stream called South Fork Cottonwood Creek. Isn’t it worth it? Almost too easy. Could these be some of the legendary golden trout that the wilderness area was named for? Get directions, find nearby businesses and places, and much more. The stocking of eggs continued through 1925 with additional stockings in 1929 and 1932. First stocked in 1938, the golden trout at Sylvan Lake are well known in Montana for their genetic purity. Directions: The trailhead to Hilton lakes can be accessed from two locations. Since Kathy and I had gotten a late start, our plan was to hike the trail to the first lake we encountered, take a few photographs, and return to the trailhead before dark. Cottonwood Lakes Loop starts from Horseshoe Meadow and travels from the Golden Trout Wilderness into John Muir Wilderness. Trails lead into the Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo National Forest portion from Hwy 395 via Horseshoe Mdw., Sage Flat, and Haiwee Pass. Lubken Canyon Road turned out to be everything the motel clerk said it would be. The Golden Trout Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada, in Tulare County and Inyo County, California.It is located 40 miles (64 km) east of Porterville, California within Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Forest.. › Golden Trout Wilderness ... Golden Trout Wilderness. Most of the fish were golden trout, which are not native. The parking lot at Horseshoe Meadow was full, and a dozen excited backpackers, many of them speaking foreign languages, were readying their gear for the ascent into the Golden Trout Wilderness. The blooming wild sunflowers that decorated Lubken Canyon Road made me think it was April, rather than late September. We hadn’t driven a mile when Kathy and I began oohing and aahing at vast meadows of green grass, willows, and cottonwoods, adorned with massive rock outcroppings. That has not been my experience or what I understood about the Golden Trout. The lakes, meanwhile, have been stocked with walleye, pike, muskie, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and other native species. Please check their website for updates. About 8 miles from the trailhead over Cottonwood Pass. After a mile there is reliable water in the form of a creek. Pass over the log bridge or rock hop, and proceed on the flat trail skirting a meadow that holds Cottonwood Creek. 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