This hike is perfect for fishing enthusiasts looking for an extended trip into a high alpine wilderness area. The trail passes by no fewer than nine good fishing lakes, with short side trips leading to at least ten more. The route circles Brown Duck Mountain (11,866 ft.), passing through Brown Duck Basin, East Basin, and Squaw Basin, and features many fine views of the mountain’s rocky peaks and cold, clear lakes. Most of the lakes lie at elevations of around 10,400 feet. The highest point is at the top of Cleveland Pass where the trail climbs out of East Basin and drops down into Squaw Basin.
Cleveland Lake, frozen most of the year, lies near the top of the pass at an elevation of 11,172 feet. Brown Duck Mountain is a favorite destination for horseback riders, so if you are put off by piles of horse manure along the trail and in the meadows then this is not the best hike for you. The most popular location for campers with pack animals is East Basin (day 2), a lush, green area with gorgeous meadows and a half dozen small lakes. It is not unusual to see twenty or thirty horses and mules grazing in the meadows beside the East Basin lakes. Fortunately there are other off-trail places to camp in the basin that are just as pretty, but without the livestock.
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