Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake

San Francisco, California 94130

Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake

Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Professional Review and Guide

"This is a popular hike, since you’ll get two great lakes—the first right outside your car door and the second after a surprisingly easy trek into the rugged, 105,165-acre Mokelumne Wilderness Area. This wilderness area, designated by Congress in 1964, straddles the crest of the central Sierra Nevada within the Stanislaus, Eldorado, and Toiyabe national forests."

More Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Professional Reviews and Guides

"This is a popular hike, since you’ll get two great lakes—the first right outside your car door and the second after a surprisingly easy trek into the rugged, 105,165-acre Mokelumne Wilderness Area. This wilderness area, designated by Congress in 1964, straddles the crest of the central Sierra Nevada within the Stanislaus, Eldorado, and Toiyabe National Forests. Because of increased outdoor activity near Carson Summit, officials with the Eldorado National Forest have had to place restrictions on an area known as the Carson Summit Management Area, which encompasses your destination, Emigrant Lake. As of this writing, people cannot camp within 300 feet of the lake so that the shoreline can heal. Also, campfires are not permitted. However, dogs are still allowed, and this is too scenic a trip to let rules that are good for the forest wreck your plans. Consider making this a day hike, instead of an overnighter."

"Rarely do two lakes on one snowshoe journey vary so much. Hat-shaped Caples Lake, which you stroll the shores of for more than 2 miles, is huge, often populated with cross-country skiers, and often partly to mostly melted during snowshoe season. Slug-shaped Emigrant Lake, your ultimate destination, is about 0.3 mile long, partially encased by granite walls, extremely remote, and heavily covered in snow even late in the season. It’s a lengthy and leisurely shaded ramble along the southern shore of shapely Caples Lake, then trace willow-lined Emigrant Creek past snowy meadows to glacier-formed Emigrant Lake. Tall Mokelumne Wilderness peaks tower above this deep and secluded lake. Fishermen sometimes try ice fishing in both lakes."

Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Reviews

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8/23/2018
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Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Photos

Trail Information

San Francisco
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
9
Distance
950 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
5 hours or overnight
Duration
Mid-July through late October; snowshoe in winter
Season
Eldorado National Forest, Amador Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Caples Lake
Local Maps