THIS YEAR Cliff, Kathy, Frances, and I explored the Lakes Basin area in Pulmas County very thoroughly. As it turned out, Frances and I hiked 17 lakes in four days! We hadn't planned such a zealous itinerary but the opportunity presented itself, and we responded to the challenge. Our original plan was to visit the Basin and select a few destinations, but this year all trails were open following a dry winter with minimal snows.
So here's the list: Day 1 (2.1 mi, 480' climb) - Grassy Lake & Tumbly Falls, Day 2 (7.5 mi, 2300' climb) - Gold Lake, Packer Lake & Deer Lake, Day 3 (9.8 mi, 3500' climb) - Grass Lake, Rock Lake, Jamison Lake & Wades Lake, Day 4 (8.1 mi, 2800' climb) - Big Bear Lake, Little Bear Lake, Cub Lake, Long Lake, Helgramite Lakes, Silver Lake, Round Lake, Veronica Lake & Lily Lake.
I'll blog more in future entries.
What makes the multi-lake visit possible is the small basin (located in the shadow of the Sierra Buttes) is filled with dozens of beautiful fishing lakes accessible by a well-defined network of hiking and horse trails. Gold Lake is the largest with a boat dock and stables, but there are many smaller lakes each with a special charm and setting. A few rustic lodges are in the area as well as primative forest campsites, so we make our reservations for a cabin at Gold Lake Lodge well in advance of the summer season.
We love their friendly staff and delicious meals.
The Basin was formed by glaciers and filled with remnants from the gold rush diggings, and dominated by Sierra Buttes, a series of jagged peaks reminiscent of the Swiss Alps, Mount Elwell, an ancient vlocano, and Eureka Peak to the north, where gold was first discovered.
It's a delightfully secluded playground we visit annually to enjoy the pristine sierra scene!