Rock creek canyon is one of my favorite places to camp for a couple nights along the Highway 395 corridor. A few beautiful hikes from the Mosquito flats trailhead. You can go into Little lakes valley. Most popular of the hikes. Or you can go up to Ruby lake and on to Mono pass. You can also climb up to Dorothy lake . I think there are a couple other hikes as well that I have not yet done. There are quite a few campgrounds on this 10 mile road. I prefer the Lower pines campground. It is close to Rock creek lake and close to the trailhead. There is also Rock creek lake resort that has some cabins for rent and a small shop and restaurant. Many people go there for the home made pie !
Rock Creek is located on the west side of Highway 395 at Rock Creek Road. This 20-mile valley is easy to find between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop, California, at a turnoff from Highway 395 at the exit for Tom’s Place. Once you begin the ascent along the 10-mile paved road into gorgeous creekside terrain, the options for summer and winter outdoor recreation unfold before you. Rock Creek Canyon is famous for Little Lakes Basin, where a string of high-elevation lakes are linked by leisurely hiking trails surrounded by 13,000 foot peaks.
Park at the road’s end to see the best of Rock Creek on foot. Expect blazing colors in fall – some of the brightest anywhere in the Eastern Sierra – as well as wildflowers in spring and sparkling lakes in summer. Dogs are ok on a leash. Little Lakes Trail: Also known as Mosquito Flats trail, the Little Lakes Trail is a beautiful and popular hike at the top of upper Rock Creek Canyon, accessed by the main signed trail leading from the parking lot at the road’s end. With the potential to hike to Mono Pass, four miles and 2,000 feet up, many hikers simply stop to take in the views after reaching one of the lakes along the way: Mack Lake, Marsh Lake, Heart Lake, Box Lake, Long Lake, Gem Lake and Chickenfoot Lake. The trail offers dramatic views of surrounding Sierra peaks, excellent wildflowers in spring and early summer, and vibrant fall colors. Popular with fishermen and day hikers.
This time when I went to Rock creek canyon there was still quite a bit of snow about 3 miles in on the trail. I did not make the hike all the way to beautiful gem lake because I was not really into hiking thru this snow. There is someone ahead of me on the trail with ski’s on. This was early June . Of course we did get some snow in May so it was taking awhile to melt out.
Here are some photos of gem Lake another time when there was no snow. Gem lake is a beautiful turquoise and green color.
Mono lake doesn’t look like much when you drive by although it is very pretty , especially at certain times of the day as the colors can change on the lake. It is in a high desert setting just behind the Sierra mountains. In fact Highway 120 connects from mono lake and goes up and over the sierras to Yosemite.
From Wikipedia: Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. The lake sits at an elevation of 6,378.
I think to get the full beauty of it you need to stop off and take a walk at either south Tufa state park or Mono lake park to see the tufas. Sunrise or sunset are incredible times to make that stop. The town of Lee Vining is there if you want to stay the night in a hotel. Or several campgrounds up highway 120 which connects at mono lake.
Tufa state park is like walking on the moon. Very amazing formations.
Another interesting spot on the lake is the Black fissures. A little hard to find but well worth checking out. Ask at the visitor center how to get there.
Photographers line up nightly to get that perfect sunset photo at the Tufas.
In between house sitting I recently went on a 7 day camping and hiking trip in the Eastern sierras. I have visited this area many times and one of my favorite campgrounds is Aspen . It is located on highway 120 a few miles up from Lee Vining as you go towards Yosemite. Aspen is quiet and peaceful although it has a creek running through with some cascading waterfalls at the top of the campground. The waterfalls can be quite loud!! I actually dreamed of cars crashing one night from the sound of the falls. Here are a couple photos of the campground and the falls.
Fairly nice campground although it does only have pit toilets. It is $12 per night and $6 with the Senior pass.
Normally , in the past I have had my dog Jasper with me but he passed a couple years ago so this time I went into Yosemite a couple of times to hike . No dogs allowed on trails there. I entered from Tuolumne Meadows entrance and nothing was open yet as far as the lodge or campground so it was a nice tine to do some hiking there with no crowds.
My first day was a doozer of a hike as in 10 to 12 miles round trip. Not a lot of elevation gain but a lot of distance. The trail was from Tuolumne meadows to Glen Aulin and beyond .
Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp is an established campground—one of six High Sierra Camps—located in Glen Aulin next to the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park in California, in the Sierra Nevada.
I went just short of the actual camp but far enough to see the series of cascading waterfalls that are just above the camp. Amazing hike. Very beautiful the whole way, Relatively flat and easy. Some uphill but elevation gains of only about 800 ft. for this hike. You have to hike in about 4.5 miles or so to get to where the waterfalls start.
Here are photos along the trail and then leading up to the falls. Right after the bridge , keep going to reach the falls . Just Beautiful !!! And the views are amazing as well. This first group of photos is along the first couple miles of trail as you meander along the Tuolumne river. So peaceful and pretty.
You come to a bridge about 4 miles or more in. Don’t stop here because it is downhill another 1/2 mile or more to the series of waterfalls that are not to be missed !!
The Waterfalls !!! I would rate this hike a 10 for the beauty of the whole trail and the magnificent waterfalls.
The next day I did another hike in Yosemite to Elizabeth lake. This was a 5 mile round trip hike with a 1000 ft. elevation gain . The trail head is located in the Tuolumne meadows campground at the back of B loop. Elizabeth lake is a small lake located below Unicorn peak and the scenery around it was very beautiful.
My next post will be about Lundy Canyon and More waterfalls !!