This trail is accessible to stock in addition to hikers, and is a nice spot to go for some relaxed fishing in pursuit of Golden Trout at both Tamarack Lake and the pond about a mile below it. It runs through impressive patches of summer- flowering woolly mules ear and Indian paintbrush, and offers wildlife viewing opportunities including deer, lizards, and birds. Fall is a prime time to observe raptors, especially red-tailed hawks, and possibly eagles around Twin Lakes. Be sure to bring plenty of water (at least two quarts), as the trail is exposed to the sun for most of the way, and climbs steeply.
From the trailhead you'll climb fairly steeply to the northeast up to a bench, where the trail doubles back to the southeast. There are good camping spots on this bench. The trail switchbacks up over another bench, then to the top of the moraine. It is a sandy trail, sometimes deeply so, and easily followed. There are good views of Twin Lakes on the way up, and you top out overlooking Upper Summers Meadows. The trail follows along the top of the moraine south for about 1/4 mile, then meets and crosses the creek. It then begins to climb pretty steeply again southward past aspens, scrub trees, sage and bitterbrush into a dry, open, alpine-type environment. Scattered around the creeks are some pines and juniper mixed amongst the aspens. After crossing the creek and beginning to climb, the trail turns into a gravel/sand mixture, still easily discernible. As you climb, the views overlooking the Sweetwater Mountain Range and the Bridgeport Valley just keep getting better, which is good, because your legs keep getting weaker!
After about one-and-a-half miles you top out at the aforementioned pond, where there is good camping to the east side, and a few spots on the south side. Be aware, due to the marshy nature of this area the mosquitoes will probably be brutal in June and early July. From the pond it's an easy one-mile walk through trees, across the creek, along the south side of a grassy meadow, up through more trees, and finally across a dry alpine meadow to Tamarack Lake.
There are lots of camping spots to the north and west sides of the lake. Tamarack Lake is shallow but pretty, bounded on two sides by stark, rocky, Monument Ridge, and on the third by the sloping, wooded, Crater Crest. The ridges hold several small snowfields, and just about a one-mile scramble up to Hunewill Lake brings you to the base of some of them. From there you can challenge yourself to some peak scrambles ranging in difficulty from class III - V, depending on the route you choose.
Directions: From Bridgeport, Turn onto Twin Lakes Road follow for approximately 10 miles to where the road enters a 25 mph zone, and turn left onto a dirt road at the "Forest Service Campgrounds" sign. Travel over a bridge and past the Lower Twin Campground to the trailhead parking lot on the right hand side of the road (about one-half mile). To reach the trailhead, simply walk about 50 yards back down the road and you'll see the trailhead signs up to your right (the east side of the road).
Elevation: 7,100 feet
Ending Elevation: 9,700 feet
Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet
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Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Nevada
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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