Hover Setting


Emigrant Wilderness

Gem Lake

Emigrant Wilderness

- Pepper and I battle the bugs on a sub alpine loop through Emigrant Wilderness.

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This was one of my prep trips for Humphreys Basin. I chose it because of the high elevation and because one of my friends had been camping around Camp and Bear lakes for years and loved it. I had also wanted to visit Pinecrest Lake and liked that this was just adjacent to Yosemite NP. I'd definitely come back.


Pinecrest Lake
Pinecrest Lake

Day 0 Highlights

  • Drove up and enjoyed beautiful Pinecrest Lake.
  • Stayed at an inn in Long Barn.
  • Stretched our legs on the popular trail ringing the lake.


View of very popular Camp Lake
View of popular Camp Lake

Pepper on the trail through Emigrant Wilderness
Rocky terrain approaching 8,000ft elevation

Lily Pad Lake in Emigrant Wilderness
Lily Pad Lake

Immense burnt out tree in Emigrant Wilderness
Massive husk of a tree

Gnarled juniper tree overlooking Cherry Creek canyon
Gnarled juniper overlooking Cherry Creek canyon

Pepper overlooking Cherry Creek in Emigrant Wilderness
View by our campsite at Piute Lake

Pepper taking a break near our campsite
Taking a break

Sunset behind a tree near camp
Light fading

Day 1 Highlights

  • Hiked to Piute Lake and setup camp.
  • Shared my fuel with the other group at the lake - they were super nice and grateful.
  • Bugs were overwhelming throughout the hike. Swarmed you and covered you in a blanket anytime you weren't moving. Glad I brought a mosquito net hat.
  • Excellent weather, clear skies with beautiful and varied terrain.


Sunrise at our campsite
Sunrise behind our tent

Gem Lake
Gem Lake

Swimming hole found while cross country
Off trail swimming hole

Pepper and I back at the trailhead

Day 2 Highlights

  • Loved seeing the different lakes as we hiked to Gem Lake, down to Grouse then back to the trailhead.
  • Went cross country to a swimming hole we had seen from camp.
  • Very steep climb at the end of the loop. Rested by a small pool by the trail before that final push.
  • So many blowdowns! Trail needed a lot of work, and we did a lot of bushwhacking, due to all the downed trees.


  • Location: Piute Lake, Emigrant Wilderness via the Crabtree trailhead.
  • Date: June 2021.
  • Stats: ~20 total mileage with ~2,500ft elevation gain.
  • Maps: NatGeo 807 Carson-Iceberg, Emigrant and Mokelumne Wilderness Areas. Emigrant Wilderness permit.
  • It was a long dirt road drive to the trailhead and parking filled up fast. Very popular and many people choose to visit later in the season to avoid the bugs. Apparently excellent fishing.

Route of our trip
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