Is it backpacking season yet? In anticipation I’m taking a look back at pre-Trails’ Guide trips. This backpacking trip to Crown Lake holds a special place in my heart for many reasons: gorgeous scenery, discovery of my favorite wilderness, and my first official date with Wildlife 4-8. Forget long walks on the beach – I prefer long walks in the wilderness!
We did this 13-mile trip in three days, two nights. To get to the trailhead, drive south on Hwy 395 from Bridgeport and head west on Twin Lakes Road. If you’re getting in the night before, there is dispersed camping along Buckeye Road – turn north from Twin Lakes Road – and you can even warm up in Buckeye Hot Springs.
To start the trail, we parked at Mono Village on the west end of Twin Lakes. There is a small fee for parking, to be honest I don’t remember how much, but it wasn’t more than $10. From there you stroll through the campground; then say goodbye to RV city as you delve into the wilderness. I will warn, we did this trip in mid-June when fawns were about. Aspen and Deke had a run in with an angry mama deer at the meadow just past the campground – keep your dog close or on-leash!
Barney Lake is about three miles in and there is a great rock outcrop on the west side of the lake to stop and have lunch. From there we continued on three and a half miles to Crown Lake. I’m recalling a high-wind advisory the weekend we went and sheltered sites at the lake were hard to find. Wildlife 4-8 and I ended up braving the wind for a choice campsite on the south side of the lake.
The next night we planned on backtracking about a mile to Robinson Lakes to be a little closer to the trailhead for an early start Sunday. Until then, the five of us chose our own endeavors. Yoshi and Toad packed up early and headed to Peeler Lake to see how the fish were biting – dropping their packs at Robinson on the way. T-Money relaxed and explored around Crown Lake. Wildlife 4-8, Aspen, and I hiked one and a half miles up to Snow Lake and Rock Island Pass to take a peak into Yosemite. If you’re dog-free I would recommend taking the trail toward Slide Mountain and viewing the massive rock slide on its south-east face. After our hike we met up with T-Money and hiked to Robinson Lakes. The trail passes between the two lakes and on the east side of that split you can hike up the hill to an overlook for nice campsites. If you’re feeling brave you can take a refreshing jump in the lake. I was feeling brave – then promptly jumped out and ran back to my warm sleeping bag yelling, “I’m clean! I’m clean!”
Sunday we got up early and headed out to the trailhead discussing what mouth-watering food options Bridgeport had to offer. We opted for hamburgers, fries, and – my favorite – milkshakes!
I highly recommend this trip or anywhere in Hoover Wilderness for that matter.
Which permit do u get if you do this route? And which trailhead would u start? Thanks
We worked with the Bridgeport Ranger District to get the permit, they’re a bit old school but since you can’t just reserve on the internet, I feel like less people go through the trouble. More info here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/htnf/passes-permits/?cid=fseprd673368
Awesome country. Brought back memories as I was a wilderness Ranger for this area in 1983. That year the backcountry did not really open up until September because of all the snow. So I saw very few people the entire summer. Glad to see it’s still pristine.