Destination: Emigrant Lake
Mileage: 8 round trip
Trailhead: Caples Lake off Hwy 88
Elevation: 7,750 up to 8,676 feet
To celebrate Aspen’s third birthday we hiked to Emigrant Lake. After near 100-degree temperatures in the Central Valley I was hoping there was a little snow left for Aspen to enjoy on our late-May hike – mission more-than-accomplished!
We parked at the northwest corner of Caples Lake, where there’s an information kiosk and vault toilet. The first half of the hike was nice and level along the west side of Caples Lake. Snow patches littered the trail from the start and a few early spring waterfalls tumbled into the lake. Once we reached first sizable waterfall and creek crossing there was more snow than trail. For the first time I actually used trail blazes to help find the way! There’s also the option of waiting until the snow clears a bit; if you don’t, be aware of unstable snow bridge crossings – I opted to stick with rock-hopping.
Once we made it to Emigrant Lake I was amazed to find 90 percent of the lake covered in icebergs. I suppose this time of year there should be more snow still, but warm weather and a light winter allowed us access to this winter wonderland.
Don’t forget your gators!