Destination: Gem Lake
Mileage: 7 miles round trip
Trailhead: Rush Creek on June Lake Loop/CA-158
Elevation: 7,200 to 9,190 feet
Three years in a row – it’s officially tradition. Wildlife 4-8 and I have had breakfast at Silver Lake Resort on closing weekend. Plus Basil and Soils 4 joined us this year too! Get there early though or you’ll be waiting in line all day instead of hiking by 10!
The Rush Creek Trailhead was a thirty-second drive north from the resort. I picked Gem Lake since it was a quick hike into gorgeous Ansel Adams Wilderness. The trail out of Silver Lake was gradual and then took a turn for the switchbacks. If you get tired, just take a break and look back down over the June Lake Loop, especially with the fall colors exploding on the mountainsides, it’s a valid excuse. As you climb, the trail travels by a track used to haul workers up to the dams at Agnew and Gem Lakes; neither of which were expected on a hike to the wilderness.
Once we arrived at Gem Lake, we set up shop right by the dam since we didn’t want to hike any farther to simply turn around; plus we may have been feeling lazy after our filling breakfast. Wildlife 4-8 cast out his lure, Soils 4 cast out his fly, Basil caught up on her reading, while I tried to avoid fishing by taking pictures of Aspen. So many recreation opportunities at Gem Lake! We only stayed an hour or so because we had other things on our agenda – brewery tasting! Sadly the folks at June Lake Brewing were at an event, but Mammoth Brewing Company had a new location to try out complete with a dog-friendly beer garden. Dogs are no longer allowed inside their tasting room, but if you circle the beer garden like a vulture a spot will open up soon enough!