Eastern Sierra and Lake Tahoe


On the third and final trip to the Eastern Sierras this month, the plan was to snag a campsite without having a reservation on Memorial Day weekend. It ended up being a great trip, and didn’t take long at all to find a campsite. Creeping a little further north each time, this trip up the Sierras included visits to Hilton Lakes, Lake Tahoe, Lake Sabrina, and more.

Trip Details:

Date Range – May 27-30
Campground – East Fork
Distance – 306 miles
Closest Town – Toms Place, CA

Traffic plagued the Los Angeles freeways ahead of the holiday weekend. After getting camp set up at East Fork Campground near Rock Creek Lake, I was amazed to see how many stars were visible. The moon was on it’s last quarter, so it wouldn’t rise in the sky until the early morning hours. This provided for excellent star gazing, and for me, plenty of time for some night photography.

View of the night sky from the campsite

Saturday morning we hiked towards Hilton Lakes, looking for a good view of Hilton Second Lake. Much of the trail reminded me of the last mile of Big Pine North Fork trail, with Jeffrey Pines providing cover over large granite rocks and sagebrush. The back half of the trail was on a north-facing mountain slope that received very little sunlight. We eneded up trudging through 2-3 feet of snow for a majority of the time, slowing our pace significantly. Finally at the lakes, we were forced to turn around after a short break due to an oncoming storm brewing to the north.

On Sunday we drove north to see Lake Tahoe, only a few hours away. We were disappointed to see how South Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay State Park were both packed full of people, but it wasn’t too much of a surprise considering the weekend. Since the hike towards Eagle Lake was overcrowded we decided to head towards Fallen Leaf Lake. The lake itself was beautiful, but the view of Glen Alpine Falls which fed into it from the west was even better.

Glen Alpine Falls, which feeds into Fallen Leaf Lake

The next morning we packed up and headed south down Highway 395 to Bishop, where we would hike towards Blue Lake. The weather was excellent, probably around 65 degrees around noon. The trail to Blue Lake was pretty exposed in the beginning, followed by a number of switchbacks heading up the ridge. While resting at an overlook around the halfway mark that provided great views of Lake Sabrina, we watched a pair of bald eagles fly overhead.

View of Lake Sabrina on the way to Blue Lake

Even though snow and a lack of equipment prevented us from continuing further on a few trails, the views were still exceptional. This campsite wasn’t as secluded as I would have like, but it still provided for another great getaway into the Sierras.

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