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Re: Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF

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avatar Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF
July 31, 2017 05:05PM
Last weekend I hiked to the "Five Lakes Basin" from Grouse Ridge trailhead, off of Bowman Lake Road north of CA-20 in Tahoe NF. This is a trip I took four years ago in October, I decided to revisit at a time when I could go swimming. This is a lower altitude area, the trailhead is around 7,500 ft., the Five Lakes around 7,000. On the way I hiked to Glacier Lake, around 7,500', which still has plenty of snow on the north facing slopes behind it.

Going out I hiked on the Glacier Lake trail, coming back the Sand Ridge trail. The USFS says the Sand Ridge trail is unmaintained, but someone cleared away freshly-fallen trees from the trail. The area is popular with Boy Scout groups, so I guess I have them to thank for the clear trails. Otherwise, the only snow covering the trail was a 100 ft. section 2/3 of the way to Glacier Lake.

The bugs were out, but not too bad - nothing like my mid-July Emigrant Wilderness hike, or my early July Desolation Wilderness hike.

The swimming was awesome, great water temperature, nice granite near the lake, solid lake bottom, couldn't ask for more.

Pictures...

Milk Lake, right below the trailhead:


Lots of lupine blooming (and other wildflowers, this is an amazing year in the Sierra):


Glacier Lake:


The lake where I camped:


Another of the five lakes:
Re: Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF
July 31, 2017 08:03PM
Lovely. This is a great place for a starter hike, since there are so many lakes in easy hiking range.

How was the road up to Grouse Ridge? I'd heard reports that it had deteriorated...



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avatar Re: Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF
July 31, 2017 08:17PM
My Subaru Forester thought it was fine...more seriously, I saw 2 wheel drive cars up there. If you have super low clearance you won't make it, if you have a standard car you'll want to be used to such roads (angling the car just right at trickier points), otherwise it's fine. It's seen some damage from the winter, but it's the "you'll drive slower" sort of damage, not the "you made it before and won't make it now" type.

Bowman Lake Road is a different matter - north of this area the road is apparently closed at Canyon Creek (Bowman Lake), and between the South Fork Yuba and CA-20 there's one section where the pavement has been replaced by loose rocks (if you wouldn't make it through these you'd have never made it up Grouse Ridge anyway), and a few other spots with orange cones marking giant holes.
Re: Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF
August 04, 2017 12:50PM
I'm going to be coming through this area on the PCT in a couple weeks. I thought camping wasn't allowed at Five Lakes, or is this bad info.
Looks very nice.
Re: Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF
August 04, 2017 09:34PM
Quote
lschaaf
I'm going to be coming through this area on the PCT in a couple weeks. I thought camping wasn't allowed at Five Lakes, or is this bad info.
Looks very nice.

There are two "Five Lakes" in the Tahoe NF. This one is in the Grouse Lakes area north of I-80 off the Bowman Lake Road. Camping is definitely allowed. I've yet to find a more attractive setting in the northern Sierra than the lake ttilley camped at. It's like an infinity pool with the Sierra Buttes in the background. The outlet stream leading down to Faucherie Lake is fun to explore, too.
avatar Re: Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF
August 05, 2017 07:40PM
DaveF is correct, the "Five Lakes" I camped at are not the same "Five Lakes" along the PCT between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley.

Those "Five Lakes" - camping is not allowed within 600 feet. The "Five Lakes" where I camped are north of I-80, and several miles west of the PCT.
Re: Grouse Ridge/Five Lakes, Tahoe NF
August 07, 2017 11:03AM
Thanks, I am now clear on the rules. I have a feeling your five lakes are prettier.
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