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Chilnualna Falls -> Crescent Lake/Johnson Lake

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Chilnualna Falls -> Crescent Lake/Johnson Lake
July 30, 2019 05:55AM

I am leading a group on seven people (total) on a 2-night, 3-day backpacking trip departing this Thursday, July 31. I had a separate thread going on this, but thought I would update it.

My conundrum is: what to do on Day 2?

Day 1: Hike to the top of Chilualna Falls
Day 2: ?
Day 3: Hike back to the trailhead

Given feedback from the group, it seems that day-hiking from the top of Chilunaluna Falls to Buena Vista Peak/Lake is too ambitious (~17 mile round trip).

The only other option seems to be visiting Crescent Lake and/or Johnson Lake.

Have people done this itinerary? Any feedback on Crescent or Johnson? I know Chick-On said Grouse Lake isn't awesome smiling smiley

The only other way to make Day 2 easier would be to push past the Falls, but I am not sure there are good campsites within a couple miles (maybe too far to carry heavy packs all the way to Crescent, for example, on Day 1 (that would be ~10 miles, but we'll be getting an afternoon start, so we'll likely run out of daylight)).

Lastly, I guess we could also push north to Turner Meadow, but have not read much about that area.

Thanks as always to this amazing forum for any info.!

avatar Re: Chilnualna Falls -> Crescent Lake/Johnson Lake
July 31, 2019 04:10PM
Thursday, July 31 ?

Just to clarify.

Grouse Lake doesn't have a maintained trail to it anymore. So you MAY have trouble even finding it.

Crescent Lake is quickly becoming a meadow. You MAY not find it too exciting.

Johnson Lake is actually quite beautiful. But... some may think otherwise.

There is no question about Royal Arch. Thus my comments in your other thread.

Turner Meadow is beautiful. But again, others may think it's "just a meadow".

Hope it all works out and you enjoy.

That's quite a large group to try to keep everyone happy.

Good luck

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Chilnualna Falls -> Crescent Lake/Johnson Lake
August 15, 2019 05:53AM
Hi, folks.

Just closing down this thread (in case anyone else views it).

chick-on is exactly right:

1) we couldn't find Grouse Lake (we didn't try *too* hard, but we did try)
2) Crescent Lake was largely a water-filled meadow - the mosquitoes were so bad that only a couple of us forged ahead to find it, and there was no great option to approach the lake for a swim
3) we never made it to Johnson Lake

All-in, I'd say that we basically did a great day hike from the top of the Falls, through some beautiful (if sometimes buggy) backcountry, to arrive at an unspectacular location. The day was then redeemed by simply going back to the top of the Falls and jumping in the many wading pools and relaxing in the sun.

Yosemite is amazing, and so vast, and we barely scratched the surface.

I'd recommend this itinerary for anyone considering getting to the top of the Falls for a one-night (or even two-night) stay, and just exploring around.

Thanks to everyone for your contributions to these thread/questions!

Re: Chilnualna Falls -> Crescent Lake/Johnson Lake
August 15, 2019 09:12AM
Thanks for the report! Yeah, one thing that's odd about Yosemite is that there are many named lakes that are so-so (by Yosemite standards), but many unnamed and/or off-trail lakes that are spectacular. This somewhat reflects the early history of the area: most of the modern trails were once patrol routes for the cavalry to chase out illegal sheepherders, so they tend to be horse-friendly and lead to places where sheep would be grazing, vs. being constructed for scenery.

OTOH, almost any lake is nice if you have a boat :-)

Next time you're in the area, be sure to check out Johnson and Buena Vista!
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