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Re: Conness Lakes - 2D and 3D

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avatar Conness Lakes - 2D and 3D
July 12, 2012 12:59PM
We took a day trip last Monday to Conness Lakes. I was expecting to be impressed and I wasn't disappointed. What a great place! Below are links to some panoramas I took plus links to few 3D images.

Before I went I tried to do some research on the route up to the lakes from Saddlebag Lake. I was disappointed in how little information I could find. All the information I could find said it was an off trail or cross country hike with a partial use trail near the top of the waterfall. Different people described different routes they took. Turns out all of that is unnecessarily difficult. Although we did off trail on the way up discovering the use trail near the falls, on the way back we stayed on the use trail and were able to follow it all the way back to Saddlebag Lake. Nowhere did I read that it is a complete trail and rather easy to follow.

In case anyone is thinking about going up to Conness Lakes and has never been there, here's how to do it. We took the water taxi across Saddlebag Lake. At the dock go up and a bit to the right and you'll find a very obvious trail. It connects to the 20 Lakes trail. Take that trail to just past Greenstone Lake and you'll see a very obvious trail that branches left and goes downhill to the lake shore. Take that trail to the west end of the lake. A little before you come to the inlet creek, a trail branches to the right across a little meadow. That's the use trail that goes to Conness Lakes. It pretty much follows the creek all the way. When you go up the rocky area where the waterfall is there are cairns to guide you through the less distinct parts of the trail. At one point the trail jumps across a small branch of the creek and then quickly returns to the other side. There is one short granite slope to walk up with cairns on both ends. Other than that the trail is easy to follow and dumps you into the Conness Lakes basin and goes part way around the lower lake.

We wanted to get up to the ridge between the lower and middle lake for photography which means you have to cross the lower lake outlet creek. I hate creek crossings and didn't like the place my friend crossed at, which was kind of wide with few rocks to step on. I found another spot that I'm calling the triple crossing that was easier. The creek was divided into 3 parts. The first was an easy step across. The second was a wider step across onto a small rock next to larger rock you can get onto. The third crossing had several exposed or barely submerged rocks to step across on. Not bad. Most people would find this trivial.

Turned out it was quite easy to get to the southern Conness Lake above the lower lake and then up to the ridge with a terrific view of the middle lake.

If anyone is interested in reading an analysis of why the Conness lakes are different colors, I found this article when doing my research. Go to page 13.




Lower Lake 3D


Other Conness Lake


North Peak


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 01:09PM by Calaveras.
avatar Re: Conness Lakes - 2D and 3D
July 12, 2012 02:26PM
Great anaglyphs as always. First learned about Conness Lakes when Huell Howser did a show there. Easy hike to such a great spot. It's also good to combine with a hike in 20 Lakes Basin.
avatar Re: Conness Lakes - 2D and 3D
July 12, 2012 04:58PM
Thanks for the link to your 3D photos. They're excellent!

And also thank you very much for the detailed directions to Conness Lakes from Saddlebag Lake. Much appreciated.
Re: Conness Lakes - 2D and 3D
July 12, 2012 06:57PM
And also thank you very much for the detailed directions to Conness Lakes from Saddlebag Lake. Much appreciated.

I'm thinking about climbing North Peak in the next week or two and the route description and photos are very helpful.
Re: Conness Lakes - 2D and 3D
July 14, 2012 06:24PM
Too bad I missed your info...I hiked this area on Wednesday.

I was on the wrong side of Greenstone Lake and the waterfall. I tried climbing beside the waterfall, but came to a small headwall. I was a bit nervous going back down. I ended up going far to the left up a rock and sand gully and came to a small round circular lake. Followed a grassy gully from there, ending up above the first chain of lakes and overlooking the middle lakes. Dropped to the middle lakes, crossing the glacial melt then climbed the rock ridge to overlook the high lake (but not the highest, which is tucked closer to Mount Conness.) Spent some time at the lake's edge, climbed up the rocks a bit, then dropped back down to the outlet. From there, there was a trail and it was easy to follow. I got to see the lower lakes on my way down and much easier negotiation near the waterfall. The travel rounding Greenstone Lake was much longer, though. I crossed between the chain of lower lakes. It looks like one lake but there are several lakes...each just a few feet lower than the one above with mini outlets. I crossed one of these.

Maybe in a few weeks it will be easier to cross the creeks below the waterfall. I got across a couple, then couldn't find a good crossing on the last.

I love the waterfall across this lake which looks like it is flowing out of the rocks.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2012 06:32PM by hikerchick395.
avatar Re: Conness Lakes - 2D and 3D
July 15, 2012 01:55PM
Do you have a photo of the small round lake you reached? I saw it on Google Earth but I have not seen any photos of it and it seems to be nameless. I think the lower chain of lakes is simply called Lower Conness Lake. The outlet of one of the smaller in the chain is where I crossed. Your photo above is what everyone seems to call Middle Conness Lake. Upper Conness Lake is about a mile farther, much higher and more difficult to get to. The lakes to the south don't have any name I can find and I referred to them as Other Conness Lakes. One is large enough to have a name and the other is not much more than a pond.

I have a closer up photo of the waterfall and it looks like most of it is flowing under the rocks.

Following the trail is longer than off trail but might be faster than hunting for a route up.

I hope we have another opportunity this year to go up and explore a little more, especially since this is a dry year and I expect the snow will be all gone sometime in August. One of the water taxi operators told us the lakes were still frozen in early August last year.
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