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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Full


Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop

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Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 29, 2019 03:41PM
I am planning a loop leaving Hetch Hetchy (clockwise) and passing by Vernon Lake, the Braningan Lakes, and hitting Avonelle Lake at the north end. I am planning to do a fair amount of off-trail scrambling and bush whacking. I am curious if anyone has been through this area and if you have any advice about what I might encounter or which areas I should head towards and which to avoid. It looks difficult, but doable on the maps and google earth, but I know that can be deceiving. Thank you for your help.

PS I saw a previous old post from Chick-on, but it was a little cryptic for me.
avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 07:34AM
ereh morf ysae skool

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 08:01AM
What's the goal? See the area? See the lakes? View the lakes? Get to Avonelle? Explore?

Hitting Avonelle on the north end? Confused by that.

Some amazing area there. I can only tell you what I've done and what I would and wouldn't do.
Though personally I don't always know what I'm gonna do until I do it.

You can hike north of Vernon and around the north end of Branigan and then up and over Andrews.
You can take a boat and then boat all three.

If I was hiking only I'd go north of Vernon and south of Branigan and very south of Middle and then
a lot east of Middle and Upper and either go to trail that heads from Jack Main to Avonelle area
or hike up to TilTill Mtn.
Most of the terrain looks pretty simple quite honestly. You can make good time.
A bit cliffy here and there but if you spry... doable.
If you want any other comments then a map with your possible route makes the most sense
for comments.

I wouldn't hike to the outlet of Middle Branigan if I didn't have a boat. Quite honestly it MAY be
easier to not have a boat. I got that crazy idea from Old Doods former wife... and it's pretty fun
but def. bush whacky doodle doo.

Anywho. Be safe.

Was in the area in June. Maybe I'll put up a video.

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 09:32AM
Hello and thank you for your response. I will start by answering each of your questions.

The goal is all of those that you listed and to have a great adventure in the serenity of the wilderness. There is a bit of a challenge to explore and see if I can trailblaze a way through here.

I am not sure why you would be confused by hitting Avonelle at the north end. Once I get to upper Branigan Lake, I want to continue north east until I hit the trail. Then I will take the trail east a bit and jump off trail to see Avonelle Lake. It looks like it is about 500 yards off the trail. It is just another lake that I would like to see... maybe even jump in.

I don't have a boat. So what I hear you saying is that I probably won't have much fun if I try to visit Middle and Upper and skirt along the coast. You are suggesting that I stay east up above the cliffs at about the 7700 elevation?? So if I don't make it to those lakes, then I have about 4 miles from Branigan Lake to Avonelle Lake without water.

Getting from Vernon to Branigan; would you go right up the waterfall, or east, south, and then east around the little peak that is south of Branigan? It looks like there are a couple of small unnamed lakes to the south of Branigan that I could go past as I approach Branigan from the south.

I would like to get you a map. But I am not sure how to attach a pdf to this post. Can I email it to you?

avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 10:42AM
Send me the map. It no show.

I think you mean the South end of Avonelle.
The area that has the peninsula.
I wouldn't visit the north side again myself.

Can say more when I see ur map.

Chick-on is looking at you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2019 11:53AM by chick-on.
avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 10:51AM


Absolutely love how iPhone duz these

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 11:00AM
Yes, the northern most end of my trip is to visit the southern end of Avonelle Lake.

I sent an email with the map.
avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 05:18PM
Ok, my AI on my parser gets it wrong.

I have come down just south of 7438T. I don't think I would do that again.
I don't think I would go up that way.
I have gone up and down the outlet many many times. Like maybe over 10.
It's not too difficult. I'd rec going near 6634T … very nice open areas
and then east of the outlet. Follow outlet all the way to the lake.
Not sure there is much to camp at the inlet. There is a spot at the outlet
though... have camped there a couple of times. It's decent. ymmv
I do not think many would enjoy trying to get around Middle or Upper.
It's not simple even to get to them to boat.
Over Andrews was very nice. I easily made it from Vernon outlet
to Avonelle in a day with loads of time to spare. But.. I knew it was
doable on account had come from Upper and hike past Andrews Peak
and Lake and then all the way out to HH... so ez pz
I would recommend trying going almost to the lake between Bran and Middle
and then get east on the granite goodness. Looks easy from here.

I'll assume that you've already hiked Jack Main Canyon. If not... uh... why not?!?!?

Have fun. I'm sure Basilbop would be up for this... easier than Tehipite in a day... smiling smiley

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 05:36PM
Thank you for the input. I am excited.
avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
September 30, 2019 09:57PM
Just to be clear... here is a picture of heading to Middle Branigan…
That's Gibson way in the background...

And the view of Middle once you can touch it...

On the lake... pretty clear... smiling smiley

But... I'm also looking at the area between Middle and Upper

Middle from Andrews flank...

Lots of yummy...

And Upper:

Lots of route finding and spectacular scenery and fun.

Good luck


It's not easy from there. Don't go up stuff you can't get back down. Be safe.
Let people who like you know where you are going. Carry a GPS. (and a paper map if u are tech incapable)
(and know how to use)
Anyway, you're responsible for your own safety.

There… be safe. Have fun

and LNT

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
October 01, 2019 02:51AM
Wow!!!, and thank you. This here is pure gold. I owe you one. A picture really is worth a thousand words. This gives me a real idea of what it will be like trying to access those lakes. Now I am even more excited. What a beautiful place.

I bet you didn't see any peeps where you were there. Nor did you hear a radio.

I have a gps trail app on my phone and a spotX. I will certainly bring paper maps. The paper ones have helped me out of a pinch more than once.
Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
October 01, 2019 02:52AM
By the way, how did you insert the pictures into your post?
avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
October 01, 2019 10:32AM
I have flikr account. ez to insert via share with that.

So you never know... and I assumed you doing this fall. Yes?

Also, seriously. Seems like you have not been in Jack Main Canyon.
If so... I'd really recommend just doing the trail. It's very nice actually.
I'd skip Laurel and spend the efforts to get to Jack Main or Vernon
if you must do Branigan.

It's easy to avoid peeps. Just need the desire. smiling smiley

We spent most all of Aug and half of Sept in SEKI.
Really saw very few peeps. Just stay off JMT. And
when the ranger says "no one goes there" say "cool" smiling smiley

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop
October 15, 2019 11:55AM
Guess no answer on the fall? Means … I dunno.

You went already? You went and say "what the heck wuz that tupid bird talking about?"?
You went and got to Vernon and said... um... yeah, maybe some other trip?

Anywho. I had to login so I thought I'd post.

I "may" know more soon... I "may" not... I have lots o fish to fry...

smiling smiley

Chick-on is looking at you!
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