Green Lakes, Hoover Wilderness


Sep 30, 2014
New here, but thought I'd give a boost to the Sierra Nevada with a post about our last trip out of the east side trailhead, Green Creek.

The trail up to Green Lake is a very pleasant stroll up the canyon. Some of it runs alongside Green Creek, and none of it gets too steep. You couldn't ask for a better start to a backpacking trip. And we didn't see anyone at all on the trail on Friday afternoon.

True, the weather was breezy, but that just added to the pleasure of the hike. Once at Green Lake, however, the trail changes entirely. It's a steep climb of about 1,000 feet in about a mile, and while it starts out in broken forest, the last part is through the kind of rough scree that we remembered from Bloody Canyon. And now the wind had picked up even more.

By the time we arrived at West Lake, it was howling, and we spent some time looking for a campsite that might be a little sheltered. There were not many options, but we found one hidden behind both rocks and bushes that cut the wind to a dull roar. And we are not joking about that. At one point we looked up to see if a low flying jet was in the air above us--but no, it was just the wind howling through the trees, and blowing spume off the lake in a cloud. There were whitecaps slapping against the shore, and the tops were getting blown off by the wind.

It was not exactly relaxing, but we did manage to make dinner, and as the wind lessened in the evening, take a stroll along the ridge to see the sights. The photo above is of the small tarn just below West Lake--which seemed to have better fishing than West Lake itself. The wind slowly died down over the course of the night, and the next morning dawned calm and beautiful.

And cold. In fact, we had ice in the water bottle, and a thin film of ice on our tent. You can see that if you look carefully at the photo below. So we took a few extra minutes to get out of our bags and get warmed up before we started the day---hitting the trail at the luxurious hour of about 9 a.m.

We explored round the lake a bit, and then headed back to Green Lake, where we picked up the trail to East Lake, Nutter Lake, and Gilman Lake. Nice hiking. Gradual slopes on the trails, not many people, and perfect weather.

We finally stopped for lunch at Gilman Lake, where we took a small (and very steep) spur use trail down to the outlet. There was barely room to sit down here, but it made for a quiet spot on a lake that most people just hike past.

That's M above, enjoying the view ( and not sitting down!) at the outlet of Gilman Lake.

And then, perhaps because of a premonition about the earthquake in Napa, or just a desire to sleep in a bed that night, we hiked back out and drove back to our cabin above Sonora.

But this is a really nice area. We'd like to come back and explore a bit more, do some fishing, and add to our list of memories...

Full photo report here:

Featured image for home page:
Did the High Sierra Trail a few years ago - gorgeous country. Thanks for the report.
The sierras are the 'range of light.' The Sierras are my favorite backpacking destination. Thanks for the post. It makes me realize I need to post my JMT trip.
good report @balzaccom.. will add to list.
There's nothing quite like the sierra wind in your face! Great pics.
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