Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Edison Lake CA Loop Hike

Dale Matson

Loop Begins At East End Of Edison Lake

Sometimes I get these ambitious ideas about what can be done in a day. I watched a YouTube video about a 25 mile loop hike some folks had taken out of Edison Lake. It looks like they spent two nights out on the trail and I thought to myself that even going over two passes (Silver and Goodale) I could do it in a day if I traveled light.

Contacting the remote Vermilion Resort at Edison Lake by phone is difficult since they only have satellite phone communication. They also generate their own electricity. I wanted to take the water taxi to the east end of the lake to start the loop but they only have two trips a day with the first trip at 9am. This would give me a late start for the hike. Special trips can be arranged for larger fares. I took a chance and headed to Edison Lake at 4am from Fresno. It is about a three-hour drive with the final 14 miles taking about an hour. I got to the Vermilion Resort about 7am and could hear the resort generator fire up for the day. The store opened up soon after that and I put out forty dollars for an early water taxi ride. I was the only passenger. The pilot had breakfast first and we headed out. The water was already down a bit and we rode a four-wheeler to where the boat had been relocated from the previous week.

Because the water level in Edison Lake was still relatively high, the trail at the end of the lake joined the John Muir Trail (JMT) in about a mile and a half. When the water level is down, it can be a much longer walk to the JMT from the taxi drop off point.

Water Taxi Ride

The hike up to Silver Pass is not too steep at about 8 miles with about 3,000’ of altitude gain. The view opens up and the mountains begin to appear.  I was amazed when three Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Hikers passed me on the trail with full packs. It must be nice to be that young but they had already come all the way from the border with Mexico so they were very fit by this time.

Author At Silver Pass

After summiting Silver Pass the trail continued north as it also began a descent. After about a mile there is a junction with the JMT continuing north and the trail to Goodale pass climbing southeast. It is another good climb passing between Papoose Lake and Lake of the Lone Indian. Goodale Pass is a tad under 11,000’. After this the trail continues descending and passes through Upper Graveyard Meadows, Graveyard Meadows and begins to parallel Edison Lake.

Goodale Pass

The good news in this counterclockwise loop trail route, is that you don't have to worry about catching the afternoon water taxi back to the Vermilion Resort. I found that there were plenty of places along the trail to resupply with water and my GPS had the route at about 21 miles. I was back by about 5pm and home by 8pm. It was a long but worthwhile day.

There is a video with more photographs here:

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