Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Potter Pass

View of Mts. Banner and Rittter from Potter Pass

Lower Twin Lake

Elevation:                                            8,980’
Location:                                            37 17’ 14.5” N 119 08’ 23” W
Trailhead Distance from Fresno:       3.0 hours
Distance to pass from trailhead:         2.2 miles
Elevation gain:                                    680’
Degree of difficulty                             day hiker must be fit and sound

Directions to trailhead: From Fresno, take Highway 168 east to Kaiser Pass Road (near Huntington Lake). Turn right on Kaiser Pass Road and drive about 20 minutes to the Badger Flat parking area on right. There is a potty by the parking. The trailhead is on the other side of the road.

For those who live in Fresno, the closest pass with a view is Potter Pass. There are two access points off Kaiser Pass Road. The trail out of Badger Flat has less altitude gain. When hiking, I either like to hike to a view or to water. The Potter Pass trail can provide both if you go beyond the pass to Twin lakes and further to George Lake. There is also a variety of wildflowers along the trail. After Potter Pass, Twin lakes are about 1.5 miles further and George Lake is an additional mile with a climb to about 9,100’. I think the view at George Lake is worth the extra effort. You can see Kaiser Peak (10,310) above from George Lake.

Upper Twin Lake

While there is no view to the south, the pass itself provides a wonderful and unobstructed view to the north for a distance of about 30 miles. In the view, you may be surprised to see the Ritter Range including Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter. Also, don’t be surprised to see cattle grazing in the meadow below Potter Pass. My wife Sharon likes to swim to the island in Upper Twin Lake.

George Lake with Kaiser Peak in the background

Lower Twin Lake 2014

Upper Twin Lake Panorama 2014

George Lake 2014

Tom Harrison Maps recently (2013) published a map of the “Kaiser Wilderness” which is quite helpful and provides distances at trail junctions. One can hike to the pass and head back to the trail-head or go all the way to George Lake depending on one’s ability and fitness. If you resupply your water in the lakes, have a means with you to purify the water. There is a YouTube video of the hike here:

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