ElevationAscent: 3,597' 1,096 m
Descent: -2,049' -625 m
High: 9,359' 2,852 m
Low: 6,321' 1,927 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 34% (19°)
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“This long trail starts up the roaring Summit Creek to reach flowery meadows and superb high mountain lakes.”— Lee Watts
Free parking for overnight runners is located about 0.4 miles before the Kennedy Meadows store. The store sells permits for overnight parking in their lot.
For the first 1.5 miles, the trail runs next to summit creek, which was roaring even at the end of August 2017. Two high bridges over the creek would permit seeing this extraordinary sight in full spring flood. The trail climbs steeply past the Kennedy Lake junction to an overlook above Relief Reservoir. It descends about 200 feet and then begins a long moderately steep climb all the way to Sheep Camp, which has great camp sites.
From there, the trail is much easier. It climbs only gradually as it passes Lunch Meadows, a long alpine meadow filled with flowers of all different colors. It climbs easily to Mosquito Pass and drops to Emigrant Lake—a long, beautiful lake. Emigrant appears to have only one campsite on the eastern end and none in the middle. The very scenic western end has campsites, but they are well over a mile from the Huckleberry Trail.
From Emigrant Lake, the trail makes a short climb to the shallow Blackbird Lake, and then drops to Maxwell Lake, a series of almost connected lakes with alternating rocks, trees, and grass, behind the towering Sachse Monument. The lakes are beautiful, but narrow and swampy with lots of mosquitoes.
The trail then makes a short climb and then drops down to the East Fork of Cherry Creek at the junction with the Horse Meadows Trail. The trail makes a rocky descent down an old mining road, following the creek past the junction to Twin Lakes and some remnants of old tungsten mines. About a mile from Huckleberry Lake, the trail has been re-routed to cross the East Fork and climb up and down among the rocks well above the creek. The old trail is now overgrown, eroded and nearly impassible. Huckleberry is superb. Most campsites are off the Letora Trail, but there are good sites in the south center next to the lake.
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Land Manager: USFS - Stanislaus National Forest Office