“An off-trail route climbing from Emerald Lakes over a low pass, with incredible views of Topsy Turvy and Sierra Crest.”
— Lee Watts
Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views
Wilderness permits are required. They can be obtained on line at recreation.gov/permits. The trail entrance is JM17. There are daily quotas.
This off-trail route provides a shortcut to Hungry Packer and Moonlight Lakes and it avoids the crossing of the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek above Dingleberry Lake. The only difficult part is getting across the large blocks of talus at the bottom of Topsy Turvy Lake.
Leave the Emerald Lakes Trail
between the second and third of the large lakes. Go west up a moderately steep draw that climbs over the ridge. I saw some indications that this was once a trail. From just below the ridge, there is a sweeping panorama across Pee Wee and Topsy Turvy Lakes to the Sierra Crest.
From this point, the large blocks of talus become a problem. It is easier to pass Pee Wee Lake on the right. From below the lake, there is a rough trail that takes you down to the Sabrina Basin Trail (31E01)
. However, that means dropping about 250 feet in elevation and then having to climb back up. I avoided this by working my way across the talus and crossing below Topsy Turvy at the point where the stream leaves the lake. Most of the stream runs under the talus so I had no difficulty crossing. It could be more difficult if the water is higher.
Topsy Turvy is a large glacial tarn in a basin of huge talus blocks. Many of these rise above the water in the middle of the lake. From Topsy Turvy, it is a short climb up to the Hungry Packer Lake Trail (31E01C)
and Moonlight Lake Trail