Features: Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers
Dogs: No Dogs
This off-trail route heads over Kibbie Mountain to Flora, Spotted Fawn, Little Bear, and Boundary Lakes. Many areas are more rugged, but I find this area as beautiful as any in the Sierras. The route is not difficult, but it requires route finding, minor bushwhacking, and one very unpleasant 50 yards of pushing through the brush.
Even though it is at a relatively low elevation, this route is for late summer when the lakes are warm. Earlier, it may be swampy, with mosquitoes and a dangerous creek crossing. All lakes and creeks have solid granite bottoms, which means the creeks run dry in mid-summer, but every pond and lake stays relatively full and beautiful.
From just below the high point on the eastern Kibbie Lake Trail
, head up a shallow rounded draw, staying south of the ridge. There used to be a trail here, but fires and lack of maintenance make it impossible to follow. Stay near the top of the ridge and find the easiest way to keep climbing towards the top of Kibbie Mountain. Just below the top, the easiest route is to cut around the south and east sides of the mountain until you find an easy way down to the lake west of Flora. I prefer the spectacular views seen by going over the top of the mountain and following the ridge until reaching a shallow pond north of Flora. Then head down the rocks to the west shore of Flora.
From Flora, follow Bartlett Creek, staying at the edge of the rocks and out of the brush as much as possible. Cross at the point where Bartlett Creek turns right and drops sharply to the canyon below. The crossing is over a wide stretch of smooth granite. When the creek is flowing, this would make for beautiful falls, but a very dangerous crossing.
From there, stay on the rocks and follow the canyon up. At one point, make a steep climb up the rocks and go to the left to follow a side canyon. Look for the least brushy place to cross and then for the easiest way to continue up towards Spotted Fawn. When you reach the lake, head around the south shore. On the western end, wade across the wide, shallow outlet. Follow the shore. There is a point where there is nothing to do but push through tall, thick brush for about 50 yards.
Climb up the smooth rock draw north of Spotted Fawn. Near the top, cut left over to the beautiful south shore of Little Bear. On the east side of Little Bear, you have to cross a swampy forest. Cross the outlet from Boundary Lake and follow it up to the lake. Head along the western shore until you find a trail leading to the Huckleberry Trail
Past forest fires only affect the areas west of Kibbie Mountain. The rest of this route is untouched by previous fires.