“Enjoy a beautiful lake with rocky inlets and islands surrounded by granite bluffs.”
— Lee Watts
Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Wilderness permits are required, but they are easily obtained at any Stanislaus Forest ranger station. Campfires are not allowed above 9000 feet, but Long Lake is below that. Dogs are supposed to be on leash.
From the northern end, the Long Lake Trail leaves the Relief Valley Trail
at a sign post just before the trail begins its descent to Deer Lake. The Long Lake Trail climbs only about 100 feet to get over a ridge and then descends and reaches Long Lake in less than a mile. The lake has picturesque rocky islands, peninsulas, and inlets. Some of the islands have trees. There is good fishing for rainbow trout and good campsites around the northern end of the lake.
Only the northern first mile of the Long Lake Trail is shown on the topographical maps. The latest map of Emigrant Wilderness lists it as only occasionally maintained; but this trail was well maintained when I traveled it in 2017. This is not difficult country, and Deer Lake is only about 250 feet lower and a half mile from the southern end of the lake. It is not too hard to run down the entire western side of the lake and on to Deer Lake to finish the trail.
Once, I tried to run up from Deer Lake to Long Lake. I followed the stream coming from Long Lake for about a quarter of a mile. This was mostly easy running up smooth granite slabs. But then I spotted some cairns, which I followed for some distance, and in some way that I don't understand, I ended up back on the Relief Valley Trail
. You should continue to follow the creek until you are sure you are about to reach Long Lake, and if need be, be sure to have the Trail Run Project mobile app
so you don't veer off course.