No campfires are allowed.
Old maps show a trail going up the south side of Golden Creek; however, bushes have completely overgrown the lower 2/3 of that trail. Currently, a use trail goes up the north side, starting from where Mono Creek Trail
crosses Golden Creek. This is about 3.2 miles below Mono Pass and 0.6 miles above the Fourth Recess Trail. Most of this trail is a pleasant, gradual climb up a beautiful canyon.The trail is narrow and rough, but not difficult. If you lose the trail, just work your way up the north side of the creek. Just before you reach the point where the canyon gets much steeper, cross the stream and find the old trail. The old trail is steep and unmaintained, but it has switchbacks and is mostly not too hard to follow. The trail ends on a low, sloping ridge just above Golden Lake and its outlet.
Camping is possible here, but I didn't notice any flat, cleared places and there are so few trees that any site would be exposed.
The low point on the ridge on the east side of the lake is only 11,500 feet. Mosquito Flat and Rock Creek are just below on the opposite side. Even though it is much lower than the 12,000 foot Mono Pass, it is obvious why the trail does not go this way. The upper part of the ridge is very narrow and it has almost vertical cliffs on both sides.
There is an old trail that follows Golden Creek from Summit Lake down to Golden Lake. Using this would enable a loop run that followed Golden Creek on the way down and the Mono Creek Trail
on the return. However, large snow patches on the steep slopes south and west of Golden Lake are some of the last to melt each season.