Backpack: Chocolate Lakes Bishop Creek - Hosted by Palm Springs Chapter

  • Tue, August 21, 2018
  • 9:30 AM
  • Fri, August 24, 2018
  • Bishop Pass

For more information and to register, visit:  https://greatoutdoorspalmsprings.wildapricot.org/event-2796348


The Bishop Pass area is one of the most popular destinations in the Eastern Sierras, offering the visitor an amazing succession of beautiful lakes and spectacular views of the Inconsolable Range, Hurd Peak and Mount Agassiz. Our loop trip takes us into the Chocolate Lakes and the South Forth Bishop Creek basins.   Competition can be fierce for overnight permits in this area so we’ve chosen a mid-week trip later in the season to ensure access to the best camping spots.

  • Rating: Moderate on-trail backpacking.  Short hiking distances but with steep switchbacks at high elevation. 
  • Total Distance: About 10 miles over four days
  • Elevation range: between 9,700 feet and 11,200 feet

First Day: We meet at 9:30am at the Bishop Pass trailhead next to South Lake (9,700 feet).  Day one follows the Bishop Pass trail until we reach the fork for Bull Lake, taking the side trail into the Chocolate Lakes valley. Total elevation gain 1,400 feet in just three miles to our camp at the second Chocolate Lake.  

Day two:  Our second day takes us up the saddle and down past Ruwau Lake to Long Lake where we’ll search for the optimal spot and set up our two night basecamp.  We gain and lose about 300 feet during our 2 mile hike to Long Lake.  Arriving camp relatively early in the day, and unencumbered by the weight of our packs, we’ll organize an afternoon cross-country hike to explore lovely Margaret Lake.

Day three:  We’ll pack our lunch for a full day of exploring the chain of lakes leading up to Bishop Pass: Saddlerock Lake, Ledge Lake, Bishop Lake and the Timberline Tarns. Some may prefer a quieter, more meditative day in the camp in Long Lake.

Day four:  We’ll get a leisurely start to our day and hike the four miles back down to the cars, dropping 1,000 feet. 

Arrive the day before:  All participants are strongly advised to travel the day before (Monday, Aug 20th) and camp overnight at the La Hupp or Willows campground.  This gives you the peace of mind of (i) performing your final gear check and (ii) ensuring that you begin acclimatizing to the high altitude a day before you hike

Hiking capabilities/qualifications:  You must be in good physical condition, be able to hike four miles at high altitude (over 9,700 feet throughout the trip), and carry a backpack that weighs 35 pounds on-trail hiking gaining 1,400 feet

How to register:   After you complete the preregistration here, you will be contacted by the leader via phone to discuss your backpacking experience, equipment, and overall physical condition to participate in this high altitude, remote backcountry adventure.  This screening process is necessary to ensure your safety and the safety of the group and make the trip enjoyable to all. 

Leader: Mike Seay, email

Fees / Other:

•  Wilderness Permit and Fees: $10 per participant. This covers the Wilderness Permit and other associated costs. Payment will be collected at the trailhead

• Food and Equipment: All participants will be responsible for their own food, tent, stove, bear canister, etc. Participants are encouraged, however, to share stoves and cooking equipment to reduce weight of their packs. No fires are allowed in the backcountry.

•  Carpooling and arrival: Participants should arrive the day before and camp overnight at or near the trailhead to acclimate to the high altitude. The leader will circulate a list of participants several weeks before the trip to facilitate carpooling and provides details on where to camp.

What to bring:  You’ll need your ten essentials and all required backpacking gear (food, stove, tent, sleeping bag, appropriate clothing, bear-proof food container, hiking poles, etc.).

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