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Rae Lakes Loop questions

Seattle
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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Rae Lakes Loop questions

I hiked the whole John Muir Trail in my youth (25 years ago) and am still a fit hiker, but not wanting to take on the whole trail again. We would like to do 3-5 night backpacks along selected portions, and since I remember how beautiful the Rae Lakes Basin is, that would be our first choice.

I under stand the permit application window opens March 1 so I am preparing for that. Our hike would be in early September. I have two questions now, and maybe more later.

I read that the bridges over Woods Creek were destroyed by the heavy snow last winter, so in 2017 it was difficult ( and perhaps impossible) to cross, particularly early season. Thus many were doing the hike as an out-and -back on the trail used to enter for a counter-clockwise loop hike. We would not want to do that.

Have the bridges been replaced so they are ready for the 2018 season? And if not, would the creek crossings be a problem in September? We do not mind getting wet, but I do mind a strong current in deep water as I am small.

Second, assuming we can cross the creek, is there any reason we could not do an out-and-back on the Woods Creek trail instead of continuing on the clockwise loop after Rae Lakes? Everyone seem to talk about “the loop” but is it “traditional” or actually required? I am a bit concerned about the elevation of Glen Pass, together with the long descent ( more than 3500 feet if I read correctly). Oth my husband and I are much happier hiking uphill than down, due to foot and knee issues. Also, I know from frequent recent experience that I do not like hiking above 11,000 feet. I can do it, but I won’t be happy.

So we would much prefer to do an out-and -back that avoids Glen Pass and that steep descent. If I enter this itinerary on the permit form, will it decrease our chances of getting the permit? Or do they care?

Thanks for your help.

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Rae Lakes
Rae Lakes
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA
4 replies to this topic
Seattle
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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1. Re: Rae Lakes Loop questions

Anyone?

Laguna Beach...
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2. Re: Rae Lakes Loop questions

I called the ranger station last week and they said the bridge was still out. They are not sure if it will be fixed in time for the season. I can’t answer your other questions cause I haven’t been there but I don’t think I would want to do an out and back going counter clockwise and do glen pass twice. If you really want to see Rae Lakes perhaps come in from onion valley instead but that still means you do glen pass twice

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Rae Lakes
Rae Lakes
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA
The Hague, The...
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3. Re: Rae Lakes Loop questions

Hi,

I have the same plan/problem.

The bridge will not be rebuilt before 2019 according to the National Park service.

I have seen a Youtube video of people crossing the river over a big fallen tree downstream from the destroyed bridge, in September. The water was quite low, a ford would probably have been possible as well.

I have also seen a video of the river in July: then the river is impassable, te fallen tree is under water. Fording the river would be deadly. I read there were already 3 fatal accidents..

So your only chance is doing the hike as late as possible in the season, and do the crossing as early as possible in the morning.

Or do the hike out-and-back via Bubbs Creek Trail, which means climbing Glenn Pass twice.

As a back up plan I have made reservations for a permit for both options. I will discuss the situation with the ranger once I get there.

Good luck!

Seattle
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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4. Re: Rae Lakes Loop questions

I just re-visited this thread and saw your responses. Thank you! I had already cLled the ranger to ask about an out-and-back via Woods Creek and he said no problem in terms of chances. And he did not mention the bridge. But I did not think to ask.

We do have the permit, but that Bridge situation could be a problem. I am a small person but I do not mind a Ford in calm water; we did that on the Milford Track in New Zealand and Lso in Lyell Canyon last year. . A rushing stream however would be impossible. So It would depend on water levels in mid-September.

I will look at You Tube videos, but I usually do not do well on Fallen-log crossings due to balance issues.

I suppose we could hike to that point and turn back if it appears dicey.

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