THE GUIDE TO BACKPACKING KENNEDY LAKE
Are you looking for an easy weekend backpacking trip close to San Francisco? This is the perfect backpacking trip for you.
Getting here is quite easy. And it is only a singles day hike which makes for the perfect weekend trip! It is located in the Emigrant Wilderness which is just 4 hours outside of San Francisco. It is about 50 miles east of Sonora off Hwy 108.
June through October are the best times weather-wise to visit Emigrant Wilderness; however, the trail does tend to open in May when the snow has cleared the roads.
You will need a Wilderness Permits for the hike which can be picked up at the Summit Ranger Station near Pinecrest or the Bridgeport Ranger Station in Bridgeport.
Plan to park your car at the trailhead parking lot which is about a quarter of a mile from Kennedy Meadows. You will also need to purchase an overnight parking permit for your car which can be done from the general store which is located near the trailhead.
HIKING TO KENNEDY LAKE
This moderately trafficked backpacking trail is about 15.5 miles round trip.
During your hike, you will have about a 1500 foot elevation gain.
The hike begins just past the parking lot and the general store. The actual trail enters the Emigrant Wilderness at the end of the meadow.
You will cross two bridges on this backpacking trail. After crossing the first bridge you will begin a steep ascent up an old construction road.
You will then come across the second bridge.
Generally, the trail stays alongside the creek.
I suggest you start looking for a campsite at this point.
If you are looking for another fun weekend backpacking trip check out Vicente Flat in Big Sur.
CAMPING AT KENNEDY LAKE
Please observe this rule as it helps protect the nature around the area.
I say this because when I went on this trip the ground around the lake was all marshy.
My suggestion is that you set up camp and then do a small hour-long hike to the Lake to take in the views.
ACTIVITIES WHILE CAMPING
Fishing is among the most popular activities to do at this location. You can find rainbow and brown trout in the lake. Supposedly, the best time is the early mornings or sunset time.
Explore the old log cabin.
Photography-There are so many beautiful scenes along this route that you will have a hard time choosing what to take a picture of. They are all so good!
Keep in mind though that if you choose to further extend your hike you will no longer be able to have a campfire past 9000 feet.
As far as wildlife goes: bears tend not to cause a problem, but it is still recommended that you either hang your food or place it away from your campsite. Other creatures around this area are deer, gray fox’s’, fish and mosquitoes!
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM AN EXPERIENCED BACKPACKER
Although this backpacking trail is rated as difficult, I would still recommend it to a beginner. The mileage is not too long and the inclines are only for short periods of time.
I suggest starting this hike in the early morning so that you have time to relax and hang out at camp. Bring a deck of cards or a book and enjoy the sounds of nature around you.
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