Our 10.92 mile long climb up to Brown Bear Pass from the Gate at Kennedy Meadows Pack Station bends Southeast just past the halfway point, which is where our Southbound trail Tees out and turns Left at the trail junction off the Southeast shore of Relief Reservoir.
The trail to the West-Southwest, the Right, leads to Lower Relief Valley.
We turn Left with the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route, to the Southeast, to begin the climb funneling us up and into the center of the mouth of a great valley dividing an amazing interface between volcanic and granite terrain roughly marked out by the route of Summit Creek up to its headwaters on the North flank of Brown Bear Pass.
To our Left dark red volcanic terrain dominates the Northern flank of the canyon, rising up to the hulking mass of Relief Peak. To our South the shining granites of Granite Dome's magnificant peak and its associated formations emerge each hard step we take climbing higher out of cool forests.
South of Saucer Meadow a flat section between the granite and volcanic terrain opens up some excellent scrambling opportunities for access to Granite Dome and its scattering of lakes.
At the end of this segment of trail, as we are climbing towards Brown Bear Pass, expansive views of this striking granite-volcanic interface opens up with our increasing altitude. Our view looking up at this different colors and textures of this interface as we hiked the lower segment of trail is completed by our overview of this striking terrain as we approach Brown Bear Pass.
The granite on the South side of Summit Creek is as beautiful for its own qualities as is the hulking volcanic mass of Relief Peak to our North, yet it is the juxtaposition of these terrains that emphasizes and reinforces the beauty of each.
This grand interface lays out a clear chapter of geological history at our feet.
The trail junction over Mosquito Pass situated between Lunch Meadow and Brown Bear Pass hikes us over a low pass to Emigrant Lake. The trail option over Mosquito Pass opens up nice backpacking loop options around the Emigrant Basin. Emigrant Lake is the third lake in the series of lakes descending Southwest from Emigrant Meadow along the North Cherry Creek within a stunning granite valley.
Emigrant Meadow lays on the South side of Brown Bear Pass. We can loop back to Summit Creek by threading our route through Mosquito and Brown Bear Passes. Or we can push further Southeast beyond Emigrant Lake before we turn back towards Brown Bear Pass.
The map above lays out our potential routes into and out of Emigrant Basin along both the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trails. Hike one route into the Emigrant Basin, and the other out.
Hike on over Mosquito Pass to Emigrant Lake. Now we have even more options to loop back to Summit Creek. First, to hike a nice loop back to this junction via Brown Bear Pass. From Emigrant Lake hike up North Cherry Creek past Blackbird, Middle Emigrant and Emigrant Meadow Lakes to connect with the TYT in Emigrant Meadow.
Second, continue Southeast past Blackbird Lake and Maxwell Lakes to Horse Meadow. Climbing out the top of the canyon above Horse Meadow leads to Grizzly Peak. It is a short hike Northwest to Brown Bear Pass, and another potential return route to Kennedy Meadows.
Check out route options on the map above and on this 30 minute map:
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Wilderness
High Altitude Trail Map
Those squares breaking the USGS maps up into grids are the Universal Transverse Mercator / Military Grid Reference System, otherwise commonly known as UTM.
What's important for our general reference purpose is that each side of a square is 1000 meters, or a Kilometer.
From my point of view that is 1093.6 yards or .62 of a mile.
Diagonal: 1414.22 meters, if my trig is correct.
That converts the diagonal distance into 4,639.8 feet or .88 of a mile.
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