Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Crabtree Trail- Emigrant Wilderness- Stanislaus National Forest- CA

This hike is an outback or loop trail. We hiked about 25 miles in this area over the course of four days. We chose this area based on the reported quality of fishing along the hike. We saw plenty of fish along this hike, but had little luck catching any. The hike presented many different landscapes, but mostly dry granite, with sparse trees, lakes, meadows, and ponds speckled throughout. We had to cross 5 rivers/streams that forced us to take our shoes off and fjord across. Other streams could be crossed by logs or rock hopping. Most of the trail is clearly marked with a few areas forcing you to wondering around. We arrived early in the season. As a result, snow, flooded areas, and fallen trees made our route less direct. We ran into many deer, a few snakes, and various other rodents. No signs of bears or cougars. At night, the sounds of frogs took over. During the day, mosquitoes ruled. Make sure to bring a bug net at least for your head. Me and my friend were debating if this was the worst we have experienced for mosquitoes and I think we both agreed it was. We found ourselves, at times, literally running down a trail with our packs trying to get away from them. Not fun. For fishing, Deer lake may have been a little too cold, although we tried! We focused on the stream coming in to the lake as we could see all the fish sitting in the streams. We tried a variety of baits, tackle, and techniques. Just not interested. Because not all the lakes allow you to camp, plan out your hike beforehand. We didn't really do this and found ourselves stuck at a place with no camping so we decided to just hike the remainder out. Camp lake and Gem lake seemed to have more active fish. We encountered maybe 10 people total. All very nice. The flowers were just blooming and were beautiful sticking out from the granite and pine trees. The streams and lakes were cold but a good chance to clean off and cool down. A great hike for seclusion, high sierra country, fishing, and having options. You can lengthen or shorten your trip almost anywhere along the hike. I recommend this hike whether for backpacking or just a day hike. Make sure to stop at the ranger station to get the overnight permit, fire permit, and ask around about what to do and see.


  1. Thank you VERY much for this information. We are going to start at Crabtree, camp at various lakes, MAYBE hike as far as Emigrant Lake and return by looping down or simply backtracking. We will be out there at the end of July and hope the "skeets" will have died down. But your info is spot on for us since we will be trying to catch some trout. Thanks much!

  2. Questions:
    1) How easy or difficult was it to find fire wood? Did you have plenty at your camp sites or did you have to collect some along the way?
    2) How was the terrain? Lots of elevation change or was it fairly level?
    3) What kind of tackle did you use to try for trout (if you don't mind sharing secrets)?