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2016: Leavitt Meadow–West Walker River

July 18, 2016

Hoover Wilderness / Leavitt Meadow up the West Walker River (Semi-loop)
(≈28 miles)

Nick, Tom, Daro

July 14-17

This was a MeetUp hike organized by Tom.

I left home at 5:45am to meet Tom at 6:30am, then we picked up Daro, and headed to the trailhead, with a stop to pick up lunch food. We wanted an early start to get in some miles that day. We arrived at the Leavitt Meadows trailhead around noon and had lunch there.

Day 1: Leavitt Meadows trailhead to Lane Lake (4 miles)
Day 2: Lane Lake to crossing of Walker River where forks to Cascade Falls. (8 miles)
Day 3: Walker River campsite to Lane Lake via Long Lake (12 miles)
Day 4: Lane Lake to trailhead (4 miles)

2016 Leavitt topo

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Full Trip: 7,100′ – 8,000′ – 7,100′

Day 1: Leavitt Meadows trailhead to Lane Lake (3.5 miles)

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Day 1: 7,100′ – 7,500 – 7,300


Daro, Tom, Nick at trailhead

We headed out at about 1:00pm. There was a new bridge and an old bridge, we crossed the river over the old bridge, though it turned out both bridges led to the same place. Pretty much right away you head into the meadow, which is basically open sage, the trail following along the edge of the hills paralleling the river but not right along it. There is a stable nearby, and we were passed by horse trains talking people or gear back to the lakes several times. This also means plenty of horse shit on the trail.

At one place where a train of horse had stopped, we were walking around them, when a rider decides to get on his horse, it got spooked and bolted a bit up the hill, and suddenly we were divided by a couple of spooked horses. It took a few minutes before they calmed the horses and got them back on trail so we could all get by.


Leavitt Meadows

After a mile or so the trail leaves the meadow and heads up into the woods, and soon you officially enter the Hoover Wilderness.

First you come to Roosevelt Lake, where there did not appear to be any camping. Right after it is Lane Lake. We arrived at about 3:00pm. There is a spot right off the trail at the north end. Then the trail goes over a ridge to get to the south end, where there are a couple of developed spots. There is a nice flat rocky area for water access and to hang out at or fish at.


Lane Lake

The water was refreshing for a good swim, cold but warm enough to actually swim. We spotted some crawfish along the shore. While mosquitoes were not nonexistent, they were not an issue. There were some biting flies that were annoying.


Campsite at Lane Lake


Day 2: Lane Lake to crossing of Walker River where forks to Cascade Falls. (8 miles)

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Day 2: 7,300′ – 8,100′

We broke camp and headed out at about 8:00am. Originally we had planned to get up to Cinko Lake and spend the next day there, but Daro was not up to that long a hike, and especially that long a hike back out. Instead we decided to stay on the trail along the river the whole way and camp up at about the 11-mile mark—where the trail split off to cross the river—according to Tom’s notes there were supposed to be good camping there.



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At the fork to Fremont Lake (about 11:00am) we decided to try the trail that was marked as going along the west side of the river. The mosquitoes were annoying there, and in various places, where there was marshy area they got pretty bad.


Nick Fording West Walker River

After fording the river and looking around we could not find that trail and ended up re-crossing. (In talking to a ranger later, we found out that that trail does not really exist anymore)The whole endeavor cost us bout an hour. (I actually crossed and re-crossed another time, as after getting across, Daro asked me where my poles were—and I had left them on the other side).

We got to the crossing at probably 2:00ish, but could not find a good spot there. Also the mosquitoes were really bad. We ended up going back a half mile or so, scouting off trail along the river until we found a good spot, which was further from any marshy areas. By the time found camp and got set up it was 3:00ish, so decided not to take a side trip, and we just hung around the campsite and river.


Daro setting up camp

The mosquitoes were not bad until the sun went down at about 7, when they got annoying but not horrible.


Day 3: Walker River campsite to Lane Lake via Long Lake (12 miles)


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Day 3: 8,100- 8,600 – 7,400

We had some discussion the night before about the next days plan and decided to head at least part way out to make the last day shorter, so we did not end up taking a layover day to visit Cinko Lake, or Dorothy Pass (another idea we had had). Instead we looked at stopping at Hidden Lake, but going back by way of Long Lake and Fremont Lake.


Horses by the fork to the ford

We again left camp at about 8:00am. We headed south maybe 1 quarter or half mile to where there was a river crossing. (by a campsite where there were people with eight horses). In talking to a couple of guys there, they mentioned a log crossing. Daro decided to Ford, while Tom and I detoured to the log. It turned out not to be worth it, as by the time we got to the log and back to the trail on the other side, Daro already pretty much had his shoes on, and besides, Tom and my shoes were damp form dew crossing through the grass.


Tom crossing the log

Then the trail headed up the ridge. Along the way the mosquitoes did get bad—especially by the Long Lakes. The trail is mostly woodsy. We stopped for lunch (and me a dip) at Fremont Lake which was just about a tenth of a mile off trail, and very lovely.


We left Fremont at about 1:00pm. When we got to the Hidden Lake turn-off at about 2:30, we debated staying there or going on. One second hand report we heard said that the skeeters were bad at Hidden Lake, and we knew Lane Lake was okay, but there was also the draw of a new place. In the end we decided to play it safe and go to Lane Lake. That would also get us out earlier the next day for the long drive home.


Anglers at Lane Lake

We arrived at Lane Lake by 4:00pm, and camped in the site next to our first one on the South side of the Lake. We did have another family not too far from us this time, but they were not noisy. Again we got in a dip at the Lake.


Day 4: Lane Lake to trailhead (3.5 miles)

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An 8:00am start again, and walked directly out. We used the new bridge just to be different on the way out. We were at the car by 9:40. Then the drive home.


To see more of my photos from this trip click here


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