Kennedy Lake 2013

Kennedy Lake is a rather spectacular sub-alpine lake carved into the terminus of one of the longest and widest glacially created canyons in the Emigrant Wilderness. Kennedy Peak and the surrounding ridgelines of volcanic origins tower nearly 3000’ above the lake and help visitors maintain an appropriate level of personal cosmic insignificance. The trail and lake can best be described as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Emigrant. Because the lake is relatively low in elevation (~7800’) it is usually the first and best bet for lake fishing after the snowpack starts to melt. It’s also one of the most beautiful areas on Earth- in the right time of year. Going on a weekday in early June pretty much assures you’ll have the lake all to yourself for some of the most spectacular sunset fishing you could possibly imagine. The wildlife sightings and sounds are also amazing in June. However, once July hits the area must turn into a beast that I never want to witness. Cattle are driven into the lands surrounding the lake to graze for several weeks. Previous year’s cow pies still litter the land but provide great nutrients for the brown trout in the lake. I can only imagine what this area must have once looked like without the invasive stock. The hike into the lake also has multiple personalities: a fairly level first mile – a steep, hot and dry climb for the next three miles, two miles of rolling dust in sparse forest which then culminates in one of the most perfect views on Earth for the last mile’s hike to camp. You can read the full description in my other Kennedy Lake BP description, but my one piece of advice is this: Start your hike before 6am at Kennedy Meadows. If you hustle, you can be at camp by 10am before it gets too hot.
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