We were hoping to find a trail that wouldn’t be very crowded on Saturday, and McGee Creek turned out to be a great choice. It’s located off 395 on McGee Creek Rd west of Crowley Lake, about 8 miles south of Mammoth Lakes, and as we were driving up the canyon to get to the trail head we knew this was going to be good.
There’s a fairly large parking lot, but it wasn’t even half full, although there were a few horse trailers with 5 riders getting ready to go. Not too far along the trail splits, but we discovered you can take any of the forks as they all merge into the main trail above the creek. We opted to stay on the low trail through the aspens close to the water. The leaves are still green at 8,000 feet.
But that sure changed as we began the continuous climb up the canyon into the John Muir Wilderness.
One of the creek crossings. Glad I wasn’t on it when it collapsed.
At around two miles we were supposed to come to Horsetail Falls, but we never did find it. We decided to keep going and the trail leveled off so we continued. At 3.5 miles we came to a lake formed by a beaver dam. You have to look closely to see the dam.
It formed a pretty good sized lake.
We got to talking to a gentleman from San Diego, so we walked along with him until the next footbridge, where we all decided to turn around.
Not sure I could have made it across this one, anyway. It looked worse in person.
Our big wildlife sighting.
The trail continues to climb on for many more miles, to an old mine and several lakes. We ended up doing 7.7 miles, a good hike for us.
If you aren’t into hiking, there is a lovely picnic area in the aspens along the creek by the parking lot. In another couple weeks the fall colors should really be something to see.
We were very tired and hungry when we finished, so we decided to go to Mammoth Lakes and try out the pizza at Smokeyard BBQ. Who would have thought a barbeque place could do such a fabulous job with a roasted veggie pizza? We thought it was about the best we’ve had anywhere, and Jim told the waitress. A few minutes later the chef came out with a bowlful of “catsup chips” to get our opinion. It’s something they were experimenting with, and boy were they good. Homemade potato chips with catsup seasoning. Sounds odd, but tasted great. The beer we washed them down with wasn’t too bad, either. Another fine day in the Eastern Sierra.