Vermilion Valley Resort
Can anyone tell me which map set this falls on? I can't find it on my Harrison maps. thanks.
It's off to the left of map 8 on the far end of Edison Lake. An alternative of taking the ferry, or walking the Mono Creek Trail, is taking the Goodale Pass trail and the Bear Ridge Trail.
Last edited by Sly; 01-04-2010 at 19:01.
thanks a million. i thought it was south of muir trail ranch. ooops.
there's no resupply south of Muir Ranch unless you hike out or pay packers to come and meet you somewhere.
I believe there is a Harrison map that covers VVR, but it is not part of the JMT set.
Goodale Pass is neat, but do not be fooled when you leave the JMT to head that way you cannot see the pass. It does go through a meadow area near water with plenty of places to camp. The trail eventually ends in a parking lot, stay left and it is about a mile or so road walk downhill to the VVR. You only get a small view of the lake along the trail and do not be fooled by a trail that appears to head off toward the lake. Stay right even though the trail starts to swing away from the lake. The junction was not marked.
If you plan to hike out of VVR rather than taking the boat. Avoid the Bear Ridge Trail that horses use, take the Bear Creek Trail. It is only a gradual climb and the creek is beautiful. If you carry a fishing rod you will be using it!
The only drawback is that it is a 3 mile road walk to the trailhead, so hitch a ride if you can. Near the end of the trail only a short distance before the jct with the JMT, there are excellent tentsites with water nearby only a short distance before the jct with the JMT. There are tentsites lower, too, right next to the creek.
Do not be fooled by the cut-off trail over to the Bear Creek Trail. If you are just using the JMT Harrison set you will not see that the trail goes up, but then back down to get to the Creek. The trail seems to be going away from the JMT and down as though going back to the road. I almost turned around. Just keep hiking, however, listen for the creek and the trail eventually swings back and follows that wonderful creek almost all the way back up to the JMT.
in early season (before mid July) bear ridge doesn't get used by any horse packers. We went up there last July, around the 10th, and the guys at the resort told us that no packers had been up yet because of the snow on the passes. The trail was perfect, no dust, water and even a bog to cross, which I know from previous hikes in drought years in the late 80s doesn't always happen. I expected to be dry from the lake until just before hitting Bear Creek on the way down from the ridge, but there was plenty of clean spring water on the trail. Obviously, that doesn't always happen, but if you're up there early and it's not a drought year, that route is much nicer than trying to get up to the trailhead of the alternate route along Bear Creek. I doubt anyone will give you a ride up that 4x4 road to the trailhead, but if you're lucky and somebody does, that is the easier way to reconnect with the JMT.
Originally Posted by Rambler
Yes, I wasted a lot of time trying to find the trailhead. The inn keeper at VVR who recommended the Bear Creek Trail did not tell me how far it was. I thought it was much closer, near the campsite by the dam. It was not shown on the JMT maps. I had actually turned around headed back toward VVR a bit miffed, when a car came by and gave me a lift. Some hikers were being picked up at VVR who had another couple of hitch hikers, too. VVR used to run a shuttle to Fresno, but it became too costly. I had not stayed the night at VVR, so it was about mid-day early PM when I left there. Someone at VVR would probably given me a lift if I had asked.
That is nice to know about the Bear Ridge trail, H-Fishmonger, most, who do not go by boat, hike it, but the Creek Trail is a gem and locals do go there to fish. I found it an easy gradual climb back to the JMT. (August)
If staying at VVR, I would recommend the boat. It leaves early enough and after a good breakfast!
BTW The trailhead to Bear Creek I used was right along the paved road leading away from VVR. It was not up any dirt road. It was just after a long bridge as I remember. People staying at the camp ground just before VVR had no recollection of having seen any trailhead, but it was well marked and right on the main road.
The harrison Map that shows these trail around VVR is the High Country Mono Divide. This map is on paper like the JMT set and has the trail mileage right on the trails. ($8.95)
The Devil's Postpile Map zooms in on the trails around Reds Meadow such as Garnet, Thousand Island, the Minarets and others. Note these are not the maps shown when you click on them at the website. They are easy to read and in good detail, just like the JMT set.
here's the combined 24k USGS map view of the area - red the bear ridge trail if you come across the dam marked in red, where the map does not show any trail. It leaves from the small parking lot at the east end of the dam and meets up with the ridge trail as shown on the orignal map. Actually, I think the original trail is barely used at all. The first quarter mile is rather steep on the trail we took, but after that it seems to follow the original grade.
Originally Posted by Rambler
marked in orange lower down the 4WD road to Bear Creek Diversion Dam, which is what I consider the route to the trail up the creek. Few will give you a ride to the trailhead, which is at the dam. Where did you use a trail that wasn't a dirt road? I am not aware of any other way to get there.
I've heard of a horse trail that crosses bear ridge and connects down to bear creek, and somewhere I've seen it (could be zoomed into the google sat images of the area, but I really don't remember). Perhaps that is what you used? Did you go back down into the valley at all, or was it all uphill from where you started the hike?
I'm hoping to do the creek route this summer, since I want some variation from the last two summers (JMT and Bear Ridge), but I really don't want to hike up that road to the dam if I can avoid it.
here's the diversion dam area on google maps so you can zoom around and look for the trail you took http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...23518&t=h&z=16
To Rambler and Helmuth.Fishmunger, I have limited experience with either Bear Creek and Bear Ridge Trls. Take into account that I'm typically hiking in a northerly direction(down hill towards VVR or Mono Hot Spings/Mono PO) when taking either of these routes. But, for me, even when I'm heading south from VVR, either of these trails are preferable to me than getting back(ferry, hike) across to the northern side of Lake Edison, hiking the Lake Edison Ferry spur trail, and then heading up and south over Bear Mountain. HM, thanks for the heads up on the early season trail conditions on the BR Tr. It has always seemed a little beaten down and eroded when I was on it. It's why I tend to want to avoid the uphill hike on this trail. Glad to know it's not always like that. Yes, I also enjoy hiking the Bear Creek Tr. It is a fishing worthy tumbling Sierra creek. I hear there are Brown trout in there. Some decent campsites are along this trail too. The BC Tr. is frequented by fisherman and sometimes whitewater kayakers. Last yr(Fall 2009), there was signage describing a Bear Ridge Cut-off Tr on the Bear Ck Tr that I suppose went over to the Bear Ridge Tr. I've never taken it. From my topos, it seemed to be too much down/up/down. It is on one of my maps. Not listed on all my maps of this area though. This cut-off may be what you are looking for HM. Heading south from near VVR(near Lake Edison Dam) on the BRT and taking the cut-off to the BCT may be a way to avoid that 3 mile dirt road walk(and the paved road travel on the Mono Hot Springs Rd. to the dirt road that goes to BCT TH). But again, it seems like a lot of up and down to me and not really sure if it even saves trail miles. It will save road miles. The BCT does have a TH sign near the dam(not the Lake Edison dam) where the trail stops and the dirt road begins. It is up on a rocky forested hill. There are sometimes cars at the BCT TH. Look for them if you are going SOBO and looking for this TH. If you've reached the dam on Bear Ck in this area you are very near the BCT TH. This Fall there was also a protected WP topo map attached to this TH sign that showed the trails in the area including the cut-off. The dirt road to/from this TH is every bit of 3 miles, IMO. I've had to wait on two separate ocassions but I've always managed to get a ride down to the paved narrow road leading to VVR. Most likely, one would have to walk it in either direction - Little traffic! Getting a ride on the paved road to/from VVR is much easier.
not knowing the exact routing of the cutoff trail, I can't really say if it is going to be more up-down than the BR trail southbound. You are heading up to the top of Bear Ridge to meet the JMT, only to drop back down to Bear Creek when you choose that route. I assume the cutoff trail would leave the BR trail earlier and drop down before you follow the creek, most likely with about the same net up and down.
Thing is, I never saw a trail branch off from the BR trail, so if that cutoff exists, it is going to be hard to find.
Going back by boat only to head up the 50+ switchbacks of hte JMT is definitely not worth it, especially since the boat schedule isn't early-riser friendly. I think we were on top of Bear Ridge last summer at the hour the boat leaves for the far end of the lake from VVR. Below from their site:
The following shuttle schedule is for the upcoming season (from approximately June through October):
9:00 am... Leave Vermilion Valley Resort
9:45 am... Leave Mono Creek Landing
4:00 pm... Leave Vermilion Valley Resort
4:45 pm... Leave Mono Creek Landing
I took the BR Trail southbound from VVR in September and it seemed fine to me. (wasn't that hard to find either) However, in August, I guess I could see it getting used by horses but you'll likely see them anyway.
You're understanding my exact sentiments HM. If you wind up finding and taking the cut-off in the near future HM, I would like to know your follow up thoughts, especially if you take it from BR T to BC T.
Sly, we were talking about finding the cut-off trail(horse trail between BR T and BC T ?, in order to eliminate travel on roads, not the BRT TH). Have you ever taken it? I will, one day, also take the Goodall Pass alternate in/out of VVR as you suggested.
Shartooth Peak covers the area just to the left (northwest) of the quad that Helmuth,Fishmonger refers to, goto p. 12
Actually go here: and click on "Fresno": Then scroll to "Graveyard Peak" on page 5
Mt. Abbot on p. 8 will cover one more quad to the east and get you back to the JMT.
The Tom Harrison Map is the "Mono Divide High Country" map.
For the entire JMT:
The first photo is looking to the north, the others to the east.
When northbound, caution with Goodale Pass in early season. The south side will be clear of snow when on the north side you may still need crampons and ice pick to safely descend to the trail near Lake of the Lone Indian. We were heading south last year and came up to the two variants that take you to the pass from the lake. Both had not been crossed by anyone on July 7, and what I recall as a 100 feet of snow from other hikes that time of year was a solid snow/ice wall of at least 300 feet and 45 degree angle. Heading south, you can always cross over to the JMT and use Silver Pass, which will also have snow, but won't be anywhere near as steep and dangerous. Going north, once you are on Goodale Pass, forces you to descend whatever is on the other side. Rule of thumb - if there's a lot of snow on Mather and Muir Pass, expect the north of Goodale to be difficult.
The photo below shows the conditions last July near the routes that lead to Goodale Pass from the north. You can't actually see the Goodale Pass routes from the lake (behind the ridge in the front) but it is representative for the terrain above those lakes This is seen from Silver Pass (the actual pass, not the high point on the crest)
45 degree angle is very steep!
Oh, I just took the BRT which was fine.
Originally Posted by Dogwood
All the passes in the High Sierra can be hazardous in early season. OP will be there in August.
Originally Posted by Helmuth.Fishmonger
what I am trying to say - Gooodale can be a trap, and the north side is WAY more dangerous than any JMT pass in early season, and I've been there, on all of them.
Originally Posted by Sly
The thing about taking Goodale Northbound is that once you commit to go up that Valley, it's a long haul to get up, and you get up easily, but once you are up and find the other side to be a dangerous white slide into nothing, it will be very hard to stomach the mistake and hike back down to Vermillion and take the much safer Silver Pass route.
In terms of a gut feel danger rating for early season, I'd put the JMT passes in this order, most dangerous on top, safest on bottom. This is for the entire pass, some time in early to mid June after a good snow winter, usually at a time when the south side is already mostly clear:
Goodale would be #1 on this list if it was JMT
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