Back to index Grouse Lake Hike

Trip Date:  08/12/2017

: 12.5 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1100'

Group Size: 3

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Grouse Lake Route
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Grouse Lake Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 38.446, W 119 57.300     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No
Parking Directions:  
Take Highway 88 to Blue Lakes road and turn south.  Follow the road for a little more than 15 miles to the parking area on the left between the two lakes.    There is a sign here on the right for the middle campground area.
Hazards of Note:   Water crossing in early summer.  Mosquitos, ticks, and trail navigation the last mile to Grouse Lake.

Crowd Factor:   Moderate to Minimal past Granite Lake.
General Notes:
From the parking area, head west across the metal bridge spanning the outflow from Upper Blue Lake to find the trailhead sign just on the other side.  If the water crossing over the creek out of the lake is too high to easily cross, from the trailhead sign head parallel along the actual dam and cross a bridge right at the base of the dam at a small structure.  Pick up the trail on the other side and head along the creek until this use trail meets up with the regular path.  The first mile will take you through a forested section until you reach the signed boundary for the Mokelumne Wilderness.  Soon after this point you will pass on the south side of a small, unnamed pond, and then begin a gradual climb into more and more open area up to the spot about 2 miles along the trail where you reach Granite Lake.  This is a popular spot for people to camp or day hikers to turn around at, but you will follow along the south and then west shores until you reach a junction off to the left which typically has a stack of rocks (cairn) marking the junction.
From this point on the trail will become much less frequented, and you will journey through a couple of meadows and wind around until you begin a pretty constant uphill rise after 3 miles which will mostly continue on up to the high point just past Deadwood Peak off to your right.  From this point, about a mile away from Grouse Lake you will begin a steep descent of about 700' in elevation over the last mile to the lake.

A very creative rock early on the trail which has been decorated up to resemble a monsterous character of some type.
Creative Rock

This tree is pretty tough and has been able to survive some fairly traumatic events over its lifetime.
Tough Tree 

With all of the rains this last year this unnamed pond on the way to Granite Lake looks as nice now as it ever has.
Unnamed pond 

Greg and Mark on the trail as the elevation gain begins in earnest.
Greg and Mark 

A nice look at the east end of Granite Lake from the south part of the trail.
Granite Lake 

A little ways past Granite Lake is an overlook of Meadow Lake and Jackass Canyon off to the left, which also has cell service coming from far off Mt. Reba.
Meadow Lake

A look southwest toward Mokelumne Peak from a vantage point a little ways past Granite Lake.
Mokelumne Pea 

As the trail climbs higher past Granite Lake some good views of Deadwood Peak appear to the north.  From the high point of the trail here you can make a worthy cross-country trek up to the top of this peak.
Deadwood Peak

A series of springs which cross the trail along the the base of Deadwood Peak provide a bonanza of meadows and wildflowers.

An unnamed meadow far below the trail is the benefactor of a number of the springs from Deadwood mountain.  Jackass canyon can be made out in the distance as well as Mt. Reba in to the far left.
Meadow and Canyon

Beginning the final descent down toward Grouse Lake there are great views of Summit City Canyon in the distance, near where Telephone Gulch drops down from near the western area of the Mokelumne Wilderness.
Summit City Canyon

Just a small sampling of the bounty of wildflowers found all along the trail, including these pink flowers surrounded by columbine.
Wildflower bonanza

The first look at the picturesque setting of Grouse Lake tucked into a granite bowl.
First look at Grouse First look at Grouse

A great spot for a lunch stop on the eastern end of the lake.
Lunch Spot

Mark offering some information on this area of the Mokelumne Wilderness.

There was a high viewpoint past the western end of the lake that we thought would provide a good look down into Summit City Canyon.  What it provided was a great view of the mile of terrain before we would be able to look down into the canyon.

Mark and Greg B exploring the area past the lake on the western end.
Greg B and Mark

My vantage point past the lake.

GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike