Back to index Rockbound Pass Hike
Trip Date:  07/22/2016

: 12 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1600'

Group Size: 4

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Rockbound Pass Route
  Download GPX GPX for this trip
Rockbound Pass Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 50.063, W 120 02.641
or overflow parking at
N 38 50.542, W 120 14.120
    End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 50 to Wrights Lake Road, and head approximately 8 miles north until you get to the entrance to the Wrights Lake recreation area (if this gate is closed you have to park just to the right before this spot and add a mile to the hike from this location each way.)  Turn right at the junction and drive along the south end of the lake for a mile until you reach the Desolation Wilderness Trailhead parking area at the coordinates provided.
Hazards of Note:   The trail is rocky along the first part, there are a number of possible false trails you can take as well.  Just head either north from the bridge you cross or head to the Rockbound Pass trailhead on the west side of Wrights Lake. Crowd Factor:   Moderate at the start, as there are many destinations from this trailhead including Twin/Island Lakes, Grouse/Smith Lakes and Tyler/Gertrude Lakes.  Once you get onto the Rockbound Pass trail, the potential crowd factor will drop significantly.
General Notes:
The first part of this hike crosses a small bridge right at the Desolation Wilderness permit kiosk near the parking area.  Continue north on the Tyler Lake trail until you reach the intersection with the Rockbound trail, which converge for less than half a mile before they split off again.  A half mile ahead is the junction for Tyler Lake, and you will head sharply to the left on the way up the Rockbound Trail.  Within the next 1/2 mile is a creek crossing across the outlet stream from Maud Lake, and if it is flowing high you will have a cold crossing of nearly waist high water.

Once you cross you will soon find yourself in a very open, granite-laden section of the trail, which will climb up to Maud Lake, about 4 miles into the hike.  The east end of Maud Lake has a nice resting spot, and from this point on you will start to climb up the last 900' of elevation to the pass.  Once at the pass, a short distance ahead you will be greeted with a great view toward Rockbound Valley and even the Velma Lakes beyond, as well as Doris Lake in the foreground.  It is only about 1/4 mile from the pass, and is a very inviting destination.

Since this is a hike into Desolation Wilderness, you will need a day permit (free at the trailhead) and the group size limit is 12.

Just past the main trailhead parking lot is this Wilderness signin kiosk.  You will need a day pass from here and then head across the bridge for this adventure. Permit kiosk
Looking east near the trail start you have a good look toward Blue Mountain and some of the peaks on the way to Mt. Price. Crystal Range 
This early bridge gets you across the Wrights Lake inlet, and it was heavily damaged on this day from the severe winter just passed. Bridge
The first clear sighting of Rockbound Pass, once in the summer and once in the early spring thaw. First good sighting of Rockbound Pass First good sighting of Rockbound Pass
Crossing the stream which comes from the outlet of Maud Lake a mile further up the trail from here. Crossing the stream
Much of the section of trail after the Tyler Lake junction is over granite with some blast marks but mostly rocks lining the way. Lots of granite
One switchback section of rock stairs includs a few rocks with a bunch of blast holes for dynamite started in them. blast holes
The view approaching Maud Lake with the Pass ahead in the upper left.Approaching Maud Lake
A couple looks at Maud Lake from the north in the summer and in the early spring. Heading past Maud Lake Heading past Maud Lake
The east end of Maud Lake sports a great spot for a lunch break in the summer, but in the early season it is more of a challenge to find a good, dry location. Stopping for lunch Stopping for lunch
Yours truly heading up the trail just past Maud Lake, into a section which is filled with wildflowers later in the summer. Continuing on the trail
A nice look back at Maud Lake as we climb up toward the pass. Looking back at Maud Lake
Finally, after a long and rocky climb, the reward of being at the top of the pass. At the top
Looking east from the top of the pass you are greeted with a phenominal view of Doris Lake, as well as part of the gorgeous interior of Rockbound Valley. Doris Lake Doris Lake
One of the many fields of flowers along the hike up the pass. Wildflowers
GPS track of the hike, starting at the bottom left and heading up to the top of the pass in the upper right. GPS Track of the hike