Back to index Beyond Lake Shealor Hike

Trip Date:  08/22/2010

: 5.7 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1200'

Group Size: 2
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
Beyond Lake Shealor Hike
See video of this hike  See video of hike   Download GPXGPX for this trip

Beyond Lake Shealor Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 39.324, W 120 08.094     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No
Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to the Shealor Lakes parking area a little more than 5 1/2 miles east of the junction with Mormom Emigrant Trail.  
Hazards of Note:   Weather in this area can change quickly so be prepared for various temperatures and rain.   There are cairns marking the way at some places past the first lake, but there is little to no trail in most places.  Good route-finding skills are necessary for this hike.

Crowd Factor:   Moderate to negligible.  This is a short, popular hike with a pristine alpine lake and great views into the Caples Creek Canyon drainage area.  Past the first lake it is unlikely you will run into anyone else.
General Notes:
From the parking area head west up the trailhead, and follow the dirt path until the terrain changes to granite.  Follow the marked path from this point up to a ridge with views north into the Caples Creek area, and then continue down and to the south, winding slowly down to the lake.  At the north end of the lake is the outlet into the drainage area below.  Stay on the right (east) side of the stream, if running, and head carefully down into the valley.  The water in this area is seasonal, so late in the summer/fall there may be no water draining out of the main Shealor lake.  If there is, be careful crossing the river.  Look for wide, flat spots with the water running slowly.

The kiosk that provides information at the trailhead was heavily damaged by the massive amounts of snow this past winter.
Winter damage at trailhead

Even the blaze trees which mark the trail were susceptible to the tough winter. 
Blaze tree down

Within the first mile there is a crest in the trail with a fantastic look at the Crystal Range and Pyramid Peak to the north.
Crystal range from the trail

The view of the lake from high above as you head down the granite is very enticing.  Especially in the spring with the waterfall glissading over the rocks on the south end.
First Shealor Lake

the lake was in full glory on this day with still waters offering a great reflection of the waterfall cascading over the granite from snowmelt just a little further up.
First Lake

The water coming out of the lake was as spectacular as the water going in.  Just a little bit past the end of the lake was the start of a long series of cascades down into the valley and lakes further below.
Outlet waterfall    

This section was amazingly similar to hiking through the Tuolumne River Canyon in Yosemite with the water making its way over the granite.
Shades of Tuolumne River

A couple shots of the cascades that we followed down the drainage canyon toward the other Shealor Lakes.
More of the cascades out of the first lake More of the cascades out of the first lake

My hiking partner (another Greg) contemplating the water crossing we would have to make to get to the other lakes.
Contemplating crossing

Yours truly making the crossing at a wide spot, that was very slippery from the moss.
Making the crossing

Granite scooped out by glacial action, also reminiscent of Yosemite areas.
Striking granite

At the north end of the third of the four main Shealor Lakes.
Lower Lake

Crossing the outlet from the third lake.
Crossing the outlet

Cross-country climbing back up granite to head out of the canyon. Up the granite

Greg B making his way back to the trail high above the first Shealor Lake.
Making our way up

Headed back to the trailhead with Thunder Mountain in the distance.
Heading back

GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike