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Nelson Lake

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Nelson Lake

Postby bbmq » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:43 pm

What are the chances that I could find my way from Echo Creek Trail to Nelson Lake and then from there to Elizabeth Lake? I don't have GPS and have never hiked cross country before but am an avid backpacker who has done a lot of miles in Yosemite. I would have nothing more than a compass, a topo and a willingness for adventure.

I've heard there is a common jump-off point from Echo Creek Trail, is that true and easy to identify?

What is the terrain like to Nelson?

I'm told there's more of a beaten path to Elizabeth but a bit tricky after leaving Nelson, how difficult would it be to navigate?
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Re: Nelson Lake

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:16 pm

I have hiked numerous times to Echo Lake, and also hiked to Nelson Lake, but not between them. There is a very obvious "impossible to miss" use trail from Elizabeth Lake up to the Cathedral Crest, and then it kind of peters out a bit on the way to Nelson Lake...but if you have a topo map, you know that you have to clear that ridge to the East before you can get to Nelson. Some people may cut over too soon, and then it gets confusing. From Nelson to Elizabeth, you will just need to clear that ridge, and then head up canyon to the saddle at the crest. The trail is right at the low point in the saddle.

And the trail from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead to Budd Lake is also VERY clear--just worked on by a trail crew last summer. Keep left to avoid taking the trail to the foot of the West face of Cathedral Peak--that's also a well-used trail--so keep left, then follow the granite up to the very western edge of Echo Peaks. You keep as high on the peak as possible as you circle around it...then note the clear trail down towards Echo Lake for about 200 yards. BUT WAIT! Don't head straight down to the lake. Instead, there is a ducked route that takes you way left over towards Matthes Crest, and a much easier descent to the lake. Straight down is pretty cliffy.

Between the two lakes there are ways to get from Echo to Nelson---but beware of getting cliffed out. Easiest is probably to follow the Cathedral Fork of Echo Creek down to where the small tributary comes in--then follow it up and cross country to Nelson.

I don't know how much xc you have done, so I can't tell you if you would find it easy.
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Re: Nelson Lake

Postby bbmq » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:16 pm

I greatly appreciate the info but not sure that I am up for it, my xc skills are non-existent.
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