Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

Next: IV. Cathedral LakesContentsPrevious: II. Dog Lake

Guide to Tuolumne Meadows Trails (1960) by Allan Shields


III. ELIZABETH LAKE

(1-easy half day, 1000 ft., 5 miles).

This alpine lake is set in a basin with a backdrop of the rugged splendor of Unicorn Peak, Johnson Ridge, and Johnson Peak. Around the edge of the lake are tundra-like meadows and some large clusters of lodgepole pine (3, 21). The contrasts, in appropriate seasons, of the snow, pinkish granites, green forests and meadows, and the crystal blue High Sierra sky make this accessible lake one of the choicest spots to visit early in your hiking program.

Directions: Walk back on the campground road to the first turn to the right, and follow the aluminum “T” signs on the trees about.2 of a mile where you will find a “T” with an arrow on a tree on the left marking the start of the trail up through the campsites. A few dozen yards of trail will bring you out on to a road and road material mixing place. Walk straight up hill across this open area where you will find the trail starts among the trees once more. (A metal sign marks the spot). From here on there will be no confusing the trail. Somewhat steep at first, the trail will flatten to a gradual climb all the way to the lake.

Possible for an all-day easy hike, it is listed as a half day hike, thinking you will start up at 8:00 or 8:30, and return in time for a late lunch at 1:00 p.m. By walking around the lake, or by climbing part way up Unicorn, you will find a full day is more comfortable. You will not want to leave it, once you arrive, so carry some food in case you wish to remain.

Special Features: Most of the cone-bearing trees of the region occur on this hike (see Lembert Dome, Special Features, p. 182). Johnson Peak is largely composed of one of the three main kinds of granite of Tuolumne, which takes its name from this peak. A pinkish, finely grained granite, largely homogeneous, with occasional feldspar crystals, it differs markedly from the more common Cathedral Peak granite, or Half Dame granite. (See geology exhibit in campground ranger station).

On the side of the lake near Unicorn Peak you will find one of the largest patches of sphagnum moss in the park.

You may notice the “T” blazes on the trees as you ascend. It is said that these stand for “tree” so that the recruits in the army patrolling the area would know they were trees! Actually, they do mark the old army patrol trails, this one continuing on up over the ridge (obscured in places) toward Nelson Lake.

Elizabeth Lake was named for a daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel E. Simmons, of Sacramento.



Next: IV. Cathedral LakesContentsPrevious: II. Dog Lake

Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/tuolumne_meadows_trails/elizabeth_lake.html