Added by Torrey Schaefer
Discover granite peaks, a rushing creek and stunning lake views as you make your way through Ansel Adams Wilderness on the notorious June Lake loop.
June Lake never ceases to amaze. In just about any weather, this particular portion of the 395 is something to be experienced in its entirety.
If you are dedicating a day or two to explore the June Lake loop, then a trek to Agnew Lake is the perfect hike to throw into the plans. It is not extremely challenging and can be easily completed in a few hours. The rewards of this hike are pristine views of multiple lakes, stunning foliage, and a falling creek.
Once you are on the 158 (June Lake loop), make your way to the Rush Creek Parking on the northeast side of Silver Lake. From there, take the Gem Lake trailhead and begin your ascent. For the first mile and a half or so you will make your way up the side of the mountain and parallel the lake. As you climb, the views are only magnified as you make your way through the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
You will then cut over and start to make your way into Rush Creek Canyon. If it is spring, you are sure to see the creek coming down the granite cliff within the canyon. This section also offers a few stonestep switchbacks as well as a unique site: the tramway. I did some research on the tracks and it looks like these tracks, originally built in 1915, serve the hydroelectric power plant at Gem Lake. I didn’t see any trams moving on the tracks while I was there, but I am pretty sure it is still an active system. Just use caution when crossing.
After this portion of the hike, you will make your final stretch in the canyon and arrive high above Agnew Lake. There is a trail that will take you to the beach of Agnew and forgo the main trail that will continue on to Gem Lake. I would either plan on relaxing here for a moment, or we decided to head back on the trail slightly and park it with an adult beverage near the rushing creek.
- Pack with the essentials
- Sunscreen (very exposed trail)
- Adult beverage from your stop at June Lake Brewing beforehand. The Silver Lake Saison is appropriate!
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Backpack to Big Bird Lake & Moose Lake
Yosemite / Alta Peak Trailhead
This trip requires a wilderness permit. You can get one at the Lodgepole Visitor Center where you can also rent a bear canister or use the bathroom before heading out.
Backpack to Vogelsang and Merced Lake High Sierra Camps
Yosemite / Lyell Canyon Trailhead
If you love the idea of backpacking to remote mountain destinations, but shudder at the thought of carrying a heavy pack and digging a hole to poop in, the High Sierra Camps are a great option.