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Nelson Lake & Nelson Mountain

Hiking to Nelson Lake & Nelson Mountain

Highest Elevation: 10,220 ft

Length: 16.1 miles

It was supposed to be a three day trip with two nights at Nelson lake but we shortened it due to my hiking partner not feeling well and us hiking out Saturday late afternoon. We still had a good time and I still got to climb and summit Nelson Mountain.

We headed out of the Cliff Lake Trailhead. The trail takes you down in elevation for the first mile and next to the Courtright if it is full. About three miles from the trailhead is the trail junction that we take to head towards Nelson Lake.

From the trail junction it is about two miles to the lake. In this area is where we start to travel through the Bullfrog Fire (2020) burn area. We see a lot of burned trees but nothing across the trail.

Once we get to Nelson Lake we head towards our preferred camping area. There were a few cars at the trailhead and we thought we might run into some people, but to our surprise there was no one at the lake or our camping area.

Once we got our tents set up and some fire wood collected I headed out to get some pictures of the lake. Being that it was later in the season there were not as many mosquitos as there would have been earlier in the season.

The next morning after getting a few pictures of the lake in the morning sun and eating breakfast. I headed towards Nelson Mountain.

On the way up I stopped by the upper Nelson Lakes, but not before I said hi to this Mountain Garter Snake

As I climbed up the ridge above west of the lakes the views started to show up.

Every time I got a little higher I the views became better.

There was a fun section where I was on the top of the ridge and to the west there was a steep drop and I could see Sportsman Lake down below.

Once I crossed that section of ridge the hike became much easier and the top of the mountain was now in sight.

The views from the top of Nelson Mountain were spectacular. You could see all the way from Mammoth to the north to Farewell Gap in Sequoia National Park to the south.

On top of Nelson Mountain.

After spending 30-40 minutes at the top I started to head down and ran into three guys just getting to the top. The three guys were doing a loop and were going to Eagle Peak next and then back to the Cliff Lake Trailhead. I chatted with them for a few minutes and then headed back down to Nelson lake. On the way down I got a great shot of Dogtooth Peak in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness.

Once back to camp my hiking partner was still not feeling great so we made the decision to hike out while he still had the strength to do so. We made good time on the hike out, and got to our vehicle before it got dark.

Check out the video of this trip on my YouTube channel or by going to the videos on this this website. See Video -->

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