WELCOME TO ROCK CREEK PACK STATION
HILTON LAKES TRAIL RIDE
John Muir Wilderness
Start and End at Rock Creek
Day 1: Riders head north from the pack station (10,000ft)on the trail that switchbacks above Rock Creek Lake. It’s mostly a level climb through lodgepole pine and fields of lupin and Indian paintbrush. We ride overlooking one of the most magnificent juniper groves in the west. After an hour and a half we have reached the top of the Hilton Creek/Rock Creek divide (10,600ft) overlooking the two lower Hilton Lakes. The descent down takes 30 minutes before we reach Lake #2 (9,900ft).
You’re deep in the heart of the backcountry…the ten Hilton Lakes and the immediate area are a photographer’s paradise. We will be at our lakeside camp on Davis Lake by lunch. The afternoon is free to fish, rest or explore the Davis Lake area. Favorite activities include hiking to the water falls on the west-side peninsula or heading to sand covered beaches for a swim. The hike up the stream to Lake #2 is good for fishing or exploring. Fishing is excellent for brown, rainbow and brook trout.
Days 2 and 3: Layover…days to explore the upper lakes basin. We can head up to Lake # 3. This fifty- minute ride brings us to a sub-alpine lake overlooking the entire Hilton canyon. Excellent fishing for rainbow. Often, we tie the horses up and hike up to the Lake #5, a 30 minute hike. Another hour allows you to visit Lakes #6-#9. Playing in the snowbanks is fun for those that enjoy snow in the heat of summer.
After lunch, we can ride on over to Lake #4 and enjoy the beauty of the meadows and streams near the old Indian camp. Riders generally make it back to camp by 4 pm for a shower or nap in the afternoon sun.
Day 4: In the morning, take an hour to hour and a half ride down Hilton Creek to Turk Meadow. This ride through large aspens, limber pine and Mountain Mahogany brings us to one of the largest meadows on the eastside. The broad canyon is bordered by the red colored 13,000 ft Mt. Morgan contrasting with the snow covered Mt. Huntington to the south. We head back to camp around noon to meet up with those that didn’t take the morning ride. The group rides out to arrive at the pack station by 4 PM.
Fishing is excellent in the Hilton Lakes area. Davis Lake, (Hilton Lake #1) is very large with alternating meadows and lodge pole pine forests surrounding the lake. Lots of nice campsites and fires are allowed. There are nice browns and rainbows in the lake.
The stream between Davis and Lake #2 is generally good in the early part of the summer for the rainbows. Hilton Creek about a 30-minute walk down canyon from Davis Lake is one of my favorite creeks in the mountains. All browns and it is generally quite productive. In early July, Lake #3 has good fishing for the rainbows. Fish can range from 10-15”. For lots of brookies, Lake #4 and the stream coming out of it are fun to fish. Lakes #5, #6 and #7 are accessible from a short walk above Lake #3.
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