Saddlebag and Greenstone Lakes

Near the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite National Park is Saddlebag Lake which is an entry point to the Twenty Lakes Basin. This is a scenic area with numerous lakes surrounded by mountains. We went on a hike there visiting two of the lakes.

At the parking lot is a water taxi which goes to the far end of Saddlebag Lake. There are also trails on each side of the lake. Part of our group, which included one 97 year old, took the water taxi and the rest of us hiked along the trail going on the right side of the lake which adds about 3 miles. This is a 3 picture panorama not too far from the starting point.

Saddlebag-Lake-01

The lake is at an altitude 10,087 feet so we took a leisurely paced hike and enjoyed the views. During the late 1870’s thru 1884 there were attempts at silver and gold mining in the area but none were successful. However the May Lundy mine 10 miles north of here did produce over $3 million of silver and gold.

This is looking back toward the starting point. In the distance the dam can been seen. The dam was built in 1919 by the Southern Sierra Power Company and water from the lake is used to generate power in Lee Vining. To the left of the dam is the Saddlebag Lake Resort. Though there are no longer accommodations at Saddlebag Lake Resort there is a cafe and general store which is open during the summer months. It also runs the water taxi and has some boat rentals. If you look closely you can see a small boat in the lake. There is also a campground located on the hill behind the resort buildings.

Fishing is popular in Saddlebag Lake which is stocked with Rainbow Trout every week. Other fish that can be caught there or in the other lakes are Brook Trout, Brown Trout, and Golden Trout though the last two are difficult to catch.

Another view where the water taxi can be seen returning.

This is a 2 picture panorama looking in the direction of the dam. Near here we met up with those in our group who took the water taxi to the end of the lake.

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When we got to Greenstone Lake we met a wedding party leaving the lake after the wedding. It was a beautiful place to have the ceremony. The mountain to the right is North Peak which is 12,242 feet. A little more in the distance to the left is Mt Conness which is slightly higher at 12,590 feet. The ridge crest which runs along the the peaks of these two mountains is the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park. This is another 2 picture panorama.

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The area is popular with backpackers and some of their tents can be seen in the meadow near the lake.

One reason we went to Greenstone Lake was we heard there was a nice waterfall above it. However our time ran out and we had to return in order to make it back to the water taxi as all of us had tickets for return trip on it. Finding it as well as exploring the other lakes will have to wait for another trip.

More information:
Saddlebag Lake Resort website

Geology and Climatology of the Saddlebag Lake Region (pdf file)

 

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