Events/Trails Coyote Flats / Eastern Sierras August 8th - 12th

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Apr 19, 2008
San Diego
Hi folks, it's getting to that time of the year to hit the Eastern Sierras and we are going to change it up a bit this year. I have updated multiple sections of the post including the menu .

Update 8/5/2019, so most people are heading up Friday and many if not most are leaving Sunday so I am thinking we tweak the plans a bit. In fact, two of my boys and I might be the only ones up there Thursday.

As always, we crush it at food. Let's get the menu going.

Thursday: Burgers, dogs, simple stuff.

Friday: Burgers, dogs, simple stuff.

Saturday: Fajitas on the Mo Jo

Sunday: If anyone will be there beside my family let me know and we can plan something.

Head Count:

Elripster + wife + 3 kids + dog
Phulcrum + ?
CruiserBauers + Dog
Mogwai + Kids

A link to a site that forecasts weather up there... Funnel Lake Weather Forecast, CA - WillyWeather
I put in Funnel Lake so it would find a specific spot sort of near camp.

The last few trips have been to Funnel Lake. While Funnel is cool, it had zero signs of fish life last year and the trail from the flats to funnel is sufficiently difficult that it adds a good hour in and out to any exploration about the plateau. Also, Funnel is one of those muddy/algae lakes that you would not want to swim in. If last year's trip taught us anything, it's that there are so many great places to explore including lakes WITH fish so we are restructuring the trip accordingly.

Last year explored the following...

The marker, "Camp Spots" and/or "Large Open Flat Camping" is off of the main road in a cluster of trees over a flat surface that would easily host a large group. Because of its central location, this spot makes a great jump off point to visit other lakes and features. Thus, we are planning to use this spot as this year's camp.


The trip is proposed Thursday to Monday to ensure an acceptable driving/camping ratio. The hope is that moving the trip to early in August will make it easier for more to attend. I will have my wife and kids in tow.

I am planning to bring my kid's bikes and might bring mine too to make it easier to chase them down. The air thin and they might not want to ride much but last time there were up there they adapted to the elevation nearly instantly (I wish I did...) and were off. Riding after them will be hard enough, no way I am running after them on bikes.

A rough agenda is as follows:

Thursday - travel day but you bet we will crush it for dinner. Try to leave as early as you can to beat the heat and traffic (notes on this below). That said, we will fly the B&T banner and have comms up for anyone showing up after dark. Maybe post up your progress and we will make one last forum check before we lose service.

Friday - With most folks arriving Friday we will probably stick close to camp. My wife will be driving up Friday so I will head down the mountain to meet here around 2PM and head back up. For anyone who is here, I suggest wheeling the harder route into Funnel Lake and play around there. You will only be an hour or so from camp so it is something you get do in a few hours without being really committed.

Saturday- This can be the big day to fish Hidden/Baker lake. This is an 8ish mile drive from our camp ground to Baker Creek Campground where we will park. You will hike about 1.75 miles which could be 30-45 minutes depending on how fast you hike. This lake is amazing. It is the kind of lake that makes you want to jump in and go for a swim. There are sand beaches and a large shallow area perfect for kids. I would suggest bringing water shoes and if you want to take a dip, a bathing suite. If you have an inflatable float thing you don't mind packing in you can fish off of it or otherwise enjoy the lake.

As far as planning for the day, figure we leave around 9, we would be at the lake front by 10:30-11. We would probably hand out until say 4 and aim to get back by 5:30 so we can cook up a storm. You will want to be able to pack in food, drink, fishing gear, whatever you want to have for the day so be thinking of what back pack you will bring and if you have kids how much they can carry as well.


Sunday - We will play it by ear depending on who is staying vs. going. I wouldn't take on Green lake in a solo vehicle with the family in tow. If everyone departs we might just do Funnel Lake for a few hours and have a mellow evening.

If do Green Lake, this will be a very different day. There is a lengthy and scenic trail with some fun challenge to it leading to the ridge overlooking the lake. It will be a lot more in-truck-time but we will venture well above the tree line, have views to the back side of Yosemite before meandering through sometimes hard to follow 2 track to the ridge in the picture below. You have to then hike down to the lake which as one can see is a not a trivial hike. Doing this on day 3 gives everyone time to adjust to the elevation before making what would be the most strenuous hike of our planned destinations.

As far as packing supplies down to the lake the same strategy for Hidden/Baker will work here.

We will want to hit the road between 8 and 9AM. Depending on how we all feel from the prior days we might alter plans a bit to create a second option for those not up for the hike or maybe some will just plop into a chair the ridge and enjoy the views. They are simply spectacular. We can work that detail out on site.


Monday - Travel day, if we leave by say 9AM we should cruise home without hitting traffic.

On the subject of departure, if anyone does decide to leave Sunday, it is best to do so early, like 7AM or earlier to avoid Vegas traffic when you merge into the 15.

Boiler plate stuff...

- Vehicle maintenance, definitely make sure fluids are up to date, check the rig over, carry any extra fluids, etc... you might need.
- The Coyote Plateau is remote. You leave pavement between Lone Pine and Bishop. Thereafter you will traverse 15-17 miles of varying terrain starting with sandishness to a steep switch back climb to high desert 2 track . The plateau is around 9,600'. Any cruiser with upgraded tires will do fine though some of the off shoots could touch the under belly.
- Bring any and food and drink you will need, a trip to town is doable but is a 4 hour excursion.
- While we have never had a bug issue up there, bring some spray/citronella just in case.
- If you have a vehicle anything like my old 60, you might want to bring some extra gas. I'd budget for 120 miles of off road driving in total.
- Appreciate that 4WD with low range is extremely recommended for the ascents and descents. This is not to say a lifted built 2WD can't make it but expect to struggle, need help at times, and ride a lot of brake down the mountain (not exactly ideal). Altitude will take its toll on engine performance. It is unknown what the trail conditions will be to places like Green Lake and thus it is possible a lifted 2WD will not be able to make it so keep that in mind if you or someone you know is planning on coming in something that fits this description.
- You will most likely see wildlife (deer). Your dog could run into wildlife. Your kids might run into wildlife. Be prepared for wildlife.
- Time from San Diego towing a trailer and mostly obeying the towing speed limit is about 6 hours which includes stopping in Bishop to get all of the things you forgot but remembered on 395.
- It is best to leave around 8-9AM (non a weekday) to avoid traffic up 15 but still arrive with plenty of daylight.
- Weather, well, it's almost 10,000' up, you are in serious mountains, days can be 80, nights can be windy and 20, you just never know. August should be warmer than last year's September run so there is that. That is part of the fun and part of the challenge. Best bet is to be prepared. Know how to use your vehicle as a wind break, etc... bring warm sleeping equipment.
- Bring fishing gear and any other things you want to entertain yourself. Feel free to bring a mountain bike if you can work the thin air.
- There are miles and miles of roads to explore so fill your tank before leaving civilization.
- There is no cell service. If you need to contact the rest of the world you will need to drive until you can.
- Comms: CB 22 or HAM 146.490. If anyone only has FRS we can start out on channel 1 and migrate from there depending on FRS traffic.

Hopefully lots of us can make it this year. We often do a running start where folks wait on an on ramp to join the convoy. Others rather just hit the road and make good time. It is all good. Let's enjoy some of what our state has to offer if you can afford the time.

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IN! not sure on family yet.
I should know more in a month or so, may be :steer: to Colorado at this time. If not, I'm in plus a couple rug rats and dogs and wife.
I should know more in a month or so, may be :steer: to Colorado at this time. If not, I'm in plus a couple rug rats and dogs and wife.

You know you have to make it!
Well... to be fair if the other trip happens it will be an epic one! 8 day trip out to Colorado just me, the kids, and a buddy, followed by another week in the Denver + Breckenridge areas meeting up with extended family. But yes if the CO trip gets pushed off I'm for sure IN!
Ok, you have a point there, that would be epic.
Sounds fun @Mogwai, Colorado looks amazing!
But will BnT be in Colorado that weekend Zack? ...I think not
I'm looking into it since I will miss the sequoia trip. Had a great time last year. Not sure if it will be a family trip for me though. May just be me and/or possibly my brother. Hamilton lets get that new 4runner dirty and bring it on this trip.
Cool, the more the merrier!
Just a heads up from some postings on Expo, the road up to CF are still unpassable due to snow as low as the switchbacks going up the hill.
I am not surprised. I expect by August it will be clear though. If not, well, we will figure something else out.

I do, however, expect the wheeling to be a bit more interesting this year with the late melt.
Unpassable to whom? Unpassable is a relative term

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