McGee Pass 2019

August 16 – McGee Creek Trailhead to Big McGee Lake

August 17 – Big McGee Lake to Lake Wit-So-Nah-Pah

August 18 – Lake Wit-So-Nah-Pah to Franklin Lake

August 19 – Franklin Lake to Purple Lake

August 20 – Purple Lake to Lake Virginia

August 21 – Lake Virginia to Tully Lake

August 22 – Tully Lake to Red & White Lake

August 23 – Red & White Lake to Big McGee Lake

August 24 – Big McGee Lake to McGee Creek Trailhead


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elevation profile


The McGee Creek area is an area with lots of red rock.  Prominent mountains include Red Slate Mountain and Red & White Mountain.  This trip took us all the way around Red Slate Mountain, across the Sierra Crest on a class 2 pass, and on the John Muir Trail for a short time as we made our way around the loop.  Our original plan was modified a couple of times to bypass Pika Pass (and therefore Pika Lake and Duck Lake) and to bypass Izaak Walton Lake near the end of the trip, but we still ended up with close to the same distance as the original plan.

The weather was nearly perfect, no rain and few clouds.  Nights were mild for the most part with little wind.  The only smoke we could see was from a fire south of Mono Lake when we had a view to the east.  Mosquitos were one of the biggest challenges on this trip.  We are used to not having any mosquitos in late August in the Sierra, as they generally all die out as the summer progresses.  Due to the heavy snow from last winter, the mosquitos were unusually numerous in some areas, mostly between 9000 and 11000 feet elevation.  There were far more than I've ever seen this time of year even following other equally snowy winters (like 1998, 2011, and 2017).

We had a few encounters with animals on this trip, including pikas at Lake Wit-So-Nah-Pah and Red & White Lake, and a small frog as we hiked out on the last day.


overview map