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Backpacking to Miter Basin -- Sept. 10, 2013
Sierra Nevada

Cottonwood Lakes Basin

Day 5. September 10. Cottonwood Lakes Basin to Trailhead.

Even with the "grandest of views" at our campsite, we packed up and moved west about 0.4 miles to eat breakfast with an even grander view. We then took the "trail less traveled" and headed down the South Fork of Cottonwood Creek. Descending past waterfalls and hiking along meadows, we hiked quickly but slowly descended towards the main trail. Arriving at the well-used main trail, we were particularly glad that we had taken the quiet South Fork Trail.

The two remaining miles passed quickly, we arrived at the trailhead, and headed home. Five days out with my brother, 33 miles of grand scenery, and nice photos of Alpine Chipmunks made for the perfect hike.

Cottonwood Lake #2
Campsite above Cottonwood Lake #2 (view W)
Cottonwood Lake #2
Cottonwood Lake #2 (view NW from campsite)
Cottonwood Lake #2
Cottonwood Lake #2 (view N from campsite)
Cottonwood Lake #2
Campsite above Cottonwood Lake #2 (view S)
Cottonwood Lake #2
Hiker on trail near Cottonwood Lake #2 (view NW)
Cottonwood Lake #1
Cottonwood Lake #1 (view NW)
Cottonwood Lake #1
Cottonwood Lake #1 (view NW)
Cottonwood Lake #1
Cottonwood Lake #1 (view WNW)
Cottonwood Lake #1
Trail junction SE of Cottonwood Lake #1 (view NW)
Cottonwood Lake #1
Trail junction SE of Cottonwood Lake #1 (view NW)
Cottonwood Lakes Trail
Descending towards Cottonwood Creek (view SE)
Cottonwood Lakes Trail
South Fork - Army Pass trail junction (view SW)
Cottonwood Lakes Trail
South Fork - Army Pass trail sign (view SW)
Cottonwood Lakes Trail
The route more traveled goes down this canyon (view SE)
south fork lakes trail
South Fork Trail (view SW)
south fork lakes trail
Crossing ridge on South Fork Trail (view SW)
south fork lakes trail
Cirque Peak above South Fork Lakes Basin (view W)
south fork lakes trail
Trail into South Fork Lakes Basin (view W)
south fork lakes trail
Looking into South Fork Lakes Basin (view NW)
south fork trail
Looking into South Fork Lakes Basin (view NW)
south fork trail
The route less traveled: South Fork Canyon Trail (view S)
south fork trail
South Fork Canyon (view S)
south fork trail
Descending steeply on the South Fork Canyon Trail (view S)
south fork trail
South Fork Canyon Trail (view S)
south fork trail
Meadow along South Fork Canyon Trail (view SW)
south fork trail
Trail Peak above meadow in South Fork Canyon (view W)
south fork trail
Meadow along South Fork Canyon Trail (view SW)
south fork trail
Meadow along South Fork Canyon Trail (view NW)
south fork trail
Hiker at main Cottonwood Lakes Trail (view SE)
cottonwood lakes trail
Cottonwood Lakes Trail at South Fork Trail (view NE)
cottonwood lakes trailCottonwood Lakes Trail (view S) cottonwood lakes trail
Cottonwood Lakes Trail (view S)
cottonwood lakes trail
Cottonwood Lakes Trail (view E)
cottonwood lakes trail
Cottonwood Lakes Trail (view E)
cottonwood lakes trail
Sign: no fires in Cottonwood Lakes Basin (view W)
cottonwood lakes trail
Sign: Golden Trout Wilderness Area (view W)
cottonwood lakes trail
Approaching the trailhead (view E)
cottonwood lakes trailhead
Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead (view S)
cottonwood lakes trailhead
Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead (view W)
cottonwood pass trailhead
Back to Cottonwood Pass Trailhead (view SW)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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