Gem Lake via Rush Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,882' 574 m
Descent: -1,882' -574 m
High: 9,115' 2,778 m
Low: 7,242' 2,207 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
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“A popular and rewarding day hike for the June Lake area.”— Peng Shi
Late spring and early summer thaw brings a lot of flooding. Some sections of the trail itself turns into creeks. So check trail conditions before you go and be prepared for creek crossing.
Continue on the trail. At around mile 1.85, you'll come to the first intersection with the incline railway track used for dam maintenance. As far as I know, the railway is still used several times a year. Although it might be tempting to follow the track and climb straight up, the switchback trail is much easier on your legs, more scenic, and takes about the same amount of time.
Following the trail, you begin a series of steep switchbacks, each getting longer. Finally, at around mile 2.5, the grade eases, and you'll reach the end of the switchbacks and the edge of Agnew Lake. At a trail junction, you have the option to turn left and head down to the first dam and Agnew Lake, or stay on the main trail and continue your climb. If you opt to go down to Agnew Lake, the two trails will eventually merge together again at the end of the railway station.
Look ahead and above; you can see the second dam and your destination. The climb continues, mostly moderately and occasionally steeply. As you get closer to the dam, a few switchbacks break up the monotonous climb, giving you a chance to look back at the June Lakes area you came from.
Finally, at around the 4-mile mark, you reach a rock outcrop and a beautiful view of Gem Lake below. This is a good spot for a break. If you feel up to it, you can continue on the trail all the way to Waugh Lake. The trail follows the north shore with plenty of ups and downs. Turn around whenever you like and return on the same trail.
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We need help with the following missing trail information:
Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Flora & Fauna, History & Background
Local Club: Friends of The INYO
Oct 7, 2019: Haiwee Pumped Storage Update
Oct 7, 2019: Inyo National Forest Plan Update
Oct 7, 2019: Bi-State Sage Grouse Listing Update
Land Manager: USFS - Inyo National Forest Office
Oct 7, 2019: The Inyo National Forest Plans Fall Prescribed Fires
Oct 6, 2019: Taboose Fire Update 10/07/19