Meadow is on the west side of the Sierra Main Crest along the road from
Mammoth Lakes to Devil's Postpile National Monument. There is a
pack station there, and two important trailheads. One of these
trails descends to meet the River Trail that follows the Middle Fork of
the San Joaquin River. The other is the Pacific Crest Trail that
was in the past referred to as the High Trail. Interesting loop
trips can be taken making us of these two trails, lateral trails
branching from them, and the John Muir Trail that the laterals join.
These trails pass through the high country on the east side of the
Ritter Range - comprising the Minarets, Mt. Ritter, Banner Peak, and Mt.
Davis. Outstandingly beautiful lakes include Shadow, Ediza,
Garnet, and Thousand Island.
Descending to the River Trail and following
it past Lake Olaine brings the hiker to a sturdy bridge over the San Joaquin.
Switchbacking up the Shadow Creek Trail brings one to Shadow Lake. This trail and
the lake are shown in the first two images below. Continuing to the west, the trail
joins and crosses the John Muir Trail, and then continues along Shadow Creek to its origin
at Ediza Lake. John Muir said that this lake was the most beautiful in the Sierra,
and that being high praise, this collection includes five images of Ediza.
Retracing the Shadow Creek Trail, we take the
John Muir Trail north over a ridge to drop down to the spectacular Garnet Lake that is
shown in several of the images below. A little further north, the trail passes
Thousand Island Lake which is at the base of Banner Peak. Continuing, the John Muir
Trail crosses Island Pass before dropping into the Rush Creek Drainage. Also from
Thousand Island Lake a trail to the east joins the Pacific Crest (High Trail) and the
terminus of the River Trail.