I started off from the trailhead at the end of the road into Virginia Lakes. I've never hiked this trail before so it's all new to me!
Lupine lined trail
For Sale: Log Cabin in the beautiful Sierra! Cozy historic home with a view that can't be beat! May require a little TLC but it's move in ready! Only $499,000.
Oh, did I mention the lovely log pillars?
I really enjoyed this trail. All new to me!
Low water at one of the lake inlet/outlet crossings.
The crags of Black Mountain towered ahead of me. Excelsior mountain wasn't in view for the first half of the hike.
Eventually the trail climbs a few hundred feet to an unnamed pass around 11,200 ft.
Black mountain crags
Just below the unnamed pass. Good trail the whole way.
Looking back the way I came, Dunderberg Peak is the big red one.
Lakes valley. Purty.
At the top of the pass I split from the trail and start heading cross-country. Terrain is easy. The red peak in the distant middle is Excelsior. To get there, I have to climb over that big red bump. Ugh.
I had read that the red hill is the crux of the climb. I took a break here and studied it from a distance. I could see some use trails running up the left side. I had also been warned by a friend that going around to the right was not a good idea. So I headed over to the left side of the pile to get a better look.
My approximate route. I found an excellent use trail that got me up the hill in no time.
Below the hill, a nice little tarn. And an awesome view.
Closer to the hill, Excelsior on the left.
Virginia peak in the distance, Whorl, and Matterhorn behind that.
Up close, the hill looks far less intimidating. Even...easy?