Trails in Northern California

Trails in Northern California

Leave No Trace!

Visit for more information about Desolation Wilderness. Visit or call 1- 877-444-6777 to make park reservations. Visit Campfire Permits to get a permit online. More about Leave No Trace principles.

September 14, 2015

El Dorado National Forest Backpacking in Sept 2015

Lyons Creek Trail

Our drive up was a bit smokey, we wondered if our plans were a good idea.
As we climbed elevation on our way to the trailhead, our view was smokey but we pressed on to check it out.

We reached the trailhead and decided to give our first trip together a go.  Few cars were in the parking area this time which usually is fairly full by this time of day. It could be that school is on and there are just fewer visitors.

The aspens are troubling, dropping many leaves before the annual show of bright yellows.  Instead they are just dropping or turning black as if burned.

We sat to take a rest and a cool refreshing breeze came in, but unfortunately brought with it more smoke from the California fires burning tens of thousands of acres.

We detoured a bit to check out Lyons Creek.  It showed more normal signs of fall colors through the mist of smoke.

No more water is running much below the creek crossing just before the Lyons Lake junction.  The small pools have fish trapped, but surviving.

Our plans were to see Pyramid Peak, Lyons Lake and its surrounding views from the top of its bowl, and Sylvia Lake.  We did a cleanup-people's-trash tour around Sylvia and decided to hang out at our camp that somehow didn't have as much smoke lingering in it and headed back the next day.

Pack enough water to get you to your destination.  At the Lyon's Creek crossing there was a trickle of running water is all. 

The lakes look fine, and Lyons Lake didn't have the heavy smoke but Sylvia did.  
On a normal day you can see mountains ahead from this point!  They were completely obscured by smoke.

Our throats were scratchy.  The views were dim.  The air quality is poor up there, where we thought we might escape the blanket of smoke at home in the valley.  While you may become accustomed to it, as we did, it is really unhealthy.

I suggest contacting the Pacific Ranger Station before going until the air clears up some.