Is Emigrant Wilderness Too Crowded?

posted Jul 11, 2016, 9:55 PM by Paul Wagner
If you read our last trip report, you'll know that we met nearly 100 people on the trail the first day of hiking in the Emigrant Wilderness.  That's a lot, for us.  We like to backpack where we seldom see anyone at all--often going a day or more without seeing another soul. 
This is where P decided to go fishing...right by that rock. ©

And then we met another thirty or so people on the second day.  And we began to think, "Was Yogi Berra right?  That nobody goes there anymore, because it's too crowded?"

Of course, we were hiking on the main drag in Emigrant--Gianelli Trailhead, heading East.  And as soon as we got a bit further into the forest, we found ourselves a lot more isolated.  From Emigrant Lake to Bucks Lake on the return trip, we saw a total of two people.  That's about 13 miles and two days of hiking. 

The rule is always the same in the backcountry.  If you want solitude, head off-trail or more than one day in.  Either way, you will lose about 85% of the people who backpack.  And if you do both, as we did in our trip up Conness Creek in Yosemite last year, you won't see anyone at all. 

So yeah, we'll go back to Emigrant.  But we'll pick our spots, and we'll choose our routes.  And we'll feel like we have the place all to ourselves.