When it comes to camping, I am a huge fan of non-quota trails and regions where reservations are unnecessary. My typical itineraries are one-night weekend trips, which I usually don’t commit to until 1-3 days beforehand. For this reason I tend to gravitate toward spots where I’m guaranteed to get a permit without the hassle of a reservation—which is why the Emigrant Wilderness ranks highly on my list of ideal weekend getaways.
Here’s a look at my trip from the Crabtree Trailhead to Gem Lake in the Emigrant Wilderness. At the bottom of the post you will find an overview of the trip with basic details and other considerations to help you plan this trip as well.
Hiking Route: Semi-loop beginning and ending at Crabtree Trailhead. (See map below)
Camp: Gem Lake
Distance/Elevation Gain: ~20miles total. ~10 to Gem Lake. ~2,500 ft. elevation gain.
Permits: Required for overnight stays, but no quota. Pick up a permit at Pinecrest Summit Ranger Station.
Campfires: Permitted. They request you use existing fire rings only.
Additional Information: For additional info on the Sierras, I have found this site very useful: SIERRAWILD.GOV