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Huntington Lake Trip 2013

Day 1 of 5

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Saturday, June 22nd
Drive to Huntington Lake

One of the few areas in the Sierra Nevada we hadn't visited was the Huntington Lake (and Shaver Lake) area. I finally found a good spot in our vacation schedule to visit it, and reserved a site at Upper Billy Creek campground at Huntington Lake. After having had problems getting a walk-in site along Tioga Road a couple years ago, I try to reserve as much as I can, but I needn't have bothered.

In the past, I might have driven up to our campground on a Friday night, but I didn't feel like fighting Friday traffic, and this was a new area for us so I didn't want to scramble around at night driving and finding our site. So Saturday it was. We left the Bay Area around 11:30am. Unfortunately the night before we found out that Jared's hiking boots were too small (he hadn't worn them since October), so we had to make a brief stop at REI on Saturday morning before we left.

There are two main routes from the Bay Area to Huntington Lake -- either 101 to Highway 152, or 580 to 205. We took 101 south to Highway 152, stopping for lunch along the way. Then it was Highway 99 south to Madera, then a maze of roads that the GPS directed us to, eventually leading to Highway 168 up toward Shaver Lake.

We stopped briefly for some supplies at a Shaver Lake market, then continued on to Huntington Lake. We stopped at the campground information center, where we were supposed to check-in, but it was too late. There were people there at nearly 5:30pm, but they said they were closed (they close at 4:30pm). They told us to just go ahead to our camp site and check-in the following morning.

So we got back in the car and drove the remaining 10 minutes along the shore of Huntington Lake to Upper Billy Creek Campground. While Shaver Lake looked like it was filled with recreational boats, Shaver Lake looked much more peaceful in comparison. And although there were many campers at the Lower Billy Creek campground next to the lake, the Upper Billy Creek campground where we were staying at across the road was only about half full. In fact we had no direct neighbors.

After setting up camp and having dinner, we walked across the road down to the lake shore. It's an easy walk down to the water. If you want to actually camp at Lower Billy Creek, which is practically right next to the water, you'll have to share the experience with lots of other campers (mostly RVs), jam packed next to each other like sardines. Up on the hill at Upper Billy Creek, we had all the space we wanted.

Huntington Lake from near Lower Billy Creek Campground

Huntington Lake from near Lower Billy Creek Campground

Huntington Lake from near Lower Billy Creek Campground

Huntington Lake from near Lower Billy Creek Campground


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