This 5-mile roundtrip, 1300 foot elevation gain hike passes numerous waterfalls and an old tramway built in 1915 to service the hydroelectric power plants that provide electricity to the communities of Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, and Lee Vining.
Take the June Lakes Loop until you reach Silver Lake. There’s parking at the Rush Creek Trailhead near the pack station at around 7,200 feet elevation.
We decided to take an off-trail shortcut on our hike to Agnew Lake. We continued to climb, finding ourselves in some pretty tricky situations the higher we got.
It was already hard enough but became even more difficult as the climb got steeper which forced us to give Rusty the dog a boost up the rock face.
Looking back on Silverlake from the trail.
Soon we crossed the border into the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
Rush Creek and the falls.
The views along the trail are spectacular.
Cascade #2 is a little more difficult to see in this photo but it was there.
Near Rush Creek we encountered the tramway, a super steep rail system.
The tramline, which runs to Agnew Lake and Gem Lake, was used in the construction of the hydroelectric facilities. Its rails, lifts, and cars were purchased from a defunct mine at Bodie. This first section of tramway, 4,800 feet long, runs from Silver Lake up to Agnew Lake, with a rise in elevation of 1,250 feet.
Shake Shack near Lake Agnew Dam area.
Agnew Lake was rather low. Gem Lake Dam is higher up in the background.
Obsidian Rock/Ivory Dam
I was a little tired from hiking so much the previous three days but we eventually made it down and back to our comfortable home in Mammoth Lakes.
Protecting and preserving historic, sacred, and sensitive sites should be practiced by all. Locations, directions, and names to some of the places found on this site are not listed, please don’t ask for them. Tread lightly, leave no trace and always respect the wonder that surrounds you.