After hiking from the Big Pine Creek Trailhead both North Fork and South Fork, I returned to Bishop before chasing another lead for peak fall colors. As I drove toward South Lake, I was excited to finally see the colors I’d been seeking for the past week.
I began to wonder if I’d ever make it to the trailhead. I was beyond happy with the visual eye candy.
The tapestry of colors along the mountains was especially eye catching.
But alas, I finally arrived!
On this day I decided to follow the trail to Bishop Pass.
Long Lake was a beauty.
This is Chocolate Peak. My plan was to hike the loop to Chocolate Lakes on my return trip.
As the trail continues, I continue to smile while trying to guess the location of Bishop Pass.
There were a few patches of this red vegetation which really popped among the gray granite boulders.
Hello my friend, is it nearing hibernation time?
Nice view back at Saddlerock and Bishop Lakes with Hurd Peak rising to the left.
Time for some climbing.
This is a good view looking down at the switchbacks with a hiker descending.
An example of some serious trail building involved in creating all these switchbacks.
Looking back at the upper tarns and lakes reminding me of how many places there are to explore in this giant playground.
Nearing the final push.
The Bishop Pass sign is in the distance.
The views were incredible. This was the trail descending into Dusy Basin, another one marked on my list for a future visit.
Once again my Peak Finder app was so helpful in identifying the various mountains.
After spending some time gawking at maps and views, it was time to descend enjoying incredible views along the way. You can even see Chocolate Mountain peeking out in the far distance.
View of Ruwau Lake from Bishop Pass Trail.
Ruwau Lake from the Chocolate Lakes Loop trail. I met this hiker coming from the opposite direction who gave me a bit of intel on this secondary most unmaintained trail.
When you don’t do your research, you might find yourself climbing. I was beginning to get a bit nervous about running out of time. It was already after 4pm when I reached this viewpoint above Ruwau Lake.
Ut oh, I really wasn’t anticipating rocky route finding. The looming question, is it time to turn back?
Around 5pm, I found the first of the Chocolate Lakes.
The backside of Chocolate Peak with Chocolate Lake in the foreground.
Whew made it back on the main trail by 6pm. This day became my favorite of this fall jaunt second only to Virginia Lakes.
- Bishop is a great place to catch up on chores, eat some good grub, etc. If you need a shower I recommend The Hostel California rather than the one at the laundromat as it was dirty and disgusting. Check online reviews of laundromats. If I remember correctly there are three in town. You can use your Safeway ID for shopping at Vons; get your gas discount. Looney Bean was my favorite for coffee, eats and WiFi.
- You can pick up a fall colors map and guide at many visitor centers and ranger stations along Highway 395. There are also several online sites offering current conditions; this is one I used and recommend (link).