The more I travel in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the more convinced I am that one of its best spots is also one of the most accessible spots, the Meysan Lake Trail. I first hiked the Meysan Lake trail back in 1998; and when I came back to it in 2013, I wondered why I had avoided it for that length of time. Fortunately I did not have to wait another fifteen years to revisit the Meysan Lake trail, as I hiked it this last weekend. As this trail is very straightforward to follow, I'm going to focus on current trail conditions in 2015 that I experienced. (If you're interested in a description of the route, I'd suggest you check out this post here from 2013, which covers elevation gain, mileage, and what to expect).
Due to a combination of factors that were all my fault, I didn't get my usual alpine start, and instead found myself on the trail later in the afternoon than I expected. However, these mistakes turned out to be to my benefit, as I was treated to a great late afternoon light show from the sun poking through the clouds as they drifted over the mountains. As the trail was clear of snow, I made great time from the trailhead to Grass Lake. There was a very small amount of snow near the trail slightly before Grass Lake; and some very small drifts by the lake. Realistically, I would say that this does not count, as it has likely already melted, or will melt in the next couple days. From Grass Lake, I pushed on toward Camp Lake as I had raingear, and found that stretch of trail also free of snow, and or other debris.
Like Grass Lake, Camp Lake was also free of snow, but provided some great views - and great solitude, aside from the chorus of for now happy frogs. From Camp Lake, I pushed slightly up the drainage toward Meysan Lake before electing to turn around, as the sun was setting, and there was a bit of intermittent wintery mix (rain/sleet/snow) falling on me. There were some drifts near the drainage that were more substantial than anything else I had encountered to that point (Elevation ~11,400 feet), but they were also melting fast. Because the trail was in good condition, and free of snow, I was able to make great time back to my car in the near dark.
Tips: Overall, I feel like the photos to this post - and the other post - are the biggest tip. This is a stunning area visually, and if that wasn't enough, one that is generally (and often) free of hikers, backpackers, and people. Again, I saw no people on this trail, which makes it the third time in three different seasons that I've never encountered a soul on this trail. Yes, the initial 3 miles of the trail is a bit of a leg burner - but anything worth seeing in this area - or in the Sierras as a whole is going to feature some substantial uphill. Finally, unless you are planning to climb the peaks behind Meysan Lake, there is no need for an ice axe or crampons on the trail (I place this advice into the category of "I carried mine so you won't have to). While this is a great hike year round, for 2015, now is definitely the time to do it for views like what I experienced. Check out the panoramas below for more great shots of the area!