It was an excellent day for a beautiful hike in Lakes Basin with good friends. The route to Mt. Elwell was just under 8 miles round trip with nearly 1800' of elevation gain and it took us 5.5 hours.
The views along the way and at the top were absolutely incredible. The final 3/4 of a mile to the top of Mt. Elwell was a bit of a grind, but the reward was worth the work.
Our first notable waypoint, a blue and serene Long Lake.
This marks the spot from which the final 3/4-mile stretch to the top of Mt. Elwell becomes a steeper, rockier challenge.
The expansive views of the Lakes Basin as we climbed in elevation were just amazing.
When we all finally reached the top of Mt. Elwell, tired and out of breath, we were shocked to see numerous mountain bikers carrying their bikes to the top so that they could then enjoy riding the downhill. I have no idea what would possess a person to walk and/or carry their bike up this trail, which was plenty challenging to hike up without also manhandling a bike along the way. Crazy!
We're smiling because we made it to the top of Mt. Elwell.
In this shot from the top is Long Lake, Silver Lake, Cub Lake, and Round Lake. The prominent jagged ridge in the distance to the right is the Sierra Buttes, another one of our very favorite hikes in the area.
If you want to really get to the tip-top of Mt. Elwell, you can climb up through this spacious crevice in the rocks and emerge atop a pile of boulders.
We even found a snow patch at 7700' in mid-August!
As well as some butterflies.
Then it was time to start the descent.
The hike to Mt. Elwell was very pleasant and the company was fun and enjoyable, since we typically hike just the two of us. It's a very doable 8-mile hike in the incredibly picturesque Lakes Basin.