Time to take Dennis to Laurel Lakes — he’s never been there.
The 10-mile out-and-back road starts a little south of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierras and climbs 2,700′, topping out a little over 10,000′. We were hoping to make our destination, but given the amount of snow the area received that winter, failure was a distinct possibility.
We press on …
After climbing the moraine at the north end of the valley, the road follows Laurel Creek through a meadow. Spring arrived at 9,000′ in July.
We stopped at one of the road’s switchbacks to gawk at the waterfalls and scenery.
The road to Laurel Lakes snakes up a classic, glacier-carved valley found many places in the Sierras. Travelers who suffer from high anxiety probably won’t enjoy this road.
At 10,000′ we hit big snow and we were done. The snow appeared to be an old avalanche, carrying varying sizes of tree chunks. At the bottom of the snowfall, smaller pines were semi-pushed over.
When it became time to reverse rudder, we realized that the last turn-out was a long way down the hill. With Dennis’ help, I spun the truck around in the width of the road, backing up against a tree for added peace of mind.
The waterfall is the outflow from Laurel Lakes, located on the other side of the smaller, closer saddle. The snowy road can be seen along the left, tree-free (but not snow-free) slope.