Wright Lakes

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Big Meadow trail up to Upper Wright Lake (2.65 miles, 1200 ft elevation gain) with a little extra added to hike to the road

Date: 8/12-8/13/17

Hike Difficulty: steep at times — difficult, especially with a full pack
Total Distance Hiked: 8.95 mi (not the real trail length)
Total Elevation Gain: 3233 ft
Total Time Hiking: 5 hrs 25 mins

This weekend my roommate took me to Marble Mountain Wilderness to visit Wright Lakes. I had never been to either of them, but she had gone there years ago with a friend and they’d used a less-common route of getting there. It involved turning off of Quartz Valley Rd, going through a maze of logging roads, and ending up at Big Meadow trailhead. From there, it was a rather steep climb through some meadows before popping over a ridge and down to the campsites at Upper Wright Lake.

According to various sources, there were many roads that you can take to get there. So, using a map with good detail, we picked the roads that were supposed to be better maintained. However, that ended up leading us down some very poorly maintained logging roads. After turning around and rerouting we ended up at a closed gate .3 miles from the turnoff for the trailhead. Since we had no way to get the car through, we had to walk up the road to the trailhead, adding an extra mile and a half, plus a lot of climb.

The trail itself was pretty, but hot and climby. Most of the time, we were pushing our way through some thick meadow overgrowth as we tried not to fall backwards down the mountain. There was a lot of flowers, and water, and mud. At the junction with the trail for Calf Lake, we lost the trail and had to find some cairns to get back on track. Eventually, we reached the crest and it was all downhill to Upper Wright Lake. I followed one of our maps to a really cool campsite higher up off by itself. There was only one other person when we got there. He came to tell me he was going home and that there had been four bears coming every night to eat off a carcass close to his campsite. We never had any problems, but it was good info to know!

All in all, this was a pretty awesome backpacking trip. Upper Wright Lake is gorgeous, though not very popular. And I didn’t get eaten by bears. It was a great place to recharge and get ready for the week.

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