I really enjoyed the backpacking trip to Long Lake so I decided that I should venture out to one of the other lakes in the area. With trails like the one on the right it isn't hard to see why I went back. I did this trip in late August and it was another spur of the moment, one night, lone trip. For directions to trailhead and trail description see the Long Lake page.
On the map I hiked the same route that I did for Long lake (red line) until I reached Squaw Ridge and then I took a left (blue line). The trail was just as I had left it about 3 weeks earlier. One thing that I noticed on the way in was that there is a spur trail for a hundred yards to a great spot with a glorious view. It breaks left right before the trail to Granite and Hidden Lake (if you are heading toward Squaw Ridge). Beebe Lake is 3 1/2 miles form the Ridge according to a sign there. I think it is pretty accurate though.
After traveling along the ridge you break right down to the Wilderness boundary. It isn't too far to Ladeaux Meadow (1/2 mile according to the sign). There were some serious cowboys when I was traveling through this section that made it quite dusty (see picture on left). These cowboys were putting up a new fence around Ladeaux meadow. Amazingly they put up almost the entire fence in one day! If you travel through here you will see what a feat that was. Of course I was disappointed they didn't make a gate of some kind where the trail crosses the fence... but the new fence was low enough to make it easy to cross over it.
Unfortunately the cattle have not treaded softly on the section between Ladeaux Meadow and Beebe Lake. I am hoping that this new fence was designed to keep them out rather than in Ladeaux Meadow. There are numerous cow trails that go alongside, across, and crisscross the main trail. In some sections I really couldn't tell where the main trail was. Luckily the cows all head away form Ladeaux Meadow and over the ridge toward Beebe Lake. This cow shot was actually taken much earlier on the trail. Before Squaw Ridge.
There is a nice open section with some rust colored rock. Follow the ducks and there should be no problems finding your way to the lake. The picture on the right was taken basically from camp facing East toward the lake.
Make sure you travel to East side of the lake for some great views of the canyons below. Do Not make the mistake that I did by traveling all the way down to Lower Beebe Lake with your pack. There is No Lower Lake Beebe! There was at one time, but it is no longer. It has almost completely filled in and even in Spring run off I would think that it would be a good place to get water and bitten by mosquitoes. There is no trail down to Lower Lake Beebe and almost all of it involves steep sections on granite and coming to places that are impassable (especially with a pack). The picture on the right was taken about two thirds of the way to Lower Lake Beebe. Yes, I lost a heck of a lot of elevation (where the dip is in the rocks above is where Beebe Lake is).
I ended up camping on the west side of the lake. There are numerous nails in the trees around the lake and also a new looking rope for attaching a horse I assume. The lake provides OK swimming. It is pretty algae covered on the rocks but it was refreshing to jump in and swim for a while. I did have this lake to myself. In fact the only people I saw are this trip were the cowboys and 2 day hikers (or maybe they were ultra-ultra-light backpackers. In summary it was a sweet trip. I will probably come back. It would be nice to make it to Munson Meadow or maybe even Mokelumne Peak. I camped at the following coordinates: N 38 36' 18.9" W 120 03' 38.2". Here are some more pictures:
I had to get creative to take a picture of myself on the shore of Beebe Lake. Have you ever seen a sadder looking tree!