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Tragedy Creek Bear River backpack adventure loop

Hiking Trail or Trailhead

Start at the Shot Rock Vista, along Hwy 88, about 15 km west of Silver Lake. Hike straight down into the canyon (pass alongside a dead tree, visible from the top), crossing minor creeks and negotiating a few short cliffs, before arriving at Tragedy Creek.

Tragedy Creek is a beautiful place through June, with wonderful pools and many cascades. The hike in to Tragedy is relatively kid-friendly (however, the remainder of this trip is not). As you hike downriver, stay on the south side. No trail but travel is fairly easy, skirting the occasional obstacle. Some kilometers down, Tragedy Creek cascades and falls down into a basin to meet Bear River. You are at a significant cliff, and finding the way down is challenging. Nonetheless, there is a reasonable descent off to the left, which will bring you down to a small isolated lake. Stay on the west side of the lake, make a crossing of Bear River, then scramble up and left through rocky, ledgy terrain, staying just above the fine set of falls (if you don't like this option, you can scramble back up the cliffs on the north side of Bear River, but you do miss views of the waterfall). Then just hike along, coming down to the river and moving along it for a few kilometers, one side or the other. Unless you are in supreme shape, figure on camping along here somewhere. Using your topo and/or GPS, there are a couple of alternatives for returning to Tragedy Creek, the farther east of which brings you back along volcanic outcrops and down a creek drainage. Once back at Tragedy Creek, make you way back towards Shot Rock Vista, heading in a WNW direction. A little luck is in order to avoid some brushy or cliffy areas here and there.

This is one of the finest local Sierra adventures that I can describe.

Trail Distance

10 - 15 km depending on choice of return to Tragedy Creek.

Vertical Gain or Loss

300 m more or less

Nearby Places