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Rae Lakes Loop - Etiquette question


a_gunslinger

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a_gunslinger

So I tried to apply for a clockwise trip of Rae Lakes Loop via the National Park Service. With good reason they limit the number of people per day and stagger them. I could not get the dates I need.

Another packer said you can approach from the US Forest District side (Onion Valley Trailhead) via Kearsarge Pass which connects to the Rae Lakes Loop. And since the US forest district isnt as strict and booked it was easier.

Etiquette question. Is that cheating? If I start on a national forest side and hook up with Rae Lakes Loop I can just camp in any of the scheduled campsites along the way of the trail? Im confused at why National Park Service can be be bypassed that way.

Thanks all.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

I haven’t done this trip, but from everything I am seeing both the National Park Service and the Inyo National Forest work together on this and the permit is to be issued by the agency that oversees the area you start your hike in. Looks like both systems have their own daily / overnight quotas. I think if the park service was especially focused on limiting use in a specific area they would implement a "backcountry zone" permit and quota, which would apply no matter where you start a trip from instead of entry or trailhead quotas. It appears that in the area you are looking at the park service does have some specific camping restrictions to take a look at however, and I would double check with the agency you get your permit from as well:

https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/rae-lakes-loop.htm

https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/wilderness_permits.htm

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd498796.pdf

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a_gunslinger

Thanks Aaron.  And that all makes sense.  The people that told me to check out this option had said when NPS denied them, the US Forest side granted permission.  Want to do the right thing.

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