Inyo National Forest Closes Segments of Rush Creek Trails
The Inyo National Forest, through a forest order, is closing segments of the Rush Creek Trail for public safety from June 30, 2017 through September 1, 2017.
The wet winter of 2016-2017, with more than 180% of average annual precipitation and close to 200% of average runoff forecast, has exacerbated safety concerns for dams within the Rush Creek Hydroelectric System (RCHS) on the Inyo National Forest. The extreme water year means water levels will likely exceed seismic safety ratings for a period of more than 25 days in Waugh Reservoir. The RCHS is currently operated by Southern California Edison under a license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The forest order prohibits:
- Being within 800 feet of Rush Creek, from its intersection with the Waugh Lake Dam, then east to its intersection with Gem Lake, as shown on the attached map. 36 CFR 261.53(e).
- Being on the National Forest System trails listed below and shown on the attached map.
o Rush Creek Trail from a point 750 feet north of its intersection with Clark Lakes Trail, then west to a point 528 feet west of its intersection with Weber Lake Trail.
o Clark Lakes Trail from its intersection with Rush Creek trail, then south 1600 feet.
o Spooky Meadows Trail from its intersection with Rush Creek Trail, then south to its intersection with the Ansel Adams Wilderness Boundary below Spooky Meadow.
o Weber Lake Trail from its intersection with Rush Creek Trail, then south 1500 feet.
This closure affects access to popular destinations such as Thousand Island Lake, the John Muir Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.
Visitors who hold a wilderness permit reservation made prior to June 30th for entry at the Rush Creek Trailhead should call the Wilderness Permit Office at (760) 873-2483 to cancel their reservation or reserve an alternate trailhead. The exception is for hikers (both day and overnight) whose destination is Gem Lake or the Alger Lake Trail.
Hikers, including PCT thru-hikers, cannot exit via the Rush Creek Trail and need to make alternate plans for exit and resupply.