What do you do on a long weekend when you have friends in from out of town? City friends at that and from sea level. You drag them up mountains and pray they don’t get altitude sickness and hate you for the rest of eternity.
I had heard quite a bit about Penner Lake and figured that we should go see for ourselves what the fuss was all about. The hike up consisted of a series of Sierra Lakes which were stunning and quite busy, but it was Fourth of July weekend after all. You start at Feely Lake which is at 6,720 feet in elevation. From there you’ll pass Island Lake, yes, there’s an island. At Island Lake you’ll turn left and hike along Crooked Lakes Trail for about a mile and a half. The last half mile is uphill on some rocky terrain but nothing too terrible. While it’s a little cold for my taste there were a handful of kids doing cannon balls into the lake and laughing uncontrollably. Almost made me want to go swimming. Maybe next time.
If you’re up for this hike yourself I would suggest you plan some driving time. Once you exit Hwy 20 via Bowman Road you’ll drive almost nine miles. Turn right onto a dirt road, a rather rough dirt road, and I know my dirt roads, and follow the signs towards Carr Lake. There are a couple of parking areas in case the main area is full. It’s a short walk to the trailhead at Carr Lake.
The hike is dog friendly. Horses and mountain bikers are also welcome. No permits are required and parking at the trailhead is free. I think that covers the fine print.