|Typically Open:||Invalid date - Invalid date|
(MODERATE - EXTREME)
|Highest Elevation:||10500 feet|
|Duration:||About 4 days|
|Shape of Trail:||Straight Through|
|Best Direction to Travel:||North|
|Nearest Town:||Shaver Lake|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Fresno|
|Official Road Name:||7S32 - Dusy-Ershim|
|Management Agency:||Forest Service of Pacific Southwest Region|
If you haven't heard of the Dusy-Ershim trail yet, you will soon. Many believe this is the newest hardest multiday off-road trip you can do today. The trail is comprised of both overland and rock crawling. If you ask someone that has recently done the Rubicon, they will say this trail is about 3-6 times harder. The Dusy-Ershim offers some of the hardest wheeling around, from mile long rocky hill climbs, to very technical obstacles, to some of the most amazing camping & fishing you have ever done in your life. The views have something to be said about too. Just be warned, this isn't an easy trip, even the most built rigs will leave this trail with mechanical failure. Be prepared, because body damage is almost guaranteed, even for the best drivers. If you are up to the challenge, expect the trip to take you in the range of 3-5 days.
Severe conditions. Extreme caution recommended. Impassable by stock vehicles. Winching required. Trail building necessary. May be impassable. Impassable under anything but ideal conditions. Vehicle damage probable. Personal injury possible. Extreme caution necessary.Read more about our rating system
|Summer:||Opens Aug 1st, but still very cold and possible of being still closed due to snow.|
|Fall:||Snow is common|
This is the gateway to the Dusy-Ershim Trail, it is also the beginning of Voyager Rock Trail. For more information on this short segment of trail prior to the beginning of the Dusy-Ershim Trail, please visit the information on Voyager Rock.
There is a staging area for people to get ready to do the trail. People do leave their vehicles over night here. But be warned, no one is watching your stuff.
Voyager Rock Camp Ground is the last campground prior to starting the Dusy-Ershim Trail. Many people use this campground as their meet up point prior to starting the trail. Voyager Rock Campground is a popular destination for both Dusy adventures and campers. This campground offers stunning views of the granite mountains, a very large lake to fish from, and some of the best hiking you have ever seen In your life. Please follow camp rules.
This is the official starting point for the Dusy-Ershim Trail on the South end. Note this trail is only open for a couple months a year, August to the end of October. For those who are thinking of waiting to after the rush, it does start snowing up there in September, thus it is best to plan your trip as early in the year as you can. For more information on the status of this gate, please reach out to the forestry service.
Most people think twice about trying Chicken Rock. The 45-60 degree incline will get your heart pumping as you feel like you are climbing into the heavens. Just follow the reflectors while on the granite. While on top, you are going to be introduced to some of the best 360 degree views on the trail. This is also one of the largest areas on the trail which makes for a good picture opportunity if you are traveling with a large group. Be ready for your first taste of what the Dusy is going to offer when heading down the North side of Chicken Rock. There is several rough descents and even a 4 foot waterfall. (This is good indicator of the trail, if you can't make this hill decent, you might want to turn around and come back when your vehicle is ready. This piece of advice will save you a lot of money on body damage and vehicle repairs.)
Dusy Meadows is the calm before the storm of Thompson Hill. The trail leading up to this point has been rather mild, once you pass Dusy Meadows, you will have to face the insane hill climb of Thompson hill. Past Thompson Hill there are many very technical obsitlces and tree squeezes that will likely do body damage to most of the group. As for Dusy Meadows, this area is very scenic and has some beautiful views. Another great part of the meadows is the log bridges that criss-cross along the Dusy Creek. These bridges provide lots of fun to drive across and create great photos. There are several grassy areas in the meadows and it is recommend stopping here if you and your group are going to break for lunch.
Thompson hill is the single longest obstacle on the trail. At almost a mile long, the hill climb seems to never end. Be ready for this, there are plenty of large rocks in the middle of the path that make it hard to traverse this hill. Many people say this is the hardest obstacle when heading south to north, but not the most technical.
According to which way you are going, you are either happy to be at the top of Thompson Hill or you are looking down this hill wondering how long it is going to take. The average group takes over an hour to conquer this one obstacle. Some say it is harder going down because of all the sliding and less control resulting the vehicle to work its self into bad positions. While others say it is harder going up. Let us know what you think... Either way you go, this part of the trail will likely end with paint being scratched and metal breaking.
One of the two Thompson Lake Campgrounds. This location offers an outhouse but does not offer a bench or fire pit. This lake has Brook Trout. Thompson Lake (Just to the north).
One of the two Thompson Lake Campgrounds. They offer a picnic bench, fire ring (no wood fires), and even an outhouse. Thompson Lake Campground is just steps away from Thompson Lake which provides some good fishing and relaxation. This lake has Brook Trout. Thompson Lake (Just to the east).
Lost Lake (Off Trail) - 20 minute hike from the trail
Summit Lake (Off Trail). Be warned, Summit lake has lots of mosquitos.
East lake is the next stop that has a outhouse, fire ring (no wood fires), and picnic table. Many people make this there second or third camping spot when taking the 4-5 approach to the trail. Even though East Lake requires a hike down to it, many people enjoy stopping here because of the good fishing. This lake has Brook Trout. East Lake is not visible from route
The next lake along the trail is Ershim Lake. Ershim Lake isn't know for its good fishing as East Lake, but it does have a view that is breath taking. This lake has Brook Trout.
Ershim Lake is the next popular stop for camping. Typically the 2nd to 3rd night. This site has a picnic table, fire ring (no wood fires), and an outhouse. Ershim Lake fishing isn't as good as the other lakes but has a view that is untouchable.
Ershim Lake is the next popular stop for camping. Typically the 2nd to 3rd night. This site has a picnic table, fire ring (no wood fires), and an outhouse.
Mallard Lake (20 minute hike) - Mallard lake turn off is the last outhouse of the trip. Plan accordingly. This lake has Brook Trout.
The Rock Garden just south of Lakecamp Lake
Lakecamp Lake is unique on the Dusy Ershim Trail, this is the only lake that has Rainbow Trout. This lake also has a large meadow that provide lots of great animal/bird watching.
Lakecamp Campground is the last campsite along the way. Please note, this is the only lake campsite that doesn't have an outhouse. There is an outhouse about 1/2 mile back up the trail where the Millard Lake cut off is. The campsite does have a picnic table. This campsite is also slightly unique because of how tight the forest is in this location, making sleeping in a hammock possible.
The view says it all. The trail run along the ridge of the mountains then along the edge of an cliff. While in this small section, the trail opens up to provide one of the most stunning views of the Dusy-Ershim Trail.
This insanely hard hill was created in the 2016 year. Prior to this year this was just a dirt hill. This one section will likely get people stuck and require a winch or two. The holes in this small section are over 3 feet deep while the rocks are over 3 feet tall. The combination of the holes and rocks with the very narrow path makes this a one of the hardest obstacles on the trail. If traveling North to South, expect lots of rock stacking to get even the most equipped vehicles through this section. South to North isn't a joke either, expect possible body damage and getting hung up on your driveline.
This is one of the hardest rock crawling obstacles on the trail. If you are wondering, there is a bypass for the people going from South to North. But for those going from North to South you will have your driving skills challenged to make it up it. For those that can't you will get your first real dose of how much rock stacking you will do during this trip.
This is the first or last rock garden of the trail. This area of rock crawling will get the heart pumping. One of the great things about heading North to South is every day when you first get on the trail you will faced with a hard obstacle first thing.
This is the official end/beginning of the Dusy-Ershim Trail.
North End of Trail, where the dirt meets the asphalt (Kaiser Pass)
Trailhead Coordinates: 37.082539, -118.962989
Starting Point: Shaver Lake, CA