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[pct-l] Ira Bell hot springs / Fish Creek alternate route

We have made the trip to Iva Bell by every possible route over the years, and no
matter which way you go it is supremely worthwhile.  We have done every route
successfully with llamas, so we never encountered anything that would stop a
backpacker.   Last year we got to Iva Bell from Vermillion by hiking the Onion
Springs OHV route, then up the steep trail to Arch Rock (another fabulous place
not to be missed), then through the Margaret Lakes Basin, and down a
rock-hopping ducked route past Rainbow Lake that dropped down to Cascade
Valley.  At times we had to follow old tree cuts, ducks and random blazes.  The
last couple miles were on narrow, eroded sidehill on a very steep slope.  The
last mile before the valley bottom was bushwhacking through thick chaparral,
where we found the entire scattered skeleton of a horse.  Then up the Cascade
Valley trail to spend a couple nights at the hot spring. Yes, the Cascade Valley
trail and the trail north to Red's Meadow are heavily used by the pack station
and are deep decomposed granite, but the trail also goes through some
geologically fascinating terrain with spectacular views.    The burn happened a
good long time ago and it is interesting to see the vegetation recovering.
Wildflowers are excellent in the area.  Also you get to walk right past splendid
Rainbow Falls.  All in all our last three nights from VVR to Red's were a great
and unforgettable adventure.
Marion Davison

"Reynolds, WT" wrote:

> Iva Bell Hot Springs is worth the trip. Actually, the perfect trip would be
> Rainbow falls to Iva Bell, then up Fish Creek to the Purple Lake cutoff, up
> to the JMT at Purple Lake then past Virginia Lake and Tully Hole. This route
> would catch all the hot spots but would meander up and down. The hike up to
> Purple will get you attention.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steve Courtway [mailto:scourtway@bpa-arch.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 3:21 PM
> To: PCT-L@mailman.backcountry.net
> Subject: [pct-l] Ira Bell hot springs / Fish Creek alternate route
> I am considering taking the Fish Creek
> alternate route past rainbow falls to
> Ira Bell hot springs on my upcoming JMT hike.
> Are the hot springs worth the side trip ?
> I have read the trail south from Red's Meadow
> to the springs is in terrible condition and
> not the most enjoyable hike due to the burn and
> heavy stock travel.  Has anybody any opinions
> regarding this side route and the condition
> of the hot springs?
> thanks,
> Steve Courtway
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