John Muir Wilderness Boundary, Goodale Pass to Vermillion Valley Resort
The Back way into Vermilion Valley Resort through Fish Valley...
I had to turn around to take this picture, because I was coming down from Goodale Pass out of the John Muir Wilderness to visit Vermillion Valley Resort, which sits a couple of miles past the Wilderness boundary. Heck, I had been off of the John Muir Trail for three days, doing my own custom route.
I prefer to veer from the John Muir Trail at Red's Meadow following Rainbow Falls Trail, but going straight to Fish Creek, rather than turning right at the Rainbow Falls trail junction.
Off the top of my head, I believe it's about 27 miles from Red's Meadow to Iva Bell Hot Springs. I've got to chek this... The trail is in good shape, and cuts through beautiful country. Iva Bell is pretty easy to find, as once you pass the Rainbow Falls Trail junction, Iva Bell is just past where the trail splits.
But anyway, going to Iva Bell means I'm going to walk to VVR, which adds a couple of dozen miles to the trip's total mileage, and a few thousand feet of extra vertical elevation to hike over. All of this extra backpacking is good!
On the way to Iva Bell you see much in Fish Creek.
Below: Lower Pool, Iva Bell.
To get to the upper pools you have quite a steep hike, but it is worth the effort. Below: View from the 95 degree upper pool. It was sooooo nice!
Forty yards to the left, at the same level on the mountain, is a super-fine camp site. Between this pool and the camp site is a fine, almost cold water spring, so this camp is good for water.
Below: The custom high camp at Iva Bell Hot Springs.
Check out the back way into Vermillion Valley Resort from Red's Meadow. It is a good bit longer, and takes you up quite a bit of extra elevation, and it is pretty remote, compared to the John Muir Trail. As you can tell, I can't think of any negatives about this alternative route!