Backpack Big Pine Lakes

Details

Distance

12 miles

Elevation Gain

3000 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Christopher Grant

The big pine lakes loop provides easy access to high sierra glacial lakes. Several 14ers are also in the area, as well as the largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada range.

While driving up the Glacier Lodge Rd, take a right turn at the fork with a sign for overnight hikers that leads to a separate parking lot. The trail starts at the lot (8000 ft) and continues for about a mile until it splits into the south and north fork of Big Pine creek. For the lakes trail, take the north fork. You'll continue along the creek for the majority of the trail and pass several waterfalls and a plenty of aspens. In about 5 miles, First Lake will be visible. For the best views of Temple Crag, continue to second lake and set up camp there.

Overnight camping requires a wilderness permit, and generally fires aren't allowed above 10,000 ft, which means that a fire can't be built at any of the seven lakes. The loop can be done easily as a single night, or you can spend longer exploring the area. Just before 4th Lake is a trail that leads to the Palisade Glacier, Mt Sill, and the North Palisade. Even if you don't have the proper equipment to summit any of the 14ers or climb up the glacier, I highly recommend checking out the area.

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Known for

Rock Climbing
Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Cliff Jumping

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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