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Evolution Valley via Florence Lake

Lakeshore, California

based on 4 reviews



30.36 miles

Elevation Gain

3238 ft

Route Type



Added by Christopher Grant

Evolution Valley via Florence Lake offers up multiple nights in the High Sierra as the trail follows the South Fork of the San Joaquin. With high sierra meadows and valleys, it's really incredible.

You can get to the Evolution Basin a variety of ways, but the easiest is through the Florence Lake Trailhead. Here, you can choose to either take the Florence Lake Ferry across the lake, or save $25 and hike the extra 4 miles around the lake. Personally, I would choose the ferry.

About five miles from the lake is Muir Trail Ranch. This is a place where many PCT and JMT through hikers stop for a warm meal and comfortable nights rest.

The actual hike to Evolution Valley is beautiful. It follows the south fork of the San Joaquin and Evolution Creek nearly all the way. Depending on your fitness level, you can get to the valley in a day, and choose to go farther to Evolution Lake. Roundtrip mileage to the McClure Meadow Ranger Station from the south end of Florence Lake is about 30 miles and 3200 feet of elevation gain.

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Easy Parking
Hot Springs

Evolution Valley via Florence Lake Reviews

Yes I did this hike for 5 days and it was amazing adventure ...!!!

My brother and I did about half of this hike while camping by Shaver Lake. So so beautiful, I hope to go back here one day to backpack

It doesn’t get much better than this. Stop by Muir Trail camp for a dip in the hot springs and you pretty much achieve perfection.

I did this backpacking trip this year. The views are amazing and the fishing was in full effect! Check out the few campsites near the back of the valley before the switchbacks up to Evolution Lake.

Leave No Trace

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


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John Muir Trail: McClure Meadows