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Backpack to Big Bird Lake & Moose Lake

Sequoia National Park, California



30 miles

Elevation Gain

8000 ft

Route Type



Added by Leslie Chang

2 night cross country backpacking trip to remote lakes in Sequoia National Park. Enjoy the whole place to yourself!

This trip requires a wilderness permit. You can get one at the Lodgepole Visitor Center where you can also rent a bear canister or use the bathroom before heading out.

Wolverton Trailhead -> Big Bird Lake (~12 miles)

The start of the trail is on the left side of the parking lot and towards the middle. The trail splits into the Watchtower Trail or the Hump Trail but both lead to Pear Lake. This trail is well traveled and takes you through a forest. You'll see plenty of people on your way but once you hit Pear Lake ranger station, you'll start going off trail and leave behind the crowd. We went in September and there was basically no water after Pear Lake so make sure you have enough to last you until Big Bird Lake.

Stay towards the north and head toward Table Meadows. Past that you'll hit the Tablelands. It's basically all large slabs of granite until you reach Big Bird Lake. Finding the route can be tricky but my general advice is to pick the path of least resistance (less steep) towards the general direction you're headed. There is an unnamed lake that is northeast of Big Bird Lake that you can get to if you run out of water before Big Bird Lake but it requires a very steep descent. Once you reach Big Bird Lake, you'll most likely be the only person there and you'll get to enjoy the whole place to yourself. Relax and maybe catch some fish for dinner.

Big Bird Lake -> Moose Lake (~5 miles)

After Big Bird Lake, head toward west back to the Tableland area. As you start gaining elevation, you'll see two lakes on the way to Moose Lake. You'll pass by more slabs of granite and meadows. You'll probably see other people camping at Moose Lake. There are also fish in the lake. 

Moose Lake -> Wolverton Trailhead (~12 miles)

After you've enjoyed Moose Lake, climb up toward the northeast. There will be this large granite structure around 11,000 ft where you can get a great view above Moose Lake. From there, you can head towards Alta Peak or head back to Pear Lake. There is an old unmaintained trail that is hard to flow but eventually you will reach the trail. From there, it's straightforward back to the parking lot.

NOTE: These distances are an approximation due to inefficiencies going off trail. Make sure to map out everything before you head out!

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Leave No Trace

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


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