Backpack to Blue Canyon Lake

Blue Canyon Lake

Blue Canyon Lake is a stunning alpine lake that makes for great for a day hike, but can also be an overnight trip.

Trailhead Coordinates: 38º 19'08.46"N 119º39'49.26"W Elev 8897ft

The trail is kind of tricky to find. It is West of the PCT trailhead at Sonora Pass and it is not marked. You park along the side of Hwy 108 and scramble down an embankment where a creek flows at the bottom. Cross this creek and you will see the trail. Try to get to the trailhead as early in the day as possible, as parking is very limited (about enough room for four vehicles).

This hike takes you into the Emigrant Wilderness. You will pass through alpine meadows of breathtaking wild flowers. The path is very steep at times and rocky, so it can be a bit slippery. You follow a stream for the majority of the hike.

Blue Canyon Lake is stunning, sitting at 10,052ft. Its waters are turquoise and crystal clear. You can swim, enjoy a nice lunch by the water, and even camp in the area.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Food
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking Sticks
  • Camera
  • Tent and other camping gear (if you plan on spending the night)
  • Swimsuit
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RT Distance 3.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 1280 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Amazing Day Hike

Went up for the day, and was not disappointed. With it being less known, can be difficult to see exactly where to go to get started and the trail gets faint at times. We did get lost on our way back, just missing a spot to cross the creek. Only saw maybe 10 other people on a Saturday. It was beautiful the whole trip, so many waterfalls from the creek. Id say it was definitely intermediate versus beginner. Rocks break off very easily so good shoes were important. Excited to show other friends this trail that had the most rewarding lake at the end.

Rewarding Views

This is one of my all time favorite day hikes. Start by parking your car off the side of highway 108 and you will see a small trail on the right side. It will lead you up and deep in the mountains. There are plenty of wildflowers and beautiful landscape. Be careful because there are a few spots where the terrain becomes very rocky and you can easily slip. There is also a beautiful creek to enjoy along your ascent. Once you reach Blue Canyon, you might fall short of your words, it is an amazing crystal blue color surrounded by tall, dark peaks. This hike is a short 3.6 miles in and out trip. Be sure to follow the Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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