Regarding COVID-19: Please recreate responsibly and practice social distancing. Closures and travel restrictions are changing rapidly, always check and respect local regulations.

Madera County, California

Backpack to Cecile Lake

16 Miles Total - 1904 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Addison Klinke

Take in unobstructed panoramic views above treeline. This spot has low light pollution, making it great for astrophotography.

Located in the heart of the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Cecile Lake can be reached from a variety of trailheads. I chose to start out in Agnew Meadows. From here, the trail criss-crosses through a serene lowland environment with several crystal clear streams. After passing Olaine Lake, veer left and continue past Shadow Lake (a nice lunch break choice).

Further along the trail, you will reach Ediza Lake, rumored to be John Muir's personal favorite in all of the Sierra. The scenery here definitely lives up to its reputation will tall, rocky peaks in the distance and lots of lush vegetation at the lake itself as it is just below treeline. Next, follow some switchbacks on the SE side of the lake as you ascend above treeline to Iceberg Lake. The last stretch to Cecile Lake gets a bit technical as you need to scramble up a fairly steep face at the south end of Iceberg Lake. Just look for the stream flowing out of Cecile Lake to point you in the right direction.

Once at the top, you are standing at nearly 10,500 feet and will have impressive panoramic views of the Minarets, Mount Ritter, and Banner Peak. Not to mention, you can also look down on Minaret Lake below. The high alpine grass in the meadows around Cecile Lake is very comfortable for afternoon naps. If you plan to spend the night, a sheltered location among the rocks above the lake on the east side is your best bet. Make sure to wake up extra early for sunrise, because the alpenglow on all the peaks is unreal!

Read More

Tags

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

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.

Stay Nearby

Crowley Lake, California

Agnew Meadows Group Camp

June Lake, California

Reversed Creek Campground

Crowley Lake, California

Twin Lakes Campground

Nearby Adventures

Backpack to Waugh Lake

11 Miles Round Trip - 1000 ft gain

Backpack to Ediza Lake

13.4 Miles Round Trip - 1200 ft gain

Backpack Ansel Adams' Banner Lake

15.6 Miles Round Trip - 1307 ft gain

Tours