4-Day Backpack Trip to Thousand Island Lake

Yosemite Agnew Meadows Trailhead

Added by Aaron Bird

One of the most picturesque views in all of the Eastern Sierras and the backdrop to one of Ansel Adam's most iconic photographs of Banner Peak. It will be the best 4-days of your life.

Start from Agnew Meadows about 7 miles away. You can take the High Trail out as part of the River Trail with a long detour passing by several other scenic lakes, including Shadow Lake, Garnet Lake, and Ruby Lake. You will arrive at Thousand Island Lake a few hours after lunch, just in time to set up camp, nap, then have dinner.

If you're heading down Minaret Road (SR 203) to get to the Angnew Meadows trailhead during the summer, it's closed to passenger vehicles beyond Minaret Summit from 7am to 7:30pm. During that time, you have to ride the shuttle ($7 per person) from the Mammoth Mountain Inn into Devils Postpile National Monument. For more information on the shuttle, see here. If you're looking to get an early start or are coming back late, the gates are unmanned.

Camped along Thousand Island Lake for 3 nights:
  • Day 1: Hike in, set up camp
  • Day 2: Short hike to Lake Catherine & back, stayed up to stargaze
  • Day 3: Long hike around Waugh Lake followed by well deserved nap
  • Day 4: Hike out, drive to Mammoth for burgers & beer

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag & pad
  • Stove
  • Water purification
  • Food, snacks & water
  • Stove
  • Bear canister (required)
  • Deet or netting (both optional but recommended)
  • Warm clothing (summer nights can get chilly)
  • Camera
  • Backcountry Permit
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Hiking boots
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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



Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn




Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

over 1 year ago

Fantastic spot! Bring your camera, stay up late and watch the stars. This is a wildly popular backcountry spot because the JMT (John Muir Trail) runs through this area. Try to get to the lake earlier in the day to pick a great campsite. Bear cans are a must out here.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Thousand Island Lake is the most Photographic Lake in the Yosemite Backcountry.

over 1 year ago

about 2 years ago

Lots of mosquitoes when I did this so be prepared.

about 2 years ago

Added by Aaron Bird

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Shadow of the Giants Trail

Yosemite / Shadow of the Giants Trail

The Shadow of the Giants National Recreation trail is an amazing 1.1 mile self-guided hike through the heart of Nelder Grove.

Dan Deublein
8 Saves

Hike to Crystal Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Yosemite / Crystal Lake Trailhead, Mammoth Lakes

In Lake George, park along Lake George Road and walk towards Crystal Crag Trailhead sign to begin the hike.

Aaron Jaro
11 Saves

Hike to the Waterfalls of Lundy Canyon

Yosemite / Lundy Canyon Trail

In order to get to the trail you first have to drive past the beautiful Lundy Lake nestled in deep canyon.

Matt Purciel
12 Saves