Hike to Lower Monarch Lake

Yosemite Sawtooth Trailhead

Added by Kristina Zhylenkova

  • Perfect for a day hike
  • Mileage: 4.2 miles (one-way) to Lower Monarch Lake
  • The trail reaches 10,400 feet at the lake
  • Duration: Full-day

The drive takes about 90 minutes to get to the trailhead from Three Rivers, CA so plan accordingly and make sure you get there early. Lower Mineral Lake is located below Sawtooth Peak in Sequoia National Park.

Once you're parked and ready to jump on the trail, head to the Sawtooth Trailhead. You'll immediately feel your hear racing as you climb switchbacks for the fisrt 3/4 of a mil. When you come to the junction, head right, away from Timber Gap, and continue heading uphill. As you're climbing, you'll get great views of the valley and the Kaweah River.

As you continue head, stay close to Monarch Creek, which leads you to a small meadow, where you'll head to the right and cross the creek before entering the forest.

Once you reach the trail junction with the Crystal Lake Trail, head to the left. From here, it's about 1.2 miles to Lower Monarch Lake. As you enter the canyon, you'll get great views of Sawtooth Peak (12,343'). When you arrive at the lake, this is a great spot where if you're backpacking, you can set up camp, break out the fishing pole and relax after your uphill climb.

If you're up for it or planning to camp, you can check out Upper Monarch Lake with an extra mile hike roundtrip. When you're ready, head up the rocky path situated between the two lakes.

Pack List

  • Water (bring extra)
  • Bug spray (mosquitoes can be a problem during summer months)
  • Rain jacket (thunderstorms are common in this area, even in the summer)
  • Camera (the scenery factor is very high)
  • Lunch (there are plenty of spots to enjoy a nice meal near the lake)
  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Overnight trips require a Wilderness Permit
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Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



8.4 Miles



Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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Love Mineral King!

This is a great trail in Mineral King. I personally went past this lake and all the way up Sawtooth Peak, which has a lot of climbing/bouldering but definitely worth it!

5 months ago

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