Run or Hike to First and Second Lake via Big Pine Creek North Fork

Run or Hike to First and Second Lake via Big Pine Creek North Fork

4024 Glacier Lodge Rd, Bishop, CA 93514, USA

Distance

10 Miles

Elevation Gain

3000 Feet

Activities

Fishing, Photography, Running, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Clare Healy

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic

If you're looking for an easily accessible trail that drops you right into the vast beauty of the John Muir Wilderness, Big Pine Creek North Fork is one of your best options in the Eastern Sierra.

The North Fork of Big Pine Creek is often cited as having the most unbelievable scenery reachable in a single day. And it's hard to disagree.

The Big Pine Creek North Fork trail is just minutes outside of Big Pine off the 395. If going in the winter, access to the trailhead can be closed off, so always be sure to check conditions with the governing agency before going.

From the start, this trail rises into California's High Sierra and heads straight toward the southernmost glaciers in the US - Palisade Glacier. Just below the glacier is 7 lakes, aptly named First Lake through Seventh Lake. 

Right when you've had enough exposure and switchback climbing during the initial ascent of your trip, you'll be dropped into the John Muir Wilderness, which immediately greets you with gushing rivers, forested area, and a cabin. About one mile from the cabin, you will get your first glimpses of Temple Crag looming high above the trees which will keep you going until the end.

While there are endless routes and overnighters you could do in this area, the trail to Second Lake and back is a perfect, yet strenuous day hike. The trailhead sits at 7,800 feet and over the course of out portion of the hike, climbs 3,000 feet more. You'll witness several peaks exceeding 14,000 feet en route including Mount Sill and Temple Crag, both home to some of the tallest (and most renown) rock climbing in the Sierra Nevada. 

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $100/night

Starry Night

Squaw Valley, California

From $170/night

Big Trees Lodge

Fish Camp, California

From $143/night

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Tioga Rd, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA 95389, USA

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Overall rating: 

Canadian Lakes in California

These beautiful crystal blue lakes make you feel as though you’re in a far away destination like Banff, but they’re only a day drive away from California’s biggest cities! Quite a long hike, but more than worth it for the views!

Distance

10 Miles

Elevation Gain

3000 Feet

Activities

Fishing, Photography, Running, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Clare Healy

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Backpack to Fourth Lake on the Big Pine Creek North Fork Trail

Adventure

Camp and Hike the Big Pine Lakes

Adventure

Climb Columbine Peak's NE Ridge

Adventure

Backpack to Long Lake

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