Bishop, California

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

10 Miles Total - 3000 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Clare Healy

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. 

Read More

Tags

Fishing
Photography
Running
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

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!

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

Big Pine, California

Big Pine Creek Campground

Big Pine, California

Big Pine Canyon

Big Pine, California

Upper Sage Flat

South Lake Road

Table Mountain (Inyo)

Nearby Adventures

Camp and Hike the Big Pine Lakes

12.5 Miles Round Trip - 3000 ft gain

Climb Columbine Peak's NE Ridge

15 Miles Round Trip - 5000 ft gain

Backpack to Long Lake

7 Miles Round Trip

Tours

Win a Vacation Getaway to Santa Cruz!

Experience all Santa Cruz County has to offer this season! Enter to win a customized “Let’s Cruz” vacation getaway and choose from an array of activities to enhance your visit. 

Grand prize includes a 2-night stay at a three-bedroom condo at Pajaro Dunes Resort, a $150 “Capitola Dine & Shop Experience” gift certificate in Capitola Village, a Craftbar Experience at Annieglass Studios for four guests, four tickets to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and four tickets to Roaring Camp Railroads.

Customize your “Let’s Cruz” vacation package entry by selecting four activities below to include outdoor adventure, dining, beer and wine tasting, family fun, spa treatments, and relaxation.