Kibbie Lake Trail is a 29.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite National Park, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking and is accessible from May until October.
A great backpacking trip to Kibbie Lake in Yosemite National Park This trip takes you on an eleven mile loop across streams, through fields of ferns, and to a beautiful Sierra lake. On the way to the lake, you take the Kibbie Creek trail. The Kibbie Creek trailhead begins between Cherry Lake and Lake Eleanor (you drive across the Cherry Lake Dam to get there) at 5,000 ft above sea level. The Cherry Creek trail begins by winding up through some very dry terrain but soon turns into pine and redwood trees. It climbs steady up to 7,200 ft making this a strenuous trail. Along the way there are a couple stream crossings. Kibbie Creek can be a torrent at high melt times, so come prepared and ask the ranger when you get the permit about it. This stretch of the trail can be split in half for a great multi-day trip with some great camp sites about 3 miles in. Kibbie Lake has many great spots to camp. You can set up a camp right along the shore if you don't mind the mosquitos or you can camp on the granite on the West side or back toward the South a bit on granite that rises out of the lake making some great viewpoints. The trip back takes you along a much easier trail called Kibbie Ridge which only gains a little elevation and is mostly down hill all the way to the car. An alternate (and about 5 miles shorter route) is to start at the Kibbie Ridge trailhead and come back out that way as well. Drive all the way to the end of the road to reach the Kibbie Ridge trailhead (It's not on any maps that I found, but it's there!).
Well, what an amazing trail!
We did the loop – which makes the whole thing about 16 miles. I don't know why this page has it been at 29 miles.
The drive in is long and windy, so leave enough time to get in there. This place is remote!
We started at Eleanor Lake dam, and took the southern side trail over the mountain first and then came back the nice gentle decline on the way back.
It can get pretty exposed in places, so start early. The trail takes you through so many different terrains. If we were to do it again, we would probably start at the Eleanor camping sites trailhead, take the trail to the junction of the Eleanor Lakes camping trail and Kibbie creek track, and then follow the trail to Kibbie Lake from there.
We started at Lake Eleanor Dam, but the 1mile track from there to the junction was overgrown and pretty unpleasant.
Kibbie Creek is beautiful. Definitely worth your time to stop, enjoy the stream, swim in the small lush granite canyon.
From there, the trail goes up steeply, and doesn't stop until you reach the top. You can lose the trail pretty easily because it's not frequently walked, but there's enough piles of rocks that you'll find your way.
There are lots of beautiful granite monoliths, redwood forests, ferns, ridges and gullies along the way that you'll always be in awe, and it'll keep your mind off the hill - which is steep!!
Once you reach the top, it's a very easy and fast track down to the lake.
We stayed on the south side of the lake which has a great swimming hole and beautiful views, but if you make your way to the north side, there's more camping spots and more great views.
On the way home, it's a lush Redwood and Fern Valley, and lovely soft underfoot. We jogged most of it with full packs. It took us only about 2 hours to make it back to the Eleanor Lakes camping trail junction.
We then did the final walk around on our lake to the dam to get back to the car.
Well worth it! We'll prob go again soon.
I did this loop with four others. We hiked in Saturday morning and back out on Sunday morning, walking counter-clockwise from the Lake Eleanor trailhead. The trail is not well marked at several points along the eastern arm of the trail, but using the GPS we eventually were able to track down another cairn further along the trail. Elevation gain was steady on our hike in, and on the way out it was largely flat until the last several miles, which were steadily downhill back to the parking spot. Kibbie Lake itself is stunning, and there are many great spots to camp around it, flat with soft sand.
A moderate hike with scenic views.