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Must have axe/crampons/snowshoes/24 pack/beginner mountaineering experience. I recommend layers and winter attire but it isn't needed if you're young, just be constantly warm and avoid exposure to wind. Not as dangerous as Devil's backbone but still pretty dangerous in the winter. GPS not needed because the trail is still heavily trafficked, unless you wanna explore. The view is not bad, definitely prettier in the winter imo.

I have done this hike two times now it is one of my favorites it is very steep once you pass the ski hut and when I did it a couple of days ago there was snow on the summit so you will probably need crampons soon if we get more snow

Rewarding hike for mind and body...beautiful views... great trail. Lots of switchbacks between 9000 and 10000 feet, definitely a challenge as an infrequent hiker from the East coast.

The hike up to the lake was very tough, at least for me, maybe I’m out of shape lol. As soon as we got to the lake we caught fish. The Brook Trouts were kind of small, but I’m sure there are some larger fish. Between the four of us, we caught thirteen fish within an hour. This lake is absolutely beautiful I’m so glad we decided to do this.

I loved it started at 2:00 pm. Yesterday came back down devils back bone.

backpacking
1 month ago

I started this loop from onion valley and did it counterclockwise. I believe it is a harder route starting from the eastern Sierra side, which added an extra 10 miles or so, but the hike up and over kearsarge pass is well worth the extra mileage.

It took 4 days at a relatively moderate pace to complete the loop. My last day was only a six mile day so it is definitely possible to do it in 3 days starting from onion valley.

Mosquitos weren’t too bad in late July though I’ve heard that they’re horrendous earlier in the season. Bugs other than mosquitos were a nuisance so I highly recommend a bug net around your head which I wore half the hike.

There are plenty of people on the trail with pct and jmt hikers making their way on the eastern parts of the loop.

Visually stunning.

hiking
1 month ago

We did this trip counter clockwise from Oct 5-12. We tacked on a few side trips including Kearsarge Lakes and 60 Lakes Basin. We had one snow storm the day before doing Glen Pass but we just delayed our ascent a few hours until the sun had melted the pass on the south side and then things were not that bad. It was spectacular. I would recommend spending at least one day at Rae Lakes, it is the jewel of the hike. Water was available along the entire trip except for the ascent up Glen Pass. I carried 1 liter of water on me the entire trip and it worked well for me. Bring warm clothes as several nights got down into the teens. We saw several bears but they all kept their distance from us and we had no negative encounters. Bugs were almost non-existant but we did see 4 different snake species including a rattlesnake the first day hiking in. This was definitely a worth while trip and I will do it again.

2 months ago

Stunning hike, hardly a dull moment anywhere on this trail. We did the loop clockwise in 4 days camping at Upper Paradise Valley, Middle Rae Lake and Junction Meadow. Would have spent an extra day at the Rae Lakes if we had the time. We went just after the permit season ended and the weather was perfect but did get cold at night. No crossings and very few bugs. Abundant access to water for most of the trail except the Glen pass area. Highly recommend.

backpacking
2 months ago

WARNING: this trail is NOT 37 miles. NPS has accurate mileage information: https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/rae-lakes-loop.htm

Could not have come at a better time. Fall colors are in the trees! Great hike with magnificent views! Pretty steady climb

backpacking
2 months ago

Did the loop from 9/26-9/29. Gnats were a pain from 5,000-7,000ft. Save yourself endless swatting and bring a head net.

I've been to the top of Baldy at least 10 times over the past year or so, but I never went up Ski Hut/Baldy Bowl until today. Just like it looks on the map, it's one of the more direct trails to the summit, albeit quite a bit less scenic that the other options. It would be a nice way for newbie hikers to check Baldy off their 6 pack list, but for a much more scenic experience, consider at least descending via Devils Backbone. If you have legs and lungs for something more challenging, skip Baldy Bowl and take a romp up Register Ridge or Bear Canyon.

As of Sept 10th 2018 there was water available near the Ski Hut if you want to do the first few miles light and filter later.

Spectacular!! Spent 3 unusual days on the trail, starting at Roads End where we were told we couldn’t go clockwise around the loop. At that time, we felt like it wasn’t a big deal but it definitely changed the trip. After many conversations with other hikers we discovered Counter has a much steeper incline with several switchbacks on your 2 day journey to Glenn’s Pass, whereas Clockwise is still up hill the entire way, but the incline is more gradual. We hiked Day 1 from Roads End to Junction Meadow, around 10 miles steeply uphill and it kicked our butt pretty good. Saw a rattle snake on the trail which was pretty cool. Met a lot of really cool hikers of all backgrounds. It was a challenging hike with many rewards. Day 2 we had a shorter day as my partner was beginning to experience the effects of altitude and we made it to Charlotte Lake around 2 pm to camp for the night. I highly recommend this beautiful spot. Unfortunately throughout the night my partner’s symptoms worsened so we had to get up early and head the 17 miles back down to Roads End. I can say heading down this side of the trail was amazingly beautiful! All in all a great 3 days and because I wasn’t able to make the summit and swim in Rae Lake, it is a great motivation to head back next year for round 2.

Amazing views.

backpacking
2 months ago

We did the loop in clockwise direction in 3 days and 3 nights. Would have been really tough the other direction. Wish we had spent longer at Rae Lakes, it's really a magical place. We went in September right after quota season ended. They now have self-issue permits. The climb was reasonable, good footing in terms of traction, so trekking poles are probably unnecessary, but it did vary from sand-like gravel to boulders. Trail was always obvious. We encountered people every 3 miles or so, more at campsites obviously.

Temperature was in 80s during the day and quite hot in some of the areas without shade. Dropped to 40s at night, pretty chilly with wind. Sun went down behind the mountains around 5:30 and went up around 7. No precipitation and only saw a couple small snow patches around Glen Pass. Bugs were active the first and last 3 miles of the loop towards Roads End.

Bear containers are a must. We encountered 4 who were easily spooked by yelling and waving arms. Didn't see rattlesnakes.

No campfires above 10,000. Recommended campsites: Upper Paradise, Rae Lakes, Junction Meadow.

We had 1L of water per person with us as you have easy access to a stream or a lake almost the whole time. We had Purinize drops and Lifestraw.

backpacking
2 months ago

Gorgeous! We were a group of 4 and we did the clockwise loop in three days and two nights.

The first day we did 16 miles from roads end to woods creek (all gradual uphill). We had a bear in our camp at night trying to get into nearby bear canisters.

Second day we did 14 miles from woods creek to Charlotte Lake. The Rae Lakes area was breathtaking and Glen Pass was a killer!

Last day we had 16 miles to get to roads end but luckily all nice and gradual downhill.

We all would recommend that you actually did this in 4 days and 3 nights instead. This would have give us more time to just chill and enjoy the beautiful nature.

Enjoy!

hiking
2 months ago

Completed in 15h17m car to car as a CCW day loop. More gruelling than I expected, primarily the descent which I expected to be easier. If I did this again in a day I’d go clockwise to save my knees.

Perfect weather and gorgeous views I’d love to be back again next year to take more time to soak in the views and camp down at Rae Lakes.

Perhaps the single best view was of the canyon basked in the light of a full moon five miles from Roads End travelling south along Paradise Valley Trail.

Very few mossies but I travelled the first and last 5 miles in darkness. Saw four bears (1 just after dawn, 4 after sunset - all within 10 miles of Roads End), a marmot, an incredibly close deer, numerous chipmunks and no rattlers. The south fork of Kings River is now so low that you can hop across rocks to cross - no need to seek out log jams.

backpacking
2 months ago

Successfully tackled this adventure as a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip with three great friends. We took the clockwise route around the loop trail. Note that the total distance was longer than indicated in the description of this hike. The National Parks Service web site indicates that the loop trail distance is 41.4 miles long. Our hike was just over 46 miles in all. The difference in distance is likely a combination of GPS accuracy and some side treks along the way. Camping at Charlotte Lake for our second night did add 2.6 miles to the overall distance. Our hiking itinerary was as follows (distances as indicated by GPS tracking):
Day 1 - Road's End to Woods Creek Crossing (16 miles)
Day 2 - Woods Creek Crossing to Charlotte Lake (14 miles)
Day 3 - Charlotte Lake to Road's End (16.07 miles)

Overall this is an epic hike! One of my new favorites. Completing it in 3 days is a physical challenge, which may be easier for some than others. Climbing to the summit of Glenn Pass from either direction is taxing. Have plenty of water, electrolytes, energy gels, or whatever else may give you the strength to persevere.

The scenery is fantastic, wildlife encounters are memorable (deer, marmot, pika, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, lizards, and bear). We didn't fish but we did talk with a few others who were fishing along the way and they all reported great success.

2 months ago

loved the trail. It starts at high elevation, think about 9300 but didn't feel any different. The views are just fantastic. Blue lake is beautiful but had lots of people around. We went further to Dingleberry lake which was amazing and a lot less crowded(adding a little unintended detour on the way as well), clocked about 9.8 miles. It was too late to continue further to midnight lake but that is just another mile or so further for those who start out earlier than we did.

backpacking
3 months ago

Hiking this trail was an amazing experience. We went with a clockwise three night plan. Camped at upper paradise, middle Rae, and junction meadow. All three were great camps. You will travel through thick shady woods, grassy open meadows, and rocky alpine trails, all surrounded by gorgeous peaks. We saw a bear .5 mile past upper paradise, a family of deer at Rae, a marmot, a snake (not rattler), fish, chipmunks. The nights are much colder past 10,000ft elev. There is lots of water along the trail, but from Rae over glen pass to lake Charlotte, there isn’t much. You do get swarmed with gnats in the lower miles to start and finish the loop. Luckily, I brought my mosquito head net. The crossing was only lower shin deep. The suspension bridge was awesome. Had to walk across a second time just for fun. Also, a good time chatting with the JMT hikers from woods creek crossing to over glen pass. A friendly trail crew were blasting rock above vidette meadow, so we got held up for about 20 minutes, but it was nice talking to them and cool to hear the explosion. I definitely recommend this adventure.

hiking
3 months ago

Camped at the Sentinel campground the night before our permit date for Rae Lakes. Was able to secure a counter-clockwise loop. To get an early morning start, got to the Road's End permit station around 8AM. There were a couple of people ahead of us. Fro being outside the peak season, the trail was still quite busy.

IMPORTANT: bring a bug net, mosquitoes are in full force the first 3-5 miles in either direction.

Saw 1 bear near the Road's end station and 1 rattler about 1/4 before the first bridge (Bailey?).

Really enjoyed the CCW direction. You work hard the first 2 days and the 3rd/4th day should be a breeze. Camped at Vidette Meadow Day 1, and Middle/Upper Rae Day 2...near bear box 3. Planned on camping at Lower Paradise for Day 4, but had the energy and daylight to finish on Day 3.(big miles but mostly downhill).

Difficult, but rewarding. Amazing view!

backpacking
3 months ago

Can't say we completed the entire loop unfortunately. We entered at Roads End on 8/24/18 where we prepared for the clockwise loop starting on the woods creek trail. We were told about a "small" fire at Bubbs Creek and told not to report it as it was less than 1/2 an acre and the park crew were fully aware. We were told it wouldn't impede us and it was "insignificant". Unfortunately we got turned around at the Bubbs Creek Trail/JMT-PCT junction and had to back track and exit over Kearsarge pass into Onion Valley because the fire had spread and the trail was closed.
The trail up to Bubbs Creek was very well maintained and the scenery breath taking. We ran into a trail crew along the JMT/PCT and thanked them for their upkeep of the trail. They really do a stellar job at keeping the trail well maintained.
Upper Paradise Valley and Rae Lakes are both very busy for camping areas so plan to get there early to ensure a good spot. There were a lot of bugs until we reached Upper Paradise; they weren't a bother at all after that point. We had heard they were a nuisance at Arrowhead and Rae Lakes but we had no issue in late August.
Our planned itinerary:
Day 1 - Ranger Station to Upper Paradise
Day 2 - Upper Paradise to Arrowhead Lake
Day 3 - Arrowhead Lake to Rae Lakes (short day to ensure time at Rae Lakes)
Day 4 - Rae Lakes to Sphinx Junction. This ended up being Rae Lakes to Bubbs Creek, back to Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley
Day 5 - Sphinx to Ranger station

3 months ago

A 1988 Anuerism/Major Stroke Survivior completed the trail 4 days in 2000, and 6 days in 2018. The latest was a lot more difficult and exhausting but just as beautiful and exciting. Except the 2 encounters with Ratters.

3 months ago

The Rae Lakes trail is awesome! Varied, difficult, and breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes a little scary! Saw bears twice on the trail in the middle of the afternoon a bit too close for comfort, but survived. My favorite heavenly spot was first encountering the reflection of Finn Dome in Rae Lakes in that gorgeous valley.

We had a beautiful day on this trail! This was our second year doing it but the first year we went to Donkey Lake (awesome!). Today we hiked past Blue Lake and on to Dingleberry Lake. We started at 11:00 and got back to the trailhead at 4:30. (8.66 miles). GPS is a little off from what is listed in the description (about 3.0 miles to Blue Lake).
Lots of backpackers heading up and back while we were there. The trail was absolutely gorgeous and lined with wildflowers and smelled like vanilla, honeysuckle, sage and pine. We had some rain when we reached our end point so turned back. Be prepared for light or moderate showers in the afternoon, even if it says 20% chance! Great trail for people who are in good shape and love the outdoors!

Great hike. We spent 6 days doing the loop with a zero day near Rae lakes.

fabulous hike, as good as it gets. spectacular peaks, pretty flowers, burbling Brook, serene ponds/lakes and well maintained trail. we achieved the pass, but not the peak. Mt Starr is formidable due to loose rock, scree and v steep.

Great trail. Not too bad of a hike. It was a little further than the 2.5 miles it says it to be one way. It’s closer to 3-3.5 one way. Beautiful the whole way.

Enjoyed this trail and the water falls. Easier than Kearsarge in my opinion and not very busy. Many thanks to the new owner of Bishop Pack Outfitters for fixing the gully with rock slides.

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