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This was a beautiful hike to Heather Lake. Trailer is well maintained, and smooth. We took the Hump Trail to Heather Lake as the sign stated the Watchtower was closed due to snow and ice, even though we knew there was none of that this day. This part is beautiful, but steep. Very Picturesque at the Lake. Returned via the Watchtower, and can see why this would be closed in the winter. I am not a fan of heights, but this trail although has steep drop offs, it wide enough to allow even the heights challenged to pass. Recommend the Watchtower trail for the scenic outlooks that are just magnificent!

This trail is definitely on our do do list to continue further to Pear Lake and Beyond.

If you’re considering it, go for it! If you can make it to Heather Lake with plenty of energy, you’ve competed most of the elevation climb so consider continuing to Emerald and Pear Lakes. All 3 are rather different in their view/surroundings.

Best part of this hike is the return trip out is mostly all downhill! Pit toilets are at both Emerald and Pear Lakes.

Note that the Watch Tower Trail has a sign after Oct. 15(?) that says it’s closed due to winter weather. This may not realllllly be accurate if the weather is great. There definitely wasn’t any snow when I took the trail on Nov 2nd — it was in the 60’s. So I waited at the intersection of the Watch Tower Trail and the other trail until a group came down the Watch Tower Trail and confirmed the conditions were perfect and there’s no reason not to take that option. Traffic on the Watch Tower Trail was reasonable — I’d pass someone/a group heading down about every 5 minutes once I hit the Watch Tower part of the trail.

A few spots on the trail are narrow with a notable steep drop off to one side, but it wasn’t enough to concern me (I’m fairly afraid of heights ). Just bringing that up since others mentioned it in other reviews.

Also note: the first few miles (and thus the last few miles) of the trail are dense forest, so be mindful that when it nears sunset the trail will get much darker earlier than you may anticipate. Pack flashlights/etc. accordingly if you may wrap up this trail in the late afternoon/early evening.

The day hike was amazing! We went on Veteran’s Day and took the hump trail because the watchtower trail was closed for the season. Although people prefer the watchtower, the hump was tiring, yet still amazing. We got to see a family of deer along the trail and enjoyed the scenery.
If you do a day hike around this time of year, I recommend leaving pear lake by 2:30 to get to your car by sundown.

Did this as a 2 day 1 night backpacking trip 9/30/18. Pear lake was very crowded, probably because it was the first weekend of the non-quota period. Still a BEAUTIFUL hike. Highly recommended!

Started our hike on 11/2/18, did 2 days, 3 nights. First day, we started at Wolverton trail head and went to Pear lake. The weather was sunny and 60 degrees, but if you werent in the sun... man it was cold. The temperature the first night dropped to just above freezing; I would recommend many layers for sleeping. The next day, we summited Alta Peak. Technically there is a trail to the peak, but it would have 20 miles round trip. Instead we scrambled up the north face of Pear Lake to get the peak. I wouldn't necessarily say this route as there was a lot of scrambling and rock jumping, but near the top, we could definitely see some foot prints and slightly defined trails of other people aka others have done the same. All in all, would definitely recommend! I wouldn't say it is a "hard" trail because the trail was well maintained and easy to hike on, but the altitude definitely stressed the lungs so be careful!

We hiked this on 10/5/18. It was 40F at 0830 when we started and it was sunny to start. We played leap frog with another couple all the way up to pear lake, but other than that we only ever saw anyone else on the return trip. The trail rises steadily from the trailhead and is pleasant enough through the forest until you get to the watchtower, which is really just an outcropping of rock overlooking a canyon. Spectacular views from there up to heather lake. Unfortunately, a cloud bank followed us up the valley so the views back down the valley were shrouded in fog, but the views up the valley were awesome. We missed emerald Lake thinking aster lake was emerald lake, but all 3 lakes we saw were nice in their own way. Pear lake was the best in terms of scenery made better due to the effort it took to get there. We took hump trail on the return due to the watchtower being covered in fog and it certainly lived up to its name. However, even though it was downhill most of the way, it was much more difficult due to the stress it placed on my knees. Overall, it was the best hike we did in either park. Highly recommend it

Beautiful hike! Last minute trip and decided I’d check out sequoia. Found this hike based of the reviews and everyone on here didn’t lie. Definitely recommend doing this one. The hike itself isn’t too bad. For some reason I recorded the mileage I little higher to around 13 miles but I’m sure my phones step counter can be off. Hiked to pear lake and back in 6.5 hours.

This was an interesting hike. We were headed for the falls but seemed to have taken a wrong turn. The trail is very off and on. It seems to have been washed out starting around the 2.5 mile mark and then continues off an on if you can find where it picks up again. If you make it to the metal sign with arrows pointing up to maple camp and upper matilija make sure you stay to the right as there are two canyons and water flowing down each. We went left and eventually stopped after no signs of trails or upper matilija, go right. Poison oak and the rattlesnakes are out there as well.

Backpacked and camped out at Emerald. There were a ton of mosquitoes at our camp, but we had bug repellent. Beautiful hike beautiful lakes.

Just did this trail Oct 14 and really enjoyed it! I loved the scenery, there's some creek side walking, which to still have some water this time of year is great. The elevation gain in minimal, so taking kids is no problem and plenty for them to explore. At the first camp, the creek is right there with a nice little waterhole. I'm sure in the late Spring/ early Summer the water is really great to dip into, even now it reached the knees, just enough to cool off. There are certain spots where the trail gets washed out, but as long as you keep walking parallel to the creek you're good, it would actually be hard to get lost. Of course the Thomas Fire came through the area, but it's regrowth is amazing to see and you can imagine what it once looked like. Towards the 2+ mile area, there is less shaded area, so plan accordingly.

So the reviews made here were very useful in completing my hike yesterday. The filter idea was great, a must especially if it is hot, but also you need to drink a lot on the way back to stay hydrated. Insects were not a problem like they are down in the Canyon. I took the Hump trail on the way back thinking it would be easier than just repeating my way around watchtower, biggest mistake of my hike. I missed the views on the way back and the grade up and then down was not what my legs wanted on the way back. I clocked in 13.1 miles out to Pear lake. Saw trout, many Chipmunks and Pikas gathering cones and seeds, not too many birds. It was supposed to snow the next day which is why I made the effort on this day. This is a truly awesome not to be missed hike, should have led with this. Go for the views especially of the lakes with the mountain backdrop. I saw only 6 people the whole time I was on the trail which was both welcoming and a little worrisome, as I was hiking and doing photography on my own. I know know what the "Sounds of Silence" are as this hike will take you there.
Virtual Treadmill video of this hike can be seen on my YouTube Channel, copy and paste link below to watch it. Thanks.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFO02nxPdM4-CabegFIPlow?view_as=subscriber

backpacking
2 months ago

A good time. The first .5 miles is along a road. You then turn onto the trail and head up the canyon following the creek. The next mile the path is very clear as you meander along the creek to camp one. Beyond camp one the trail is a bit washed out and there are a few sections where you lose the trail a bit. As long as you follow the creek you should be able to head the right direction and find the trail again. There is a STUNNING camp site about three miles in. Chirping birds and crickets, the sound of the flowing creek, a lovely breeze, a big oak tree and a nice flat camp spot. THERE IS A LOT OF POISON OAK ON THIS HIKE. SO MUCH POISON OAK. IT IS EVERYWHERE. But minus the poison oak it is a really good time and super beautiful.

A strenuous 12 mile hike. The lakes are pristine. We did a day hike and stopped at Heather and Pear lake. For Astor lake, you need to climb down the trail, so we skipped it. Started at 10:45 am from the Wolverton parking lot and was back at around 6:25 PM, spend 45 minutes at Pear lake ( i would suggest backpacking here - the view is just mesmerising). While returning, there was no one on the trail which was scary as well as fun. Bring plenty of water and bring a filter, you can easily refill at Heather or Pear without taking any detour.

Awesome hike with beautiful views especially once you’re out of the forest area which ends right around the watchtower lookout point. One thing to know is it is very high in elevation and isn’t as warm as it would be in other areas of the park. 9,200 feet at Pear Lake. The high in sequoia NP the day I went was low 70’s but it was definitely cooler than that on this trail!

We hiked from the southern trailhead. Trail is good to a short distance beyond Matilija Camp. However, after the canyon turns sharply right, the trail effectively ends - all paths are blocked by large amounts of fallen tress, brush, etc. So total in and out hike is about 3.5 mi.

First time testing the Lakes Trail to Pear Lake. We couldn't have picked a better time that's for sure. the weather was absolutely nice and breezy so we took our time to take it all in. You know JUST ENJOY right. Stopped at Watch Tower for its majestic view. Lol could've swore John Muir was next to me saying look at this magnificent view. From there on the view just keeps getting better and better. We love the peacefulness of all four lakes Heather, Aster, Emerald, and Pear. Just sad we didn't prepare to stay overnight to get the full effect of sunrise and sunset. Oh I could just imagine how beautiful the lakes and the surrounding would be. Plan to do that next time. Note: If one has fear of ridges and height the Watch Tower might not be a good idea just take the Hump Trail it'll get you to the lakes too. But some cardio work though. We decided to take the Via Hump at Heather Lake just to test it out on out way back.

100% agree with Asdfasdf. I will add that during that narrow section of the Watchtower, which lasts about 100 ft, I hugged the wall and crouched low. I have vertigo and that section spooked me. Because of the peripheral vision issues and the way the cliff went, I’m not sure I could have done it in reverse, therefore I chose Hump Trail back. (Going in you can focus on the wall to your right and avoid the peripheral differences. Going back, I don’t think you can). I would NEVER take Hump Trail in if I had the choice. It is absolutely brutal in elevation gain/loss.

Amazing hike. Beautiful scenery. Pear lake is definitely the icing on the cake!!!

on Lost Lake Trail

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike, really a good workout if you start at the Rowell Meadow trailhead and do a out and back day hike.

The lake is spectacular with amazing rock formations rimming the bowl.

Absolutely no mosquitoes when I went on September 8, 2018.

A very worthwhile sequence of beautiful lakes within granodiorite-rimmed cirques provide a fulfilling day of out-and-back hiking.

9/8/2018 - First, Yes. Watchtower is on a cliff, but the path is wide. If you are afraid of heights, I recommend still doing it. If you are deathly afraid of heights, Hump Trail is in the woods/does not have a cliff. (See below for details)

I day hiked from Wolverton Lot --> up via Watchtower Overpass --> Heather Lake > Emerald > Pear --> backdown via Hump Trail --> Wolverton Lot

Description of hike: The trail head begins at Wolverton Lot where you can park your car right next to the trailhead which is nice. Has a restroom for use. Wolverton to Heather Lake is 4.1 mi basically going up. The route forks at around 2 miles to Watchtower or Hump. They rejoin and you're on the way to Heather Lake. The trees provide shade for majority of the hike. After Watchtower, you are in the sun. If you keep going beyond Heather Lake, it's another 2.1 miles where you descend and ascend another 100 - 200 feet climb up to Pear Lake.

What should you bring?
1) Small day pack
2) Food + Water: I ate a light breakfast, 4 cliff bars, some chocolate, and drank 2 liters of water. If you don't want the weight of water, bring a filter plus one liter of water to get you to the first lake.
3) Sunblock
4) Hat or Sunglasses
5) Swim trunks if you plan to take a dip in the water
6) Fishing rod if you like fishing!

Should you stop at Heather Lake or keep going to Pear?
I say finish the hike and go to Pear Lake. It's a sense of accomplishment. However if you're tired/short on supplies, be aware the hike stays equally difficult all the way to pear lake. Overall, I thought Heather Lake was the best. The water is vibrant and the mountains are a nice backdrop.

Watchtower or Hump?
Do Watchtower at least one way. Yes Watchtower is on a cliff but the views are 200% worth it and a great spot to take a break and take in the view. The path is about 3 people wide. There is one portion where it's about 1.5 people wide, but it's very very short, and nothing scary. Hump trail has nothing special that you won't see just doing the normal hike. I reiterate do Watchtower at least one way.

Time: I am a slow hiker (26 yo with bad knees... ) I entered the path at 8am and returned at 4pm. I spent about 1 hr 30 minutes relaxing/taking pictures at the lakes.

Overall: This hike is beautiful. If you can commit a day to this hike, it is 100% worth it.

My husband and I did this amazing trail last Sunday, Aug 25, and only went to the first lake. We started at 9 and reached Heather lake at 12 as we stopped to take so many photos on the way. We took the Watchtower route up and back as the views were spectacular. Heather Lake is beautiful.
It was our first hike and it was incredible. We saw a deer and her two kids crossing the route on the way back.
In my opinion, the Watchtower route is easy, safe and not scary. The hike before Watchtower was moderate. I recommend using sunscreen as the route goes above the tree line. If you're new to hiking like us, I'd recommend a full day rest after the hike. Overall, definitely recommended!

Fantastic hike. Great balance of beautiful trees, stunning views and amazing lakes to swim in. Highly recommended to make it to Emerald Lake via Watchtower. Just make sure to bring enough water or a filter!

hiking
3 months ago

Please Note:.

The path you are given in All Trails is not accurate. Look at the Topo Map and compare it to the actual recording people have added here. You'll see the actual active path. It adds an additional 2-3 miles to the loop.

I did this hike on August 18th 2018 and the day was very nice. There was probably about a mid-70s temperature. there is a place where the path intersects with the Joe Pass Trail where someone has stolen the signs helpful hiker or possibly park ranger has written on the posts which is useful but I suggest you use your alltrails app so you can tell where you are and which way to go.

the actual Lake was completely devoid of human activity when I reached it at noon. during the whole hike I saw only two groups of people.

As far as critters at the actual Lake, there were no mosquitoes at all which was very nice. There were three ducks that circled the perimeter of the lake looking for goodies to eat. And there were tons of dragonflies.

There are a few bear boxes at the campsites.

If you're doing the loop from the Rowell Meadow trailhead the return hike gets to be pretty rough because coming back from the lake after doing about 8 Mi you'll hit the hill that is very steep. The elevation increases as you climb for about a mile until you get to the junction of the park boundaries. you'll get gassed out. take plenty of water and frequent rest stops.

the creeks and streams along the path are dry at this point but there are still a lot of butterflies and moths that flit about.

I will give you some advice if you're coming from the road that leads to the Rowell Meadow trailhead that horse corral Road is very unkempt and it is not paved and there are many rocks and ruts. it was completely dry when I came down it in a passenger car but if there's any water in the area on that road it will turn into a mud nightmare!!!! do not attempt that road if it is wet, especially in a passenger car and I would strongly caution you even if you have a 4 wheel drive.

on August 18th 2018 the trailhead road was closed at a certain location where a stream had washed out a drainage pipe and you had to park and then walk an additional maybe half mile to get to the Rowell Meadow staging trailhead. but by the time I finished my hike at 5 p. m. a backhoe had appeared at the trail area and had completely repaired the drainage pipe. I don't know if it's open yet but it looks like it should be very soon.

check out my pics on this trail post.

Scott’s review was very useful as it allowed us to prepare ourselves for the height (I have a profound respect for heights, not fear, respect!)

We only hiked to the first lake, taking the watchtower route. We were fine until we hit the cliffs... (everyone else was fine there too, I was the one who clung to the walls and was focused on making it through.). The tough part is about 400m long with some seriously scary spots..

The way back was through the hump route.

Our children joined 20, 16 and 13. Trail was beautiful and demanding. We swam at the lake then hiked down.
Recommended for sure.

Absolutely spectacular! Probably the best day hike I’ve ever been on! This trail has it all! We hit the trailhead at 0715 and had it all to ourselves! We went out to Heather Lake via Watchtower and back using the Hump Trail. The views on Watchtower are breathtaking! If you’re scared of heights this is NOT the trail for you! The edge of the trail drops off precipitously to say the least! I jumped out of planes in the Army and still found myself hugging the wall! Watchtower is the easiest way to get out to the lakes (side-hilling). Heather Lake is amazing. Crystal clear water and the trout breaching for insects is a spectacle in itself. We opted to return to the trailhead via The Hump Trail. The elevation gain on the Hump Trail is no joke. The views from the top are amazing. Going back we must have seen 30 or more hikers. Some more prepared than others. Go early and enjoy nature!!

hiking
4 months ago

We liked it. We only completed a portion of it. Weather was warm. But the construction en route delayed us and we didn’t want to stay stuck in the mountain overnight.
It took us about 2 hours to hike up about 6km
(I was carrying a 45lbs bag and had 3 teenagers with us, so we made many stops.)
Route down was easier took almost 80 min

We each consumed 2-4 litres of water. Although there is a local spot at around 3km mark with drinkable water.

We will try to head out to mineral king area tomorrow to see if any of the trails there look good.

This was by far the most wonderful hike ive ever done. Challenging though,but will give you the best legs workout. Although i didnt get to see the emerald and pear, heather was just so beautiful. The water is perfect for a quick dip, and surprisingly is not that cold!

Perfect day hike! All the best of the sierras. My hubby and daughter stopped at heather to fish for trout and hang out, while my 11 year old son and I went ahead to pear. Lakes are all beautiful and varied but pear takes the cake. Granite surrounds above the tree line and crystal blue green water for a refreshing dip. We started hiking at 7:30 and we’re back in the car by 3:30. Steep climb most of the way, and amazing and slightly scary views from watchtower...

backpacking
4 months ago

Awesome!

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