Explore 2015 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Honestly this hike kicked my ass, and I’d say I’m in pretty decent shape. Beautiful views and total solitude made it worth it though. Would recommend, but just know you’re getting yourself into some pretty treacherous backpacking.

I’m ok shape, middle age, 20 lb pack. Got to Summit Trailhead at 2:00 Friday. Camped about 2 miles from Lakes at 5:00. Saturday hiked around all three lakes and back to car by 3:00.

Middle Lake is prettiest. Some snow, a few hunters. Very similar to Dinkey, Cliff and Jenny Lakes, but no other people.

Awesome trail! It’s definitely a challenging one. I recorded 14.2 miles total.

hiking
27 days ago

1 month ago

We got off to a late morning start so summitting the peak around 1 pm was not a camera friendly time. However, the summit view was unbeatable. Spent quite some time on the summit and thank goodness it wasn't hot this time of the year. Will do this trail again in mid spring or earlier to experience the stream and its vegetation.

One of my most challenging hikes

Great quiet trail. Every bend in the river of a fly fisherman's dream. The initial descent and final ascent are not for the faint of heart.

backpacking
1 month ago

It was a great hike, my wife Kathy and I hiked a steady climb 5 miles, past Merthon meadow and across a small stream. On the right side of the trail is a small campsite, it was nicely shaded and had a great kitchen area and fresh water. We set up camp, cooked dinner, had a small fire and Kathy read to me. The next morning we had a great breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs and coffee. We set up a couple day packs and began the 2 mile hike to Alta peak. It was steep going and took about 70 minutes. (For those from LA the final ascent was similar to Mt Baldy). The ancient pines at the top were spectacular as they stood there strong and proud against the elements. The peak was bordered by sheer drops. The view from the top was a 360’ of the eastern and western Sierra’s. In the distance east you could see the back side of Mt Whitney, and the Whitney windows. To the West was Pear lake and the great divide. The views were well worth it and we want to do it again one day. The weather was the best, 70’s during the day and 40’s at night. We had a wonderful time, God’s creation is truly glorious.

hiking
1 month ago

What a day hike! The views were just incredible. The last 1.5 miles or so to the summit were brutal, but well worth the effort! Bring plenty of water (I suggest 3-4L) as the hike took our group 8-9 hours total and there was only one spot to refill if you have a filter.

hiking
1 month ago

What an amazing hike. Truly spectacular views at the top. Highly recommended that you bring plenty of water and salty food/drinks.

backpacking
1 month ago

i really liked this trail. it was the first time i’ve gone backpacking so it was probably a little hard for the first time but definitely worth it. make sure to leave yourself at least 3 hours to summit if your planning to leave and camp that night because the last mile or so takes about 1 hour because you are scrambling over rocks and there is no real defined trail. the only thing that i disliked about the trail was that there is horse poop all over the first part of the trail which was a struggle to avoid stepping on

This hike provided great views and was well marked and maintained. It was very difficult, especially the 2.1 miles to the top of the peak. The overall length seemed longer than posted. Allow for it to take more time than you anticipate.

Amazing beautiful views. Most of the elevation gain is in the last half mile. Well worth the effort.

hiking
2 months ago

we initially were going to hike to bullfrog lake, but we were pretty thrashed from the elevation climb and carrying 25+ pounds in our backpacks. we hiked past the farewell gap point and hiked down into the valley that is right below bullfrog lake. we decided to make camp in the beautiful valley and we do not regret not going to the lake. the switch backs on this trail can be pretty hard but other than that the hike was beautiful and we enjoyed every moment going into the back country. I highly recommend backpacking this trail or if you just want to do a day hike to the stopping point.

2 months ago

Beautiful trail.

backpacking
2 months ago

Pretty nice hike. Drove up Friday night and slept maybe a mile before the trailhead. The road getting to the trailhead was rougher than I expected. Some decent sized rocks. I saw a sedan at the trailhead so I guess any car could make it, but there was a piece of a broken off skid plate from a car up there too. We left Saturday morning and it took us about 5 hours to get there. It’s mostly shaded and the trail is well defined. Some meadows and flowers. The lakes are very pretty plenty of good campsites. The upper lake reminded me of something out of a fairy tale. It’s small with a tiny island and a single funny looking tree. We stayed the night and made it back in 4.5 hours. Overall it’s a really nice hike!

Beautiful trail. We did it in about 7 hours with 45 minutes at the top. The heat definitely got to us as well as the last couple miles. The views were still spectacular even though it was smoky. Stay Hydrated out there!

hiking
2 months ago

Came across a juvenile bear and later on bear scat directly on the trail. (Panther Gap). Beautiful trail!

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views!! If you live at sea level (me), this can be a pretty strenuous hike. Luckily there are lots of streams on the way up to filter some water and lots of rocks to park yourself on.
The views are what make this. Once you get halfway through the hike up, amazing views open up for the remainder of the hike. This took me about 7 hours round-trip.

hiking
3 months ago

An amazing view. The hike feels more like 15 miles long. And it took about 8 hours in total including staying at the peak for about an hour. The last 2 miles going up is very tiring but it’s worth the view! Hiked it July 15. If I was to do it again I would do it maybe a month or two earlier in the year so maybe I can catch some snow in the mountains!

Beautiful with lots of wildflowers. Guard your stuff at the peak, the marmots will steal it and gnaw on it, including plastic and rubber. Start very early and bring lots of water.

We went to this trail that goes right along the river. The maps brings you right to the bridge where you start off. You can go down on either side of the river to swim. Past that, I didn’t bother unless you were planning on going to 7 teacups. If you do plan this in summer, there is barely any shade. Bring lots of water! I brought my pup on this and wouldn’t dare leave her off leash. Bring extra water for the pup too! Very rocky, not very kid friendly. Would deforest rate this as moderate.

hiking
3 months ago

The hike is more like 15.25 miles. The last 2 miles is a killer but worth the views. My wife and I used this hike to prepare for Half Dome due to the elevation gains and over-all altitude. I drank 3 litters and 2 16 ounce filtered water. My wife drank 2 litters and 2 16 ounce filtered water. There is plenty of water. Take Jolly Ranchers candy to help with altitude.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike! The last 2 miles are definitely what make this one hard. The last push to the peak is slow moving due to all the climbing. Well worth the effort though as the views are amazing. Just down from the peak is a set of rocks where you can have lunch with a view of the 3 lakes down below. Start early to beat the crowds!

hiking
4 months ago

One of the highest quality hikes in the sierras
The trail is rock and rut free
Start early to avoid mid- day heat
As of June 18 the snow is no longer

Amazing hike, one of my absolute favorites. Me and my husband hiked this trail two weeks ago. The weather was perfect, not too hot and only a little bit of snow at the top. Plenty of water on the way. It is a tough day hike though and the altitude takes it’s toll on you. A number of people we passed couldn’t make it to the top. Still, the views of snowy Sierra peaks are totally worth it.

We LOVED this hike! Stunning views during the whole hike with a steady climb through out. This hike gives a lot of rest time between your uphill climbs which was greatly appreciated. Would do this hike again and again.

My favorite place. Easy hike from shake camp along the Tule river, lots of water. The trail crosses the river maybe three times, The last three miles is up, after the switch backs there is summit lake. After catching Brook trout and turning in for the night we wake up and head out over sheep mountain, up then down to twin lakes, after a nice break its Maggie. Maggie is awesome, three lakes to play with, trout fishing is ok. Nights are nice, afternoons are nicer, naps in my hammock was very nice. Bears, deer, coyotes. Scouting the area fishing the creeks below for Golden Trout, then packing out the trail to quaking aspen cause its shorter. The pack station at Balch park, is why the trail to summit lake and Maggie is open, not the Forrest service, there was no trail from twin to Maggie after the fire, I was there and the pack station new where it used to be and made the trail to Maggie. I would also tell you to have them pack you into Maggie in a day, stay longer with extra food, then backpack out and enjoy. Its an easy trip, plenty of water sources, and ok fishing. I would recommend this for first time and seasoned packers all. Depends what time of year, mosquito head net is a must, and I use mosquito wipes, they work ok for a while. I like the pictures here, I saw the rocks I made around my tent in the pics. You must have went after I did, what happened to the big yellow pot with lid? I found it at one of the old camps, brought it to mine, used it to boil water for dishes and clothes and stuff.

I did a little more than this, reaching precipice lake and the pass after. As of late May, it was still fully covered with snow to go this far, but no snow if you only reach Hamilton lake.
Also, I did this back and forth in a day hike, about 36 miles. Very doable since up to Hamilton lake (and even later - up to where there was snow) the trail is extremely well marked and easy to follow, you can do 3 miles/hour easily

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike, I did this along with the lakes trail. It's nice to see where you were before. As of late May, alta peak is still covered with snow for the last segment, but very doable.

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