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Simply fantastic! One of the best all around bang for your buck hikes I’ve ever done. Very enjoyable walk (fit hikers won’t get their heart rate up even once on this) with nonstop views that change around every corner. Did this on a Friday and saw very few people. Wear sunblock, there is not much shade.

Maybe I was having an "off" hike. I found this trail to be very difficult to follow. I got to a point of the trail where the only option to go would have been to scale a very sandy and steep hill, I would've taken that route had I not been with my 60 lb dog. If that was the true route to go, I would not call this trail a dog-safe trail. Unfortunately we had to turn around.

Worth the steep uphill! Great views

Short, but steep hike to a very pleasant lake. I would rate this as hard due to the steep grade. The lake itself is wonderful - a lot of people were swimming in the lake during my visit.

hiking
2 days ago

Practicing for a Yosemite backpacking trip in a month and decided to give fern a try. I’ve been training for a couple month and went with my wife who never hikes. It is a difficult hike but she kicked butt. Took about 1:30 hours to get up (with pictures at the waterfall about halfway). We at lunch and fished at the top for about an hour and caught a bunch of small brook trout very quickly (power bait). Was much quicker coming down ~45min to an hour. Great place for a family hike. Bring a walking stick! It’s steep.

Amazing Views of Lake Mary, Lake George and at the end the lovely Lake Crystal.
This is a moderate hike with some great elevations, so if you are a beginner then consider this a hard hike ( not for distance , but only because of elevation and lots of curves )

This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful hikes in the eastern Sierras where you are treated with spectacular views at every turn. The alpine lakes and mountain views are breathtaking. The trail can be difficult and hard to find at times due to the fact that you are often walking over shale rock. I would not rate this trail as moderate for the average hiker but it is so well worth it!

Had to take the shuttle in, I think 8 dollars round trip, but I think you can drive in before 830am but the road is narrow and buses are hard to get around. 10 dollars per car at the entrance pass the adventure center. Dogs need to be muzzled. Try not too take your dog if she/he is aggressive. Bus drivers don't like to take too many dog per trip so you may be asked to take the next bus. The drive is 30 miles. I have a lab so she barely fit underneath or in front of me. If you have a dog, make sure to get a seat. They have standing room but it's hard with a big dog.

Stop 6: Devil Postpile-0.5 miles; Rainbow Falls- extra 1.5-2miles (trail to lower falls is closed 2018) two viewpoints top of falls and lower falls viewpoints. First viewpoint to lower viewpoint is steep so climbing up is a pain. Trail itself is ok. Kinda up and down in elevation but not too steep. Well marked trail. Can deviate to the river to play in the water with dogs. You can also hike to the Mina--- Falls.

Stop 10: The other way to get in or get out: around 1 mile from rainbow falls. This trail is mildly challenging from falls to the stop so it's easier to walk down from this stop but you just see the falls. You are mostly gaining elevation coming back up. Pretty with wildflowers and Forest trees. Passes the PCT trail. There is a resupply general store here and a little restaurant that is heavily overpriced ($10+ hamburgers and $10 milkshakes)

The adventure center has tickets for the gondola and kid challenge structure/ rock wall. You can get a combo of gondola and shuttle 37 dollars each. Morning is best for gondola. No lines. But the food up there does not open till lunch. Summer time is for mountain/dirt bike and a beautiful view at the top. Construction at the top. The museum is nice for kids.

Cons: due to recent fires air quality and visibility was sub par.

Great views and very relaxing once at the lake

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful hike. Moderate but challenging because of the altitude. A little smokey at the beginning because of the fires, but cleared up before we got to Crystal Lake. Cool, clear water with a few people jumping off rocks into it. Saw a few people with fishing poles too and they all said they weren't having any luck. Seemed to take about an hour and 15 minutes to get up there. This was with many stops and a really slow pace.

Very busy trail at the end of July. Yosemite Valley was closed due to fires. Which explained the heavier crowds in Mammoth Lakes. As on all trails, take plenty of water for everyone in your group. Try the west side of the river. Much fewer people.

We started at the Rainbow Falls trailhead off of the Red Meadows Shuttle stop #9 which is a shorter hike than this one (1.3 miles one way so 2.6 round trip) You can change it up on the way back and take the Reds Meadow Resort path back to Shuttle stop #10 which is recommended to get out because it is the last shuttle stop and usually fills up the shuttles leaving the area. The trail to the base of the Falls is closed now for 2018 for rerouting and restructuring and will reopen in 2019. Air quality was fine despite the fires but it was dry, hot and windy so bring enough water. The waterfall was beautiful and well worth the hike according to my seven year old!

great hike and excellent fishing. snow in the spring and multple water falls.

This is easily the best hike I have ever done! I took 2 and 1/2 days to get out there and get back into mammoth. I would cut out 3 days to do this hike if you can! There is also a river around mile 12 that doesn’t have a bridge or stepping stones so water shoes/ flip flops would be good to bring. I came out the red’s meadow direction because it’s not the big climb out that duck pass would be. The smoke was pretty bad from the Lion’s fire going out Red’s meadow but it’s better than making the climb out! If you’re a fisherman bring a pole with you, fish creek has TONS of fish.

The waterfall is worth every step it took to get there!!

backpacking
11 days ago

gorgeous hike with wildflowers and a big green lake. the stream crossings are super manageable this time of year but be aware of high risk for forest fires. we backpacked in and had the whole lake to ourselves. dog friendly!

on Fern Lake Trail

11 days ago

toughed hike but the view is all worth it.

Decent amount of parking. Was warm but not too hot. Trails aren't marked too well but is easy to follow. A few spots to fill up on water on the way up. Lots of amazing views all around.

If you're attempting a Whitney summit, this would be a good way to get up to 10k ft a day or two prior. Very scenic and not technical at all. It's also a good way to check out the first few miles of Mount Whitney Trail since you'll probably be night hiking this for your attempt if its summer time. Lone Pine Lake at the top is very picturesque.

If you're not a avid and fit hiker and/or are not accustomed to hiking to 10000ft, you may find this hike difficult just due to grade and elevation. That said, this trail would be a nice way to get your feet wet. I'd say give it a shot. If you don't feel right for whatever reason, just turn back.

hiking
14 days ago

Great hike, very beautiful.

One of my favorite hikes of all time! The name "twenty lakes basin" definitely does it justice as there's at least one lake in sight for most of the hike. I personally did more of a figure 8, going around both sides of saddlebag lake, which I'd recommend to make it even more interesting. If you are used to hiking and living at a high altitude, I would still classify this as easy, but maybe moderate if you're used to sea level. My coworker called it "probably the flattest longer hike in the Eastern Sierra". There was still a bit of snow on the trail as of mid July which made it a little tricky to follow but never too bad. As a bonus, it's just outside of Yosemite, so you get the beauty without the crowds or the entrance fee. Loved it!

Beautiful!!

hiking
17 days ago

Simply spectacular. We used the trail on the far side of Saddlebag lake from what's shown on the map and I think it's got more interesting terrain and flora and is less exposed. Recommend walking the lake loop clockwise from the top of Saddlebag–the second half of the trail has some sections that were still covered in snow in mid July that were much easier to navigate from that direction than the reverse, as well as some climbs up scree that I would not have enjoyed going the opposite way. This trail wouldn't be particularly challenging at lower elevation, but as it's between 10 and 11,000, you may feel any climbs and be a bit worked over by the end if you're not acclimated.

An epic hike! Completed this with two great friends who were kind enough to invite me to join them for a weekend of day hiking. We hiked the Shadow and Ediza Lakes Trail the day before and I'd thought that that was the most scenic hike I'd completed to date. Then we did this hike... and it took #1 for scenery on my list. Both hikes are fantastic. Now I just keep imagining myself living in a small cottage located in any of the alpine meadows we hiked through on the Twenty Lakes Basin Trail. I could live like a Pika (which we were happy to have seen many of along the way).

We hiked this counterclockwise from the parking area for Saddlebag Lake. Confirming what others have pointed out, there are sections of the trail that can be rough on the feet and ankles due to scree (aka shattered stone). The section of trail approaching Shamrock Lake from Lake Helen is where cairns proved to be very helpful as they were the means to determine the direction of travel over the solid stone surface.

We did this with a group of about 20 friends ranging from 50 to 5 years of age all of us in different levels of fitness. It’s not as easy as Devils Postpile but it’s beautiful. The trails are steep and if your not used to the elevation can make it that much more challenging. We packed up a few poles in hopes to get a golden trout and a few brought swim wear. It was amazing but for a 38 y.o. Who does light waking a few times a week I was winded but my camelbak was my best friend and Motrin was my best friend the next day. Enjoy!!

FIVE STARS FIVE STARS!! The lake is absolutely stunning and the hike was very easy/moderate. It is also dog friendly so I would pack your pup, a lunch, and maybe even a couple beers and soak in the view for a while when you get up there! Gorgeous!

hiking
18 days ago

On our first afternoon camping at Lake Mary, we ventured up the trail to Crystal Lake. With hiking and meandering around the lake, we logged about five miles. The trail to the lake and back is shorter but a steep climb. The views of the Mammoth Lakes are increasingly rewarding the higher you go, especially at the crest when veering left before approaching the lake. Crystal Lake is pristine and worth the light hike around it, too. There was an abundance of wildflowers blooming, especially on the south end of the lake.

hiking
18 days ago

Awesome hike, very difficult even coming down can be scary. Went up with a large group and kids between the ages of 10-16. Took us about 1 hour 30 mins to go up and this was with multiple stops. About 1 hour to get down.

hiking
19 days ago

Harder for less experienced hikers, elevation gain can be intense. Took our two year old up in a carry pack and it was well worth the views! Beautiful views of George, Mary and a glimpse of Horseshoe Lake along the way. We found a spot on the rocks and the water was ice cold- perfect after the hike! My toddler loved eating her lunch here and then wading in the water. Worth it.

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