Explore John Muir Wilderness - 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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All fails at its best....posting reviews from people that didnt do the hike......turning back at lake 2 is
not what this hike is about....if you dont do the hike don't comment.....difference between turning back at lake 2 and completing the hike is about 1400 feet elevation gain....not for kids or quiters....if you do the hike, one of the best in the Eastern Sierra, but probably should be rated "hard" as you can see most people don't complete the hike.

Did the hike back in August, the weather was perfect. Went all the way to 6th lake, wish I had got a overnight pass so I could enjoy the lakes more. Incredible views & when the wind blows just right you can feel the chill breeze from the glacier.

Amazing hike with beautiful hot springs and pools. The topo map shows six pools but we found 10. Keep to the main trail on the north side of the mountain beyond the end of what is shown in this app and you will see small side trails leading off to the south and southeast that go to the pools. Do not try to bushwhack through the heavy grass and brush; although you can get there that way it is much more difficult and unnecessary. The “King’s pool” at the very top has a stunning view and is worth the extra work to get up the steep hill.
There are well established campsites along the end of the trail and most are fairly close to the pools.
As others have mentioned the hike is longer than reported, according to our Fitbit and apps we hiked 12 to 13 miles each way.

hiking
13 days ago

Wonderful hike! Moderate uphill climb to the lakes, about 5.5 miles (11-12 total). Heavily shaded in most areas. We were plenty prepared with food and water, although, we did drink from the stream at vigorous areas and were fine. Ton of fish in the lakes. The first two lakes were gorgeous and barely anyone around! We did this hike Labor Day weekend and expected it to be heavily trafficked. We want to go back and get an overnight pass—absolutely breathtaking.

hiking
13 days ago

Loved this hike as well. My husband and I hiked with two kids in backpacks (ages 1.5 + 3.5) - 2nd lake was our lunch and turn-around spot. Everyone loved it and had a great time. We clocked 12 miles in our RT and it was 4 up for our crew and a pretty quick 2 down. Definitely take a filter for more water if you take littles. For perspective - we are in good shape and live at 6000k, pack weights were probably 30 and 50 lbs respectively. It was a big day - but so worth it.

One of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done! The beginning is a little rough because of how exposed you are, so I’d start early! I hiked it alone and felt totally comfortable! I cannot wait to go back and do the loop again! I would say it’s 14 miles.

Just beautiful! I think the mileage for this loop may be seriously off. We only went to the 2nd Lake and turned back around to return to Glacier Lodge but recorded over 12 miles in doing just that. I recommend lots of sunscreen and taking a water filter. If you run out of water, there’s tons of water along the way. I would love to return and backpack the lakes.

Awesome! The first 3 lakes are the most beautiful with the blue green color. The black lake was also really nice and peaceful. If you have the time and energy, I think it’s worth it to do the whole loop, because at the end you get a really nice view of the first and second lakes. We made it an all day adventure, and spent 10 hours on the trail taking nice breaks and napping. Next time I’d get an overnight permit and camp up there!

hiking
20 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike. We hiked this yesterday and didn’t start until noon. We only got to the second lake and turned back because rain was expected and we wanted to make it down before it got dark and started raining. The incline was steady and moderate. There is lots of water along the trail so you can refill your bottle. Can’t wait to go back.

nice easy hike. we just hiked to the first 2 lakes. it was well worth it.

I was looking forward to making Telescope peak... It's not reachable by a sedan car - very washed out right now, we couldn't make it to Charcoal kilns, there was 1.4 miles left when we turned around. Haven't passed even half a mile on the unpaved road...

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

One of the best backpacking trips I've done in CA. Was only 5.5 miles to lake 2 but the elevation made it tougher than i expected.

The majority of the hike is uphill with some shaded switchbacks to start and then it is pretty exposed for the next 2 miles which includes more switchbacks.

Weather was perfect and there were no mosquitos!

Camped at lake 2 but also day hiked to lake 3. I thought lake 2 was prettier.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is very pretty. I only made it to First Lake because it started to rain pretty heavily at that point and I was only wearing shorts and a tank top. Definitely be sure to bring a sweater (even if the weather is hot when you start the hike). Also, I was told the hike was only 3.8 miles to first lake... which definitely made me wonder if it was the altitude alone that made the hike seem so long. I gave this trail a 4 star rating because horses are allowed on the trail and you can pay $100 to ride a horse to third Lake. The path is narrow at some points which makes it difficult to avoid horse droppings in some locations (and the mess/smell the droppings made after being reconstituted by the rain was not entirely pleasant).
I’d definitely recommend bringing extra sunscreen (and wearing a hat and/or long sleeves). I’m very fair skinned and the first 2.5 miles or so don’t have much shade.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, very interesting the whole way. We parked at the backpackers lot and had to walk a bit down the road since we were told by the ranger not to use the pack trail. A lot of people disregarded that rule, but this is the route we did. This trail is scenic pretty much the whole way. Its pretty steep and hot in the first few miles but once you're past the first series of switchbacks beside second falls, it starts to flatten out. It stays pretty flat until a little bit after Lon Chaneys cabin (~1/2 way to 2nd lake). The second set of switchbacks wasn't as bad as the first and you'll start to see the turquoise water of 1st lake through the trees. We went to second lake and camped there for a couple nights, spent the days exploring the other lakes. We had thunderstorms every day between 2-6 like clockwork. This is what we called our afternoon thunderstorm nap time. On the last day after the thunderstorm we were greeted with a double rainbow!!! It was insanely beautiful! When it was time to go, it only took about an hour to get back down...I would do this trail again, even as a day hike although it is so beautiful you don't want to leave. Ever.

One of the most beautiful hikes/places Iv seen. It’s a must do, I recommend starting the hike no later than 6am. You’ll see sunrise and avoid any heat!

backpacking
1 month ago

Gorgeous!

hiking
1 month ago

The first couple of miles on this trail are fully exposed with little or no shade. Therefore, I suggest starting as early as possible to avoid the heat of the day. The lakes themselves are amazing - definitely worth the effort.

Started at 730am and finished the whole loop and were back to the car by 2:30pm. We took our time and had lunch at Black Lake. We went counter clockwise around the loop and saved the best for last but it was all so beautiful! Not an easy hike, especially in one day but totally worth it! Much warmer temps in the beginning and is cooler around the lakes. Lots of water and stunning views! Cant wait to go back and hike in and camp!

backpacking
1 month ago

My attempt at this trail ended with me returning before the lakes. Started late around 2pm and returned to the trail head by 8:30pm for a total of 1900+ feet elevation gain. My fault for not having altitude training before hand.

The trail is well defined and has spectacular views, this trail makes for a very nice swim location and starting point for the Palisades Peak.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing. AMAZING. Moderately tough hike but not overly difficult. Adjusting to the elevation is probably what makes it hard. Started hike a little after 7am and reached the first and second Lakes around 9:15. The first and second lake are right next to each other. We decided to head back after that and only took us one hour to get down to the trailhead. Pretty quick hike but on the way up we had a steady pace. I recommend starting early (needless to say). It makes going up through the switchbacks way easier when the sun isn’t beating down on you. Weather was perfect. Great visibility for us, however, on the way down smoke from the Ferguson fire was blowing through. 100% recommend this hike :)))) absolutely breathtaking.

Jaw dropping trail. One of the bests I have ever done, but I would start the loop counter clockwise, as to know, from the black lake first, this way the scenery is going to keep been better and better every time as my favourite lakes where the 1st and 2nd lakes.

Great challenging hike, finished today! Very hot and lots of mosquitoes.....however beautiful hike with a creek accessible much of the way for water after purifying of course. We started at rainbow falls and swam for a few hours before beginning our trek. The switchbacks are steep and challenging yet short lived.

backpacking
1 month ago

Breathtaking views all around. We camped at the Second Lake and the view of Temple Crag from our tent was everything. There were some mad thunderstorms in the afternoon and we had to hunker down in our tent. But then as the skies opened up, we were greeted by a double rainbow. We will definitely be back very soon!

Best hike I've been on! The views are absolutely incredible!

Just finished this. Took about 8 hours. Lost the trail once I saw duck pass on the ridge. Thankfully this app’s GPS works without service. It saved me. The talus was challenging but pretty solid with minimal loose rocks. There was a gorgeous nameless aqua blue lake before the talus. So amazing. Ps. Took my Siberian husky and he loved it.

backpacking
2 months ago

Best trail we’ve even been on! We went July 15, pretty hot but luckily there’s a creek/ waterfall next to you the entire time. My dog loved getting his dips in to cool off here and there. Wildflowers were blooming this time of year. We set up our tent by lake 2 and enjoyed the most amazing views! By far the best place I’ve visited.

backpacking
2 months ago

The first ~1.5 miles are relatively exposed and hot, but it provides nice views of the river to your left. Then it is into the trees (pine, aspen, birch) that provide tons of shade and beauty. The trail is well traveled, even during the week, with day hikers. Once you get past Second Lake there are fewer folks on the trail. We set up camp at Third Lake and camped a couple of nights. The hike up to Palisades Glacier is well worth the ~3 mile RT. Beautiful views of the glacier and river that drains the valley. We had thundershowers all three days there. But by 6 pm, the skies cleared and we could watch the sunlight off the tall peaks around. First rate Eastern Sierra hike.

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