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

Mineral King Map

Awesome little hike! First mile gets you broke in pretty well, after crossing the creek and getting into the wooded area, it’s fairly easy going. Take your time, remember your up over 9k ft elevation and still climbing! Did not make it up to Upper Monarch as I got a late start and I was running out of daylight. Logged just over 10 miles and the entire hike took me about 4.5 hours. Awesome views of the Mineral King Valley.

It was another awesome trek to the top the scree is perfect and seeing both monarch lake and the entire Sierra mountains are so wonderful Mineral King is a fantastic valley and mountain getaway thank you to all that make the Sierra mountains the perfect place to call our home mountain range

1 month ago

Highly recommend trekking poles if you have a heavy pack. If you’re staying overnight there is a bear box and latrine (albeit without an enclosure) at the lower monarch lake. When we overnighted we were informed there were no open fires allowed above 9,000’ so plan accordingly. Beautiful views and a beautiful little lake, you’ll probably see other people there during the day at least.

This is such a wonderful hike. It is difficult, with the first mile and a half being the hardest and most exposed. It's also the worst part when returning - steep, hot, and your feet are dying to rest. We clocked in 11.3 miles on this hike, not 8.4, but we also went to the upper monarch lake as well (worth it). This was a surprisingly shady hike for the most part and the water at Monarch is very cold but refreshing. We had the first lake to ourselves for close to 30 minutes and it was wonderful. Love that the Mineral King area has relatively few visitors compared to the main part of the park. Just a note, the trail splits at one point and the other trail leads to Crystal lake. That is an unmaintained trail. So if you don't feel like dealing with some scrambling, I recommend doing Monarch instead.

3 months ago

Absolutely stunning! This was one of the best backpacking trips of my life. Hiked in day 1 and spent two nights at the lake. On day 2 we hiked to the top of the pass and it was definitely worth it. We didn’t want to leave! We found a great secret place to camp in the area that’s was used as a quarry for the dam. Will be back!

All round great hike. Long enough, with the elevation, to push you. But not brutal enough to upgrade it from a “moderate” to a “hard” class hike. Two sets of mule deer does with fawns, marmots, pikas and the lake itself make this well worth the time and effort.

great day hike! can be hard with the elevation climb but beautiful views and amazing history. there is a beautiful waterfall and some cool mines. starts hard but easy at the end.

3 months ago

Beautiful lake, and definitely hike up to the pass and see the view!
The altitude was a bit tough for our group, had to stop and catch our breath a few times on the way up, but well worth the effort. The lake was pristine and we had a great swim after setting up camp.

4 months ago

Hiked it 8-4-18. It is a pretty hard hike, but the views are incredible! A steady climb all the way there but worth it. Took Us 4 hrs up an 3 down with taking alot of pics along the way. Flowers almost all the way up with plenty of deer to spot. Trail path is good, but watch ankles towards the top the rocks get rough. Next time we're spending the night to explore the lake more.

Beautiful hike! Elevation climb is tough, so make sure to take it slow, but the views are unbelievable. Though this hike can be done in one day, we stayed over night and it was so peaceful, definitely recommend this hike as a backpacking trip. Make sure to watch out for marmots, they were all over the place during this time of year, so keep an eye on your stuff.

4 months ago

The trail was very strenuous but easy to follow and well worth it. The views going up the trail and at the lake were amazing, and the Brook trout fishing in the main lake was excellent.

Great views and today the ice is still a cave at the end :) . Hard hike after 1st mile as you pass fork. Its steep from the fork until old cabin. Awesome Hike for newbies.

Awesome hike with beautiful views. Hike was strenuous at times- especially not being used to the altitude. The marmots were very used to humans- one took a few bites out of my shoe! Bring mosquito repellent. I stayed the night and was able to enjoy peace and wake up to beautiful views of the lake.

Dope trail not to hard but challenging

Really pretty lake with great fishing. The marmots were relentless at taking whatever they could when our backs were turned.

5 months ago

I truly enjoyed this trail it was fabulous and anytime you get to spend time in The magic of the Sierra Mountains that is where it’s at.. the shale to the top of the pass is the best it’s a wonderful workout and the view is amazing I will have to say the undefined trail in the shale makes sense once you have climbed to the top.. I really loved this hike

5 months ago

NPS website is not lying when they said "start early because it's a west-facing slope". The first mile was incredibly hot and sunny in the afternoon. After the first mile, it gets much easier. it took me 3pm-10pm including lots of picture-taking and slow progress on the way up.

Saw many marmots and grouse. If you hear a deep "whoop whoop whoop whoop", that's the male grouse's mating call.

This year, going earlier in the season would've meant fewer mosquitoes, less heat, and less crowds if you're also visiting Lodgepole. Late May-early june would be ideal this year. June in years when there's heavier snowfall.

The views were pretty good but I wish I had hiked Eagle Lake instead, considering I started late.

Love this trail. Mountain perfection! Creek crossing is safe right now. There is small patches of snow at the lake but you won't see any on the trail. If you got sweet blood like I do, bug spray is a must! Mosquitos are out and hungry!! Great elevation gain hike & views to kill for!

Nice hike not to strenuous. Nice looking lake water still very cold every time I’m at a alpine lake I have to take a dip in. Plenty of brown Trout caught a few in just a hour very good day.

Franklin lakes is one of my favorite hikes, beautiful views, random deer along the way. In any given summer I’ll day hike it a few times...

Hiked to Eagle Lake on Memorial Day weekend. Amazing views. The air was fresh, weather was crisp.

6 months ago

Nice one, did it along with part of the bigger loop, very nice, not too steep (vs. sawtooth)

Nice addon to eagle lake! But if you only do one, do eagle lake

6 months ago

Nice walk, easy to follow, good speed. No snow (or barely any) as of late May.

It's a cute one, consider adding mosquito lake

An amazing trail, a pleasant surprise to find a snow cave cutout by the runoff.

6 months ago

We backpacked at Monarch Lake the night before climbing Sawtooth Pass. At this season seems the weather is clear in morning but gets foggy in the afternoon.
The trail to Lower Monarch Lake is obvious, even about the last mile and mile half is covered in snow. We brought crampons and ice axes, which made the trekking much easier. But still, the steep snow slope looks pretty dangerous and have proper equipment will give you peace in mind and tool to self arrest if anything happens.
Even though the Lower Monarch Lake is largely covered with ice, the temperature is not too low, I'd say 30 degree at night, and we are able to get water at the lake.
The trail to Sawtooth Pass mostly has no snow, but really hard to find human track at this early in the season, I ended up using ice axe to cross patches of ice when climbing totally off trail to the pass. Take extra caution when moving on the slope. It's like 50 degree or above incline and with sandy terrain, the sand is extremely slippery on rocks.
The west side of the Sawtooth Pass is mostly clear of snow, but as soon as you reach the pass you can see the other side of it is covered in completely white. Snow is couple feet high over the pass. View at the pass is breath taking.
Getting downhill is mandatory hill and can be very challenging. My buddy with crampon on felt it's easier as the traction on sandy slope helps. Me, I mostly slide one foot in careful position, moving sideways, sometimes sit down or hunch down to help stabilize the sliding. Be super careful where you step on! Pure sand has more traction than sand on rock. Also notice some part, even no snow/ice, but the small pebbles are frozen together made it hard and slippery.
We took 2 hrs to ascent from Lower Monarch Lake to the Pass.

Went there end of May backpacking. Last mile to the lake was on a slope covered with snow, we passed it with ice axe and crampons easily. I saw people walked by with trekking boots and poles but you might want to think twice and takes extreme caution. Heading towards sawtooth pass was very hard for me cause I failed to find the right route and struggled a lot along sandy mountain. Weather was cool not cold, afternoon fog brought bad condition to the trail. Breathtaking view when sunset and sunrise. Lots of marmots around the lake.

Amazing hike. Did it over memorial day weekend when the weather was cold which was perfect. Started at around 42F and ended at around 58F. There is still little bit of snow on the trail but not enough to make it slippery. Many different terrains on the trail which makes it interesting and so much to see, The last section before the lake is climbing boulders which for me was challenging and that is why I would rate this trail as strenuous. It took 3.25 hours to hike up and 2.5 hours to hike down at a relaxing pace with several stops. Stopped at Eagle lake for an hour for lunch and the amazing views.

Tried to do this hike today 5/19/18 but the last gate before Silver City is closed due to a washout on the road. Its another 5 1/2 to 6 miles of walking on the paved road until you get to the trail head. According to a park ranger I met there the gate should open in a week or 2. I

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