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It was a great trip! I did see a bear and a rattlesnake. I do recommend stopping my Bearpaw Meadows to buy a brownie for $5.

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!!

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...

A real California Adventure! Personally would recommend staying two nights at Emerald and day hiking the hour to Pear Lake. Although Pear Lake does feel more isolated. Watchtower Trail is awesome as long as you're sure footed and not afraid of heights.

I completed this hike on August 4th and it was AMAZING!!! The forest in the beginning was nice and shaded and got some good views. The Watchtower is spectacular!! You walk on the ridge line and catch some epic views of the peaks across the way. Heather and Emerald Lake were beautiful but Pear Lake takes the cake. We jumped in and swam a little bit and enjoyed the sunny weather.
Side note: The trailhead said it was 6.2 to Pear Lake so in and back would be 12.4 miles.

Awesome views, and the Lakes are wonderful. Very tough hike. Recommend going via watchtower and return via hump trail.

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!

Just did this trail a few days ago. We hit the trailhead around noon on a Wednesday and boy was it hot! I was coming off a tough few days of work and starting out in 85 degree heat was not the ideal way to do this continuously uphill climb. It was very strenuous BUT... it was worth it. The lakes themselves are spectacular. Next time, we'll spend the night somewhere close by and start up early morning - way better to actually enjoy the hike.

We camped at Emerald Lake the first night and Pear lake the 2nd night. Emerald lake actually has the better campsites, and next time we'll spend two nights at Emerald lake and just day hike up to Pear Lake.

Also, the best lake to swim in was definitely Heather Lake, the first of the lakes. It's a little smaller, and thus was warmer than both Pear and Emerald Lake. We didn't try Astor Lake (next time!)

Beware the marmots at Pear Lake! We tried to set up at one of the campsites, but there was a marmot who was clearly not happy with us being in his home. We switched campsites and later found that that same marmot had been snatching clothes left out at a neighboring campsite!

Just got back from doing this trip this weekend. It was incredible! My first backpacking trip, and I loved every minute of it. The scenery and views are abundant stunning. The wildlife is beautiful - I was yelled at by a bear! The water in Pear and Emerald Lakes was so refreshing. Emerald’s water was a bit warmer, and I jumped off my first rock! =) Would totally recommend this trail. I can’t wait to go back and bring some friends next time.

Must have permit to camp - walk up only at Lodgepole. We slept in the parking lot Thursday night, and were standing in line behind 3 others before the Visitor’s Center opened. We got the last 2/3 permits.

Must have a bear canister. Pack out everything. Leave it better than you found it.

Really great hike! Definitely a challenge, but certainly doable if you're in decent shape. We took 7 days (7/14-7/20) and found that to be a good sweet spot for a challenging but not too aggressive pace. Our itinerary was: Bearpaw Meadow, Hamilton Lake, Big Arroyo, Kern Hot Springs, JMT Junction, Guitar Lake, and Whitney-Whitney Portal. There was absolutely no snow and it was easy going the whole way through. There are plenty of spots for water throughout, but bringing a bladder is recommended for those draining sunny days. A few things to note: 1) Highly recommend that you bring bug spray as mosquitoes are all over this trail. They're not unbearable, but it can be very annoying at times. 2) We ran into a couple rattlesnakes along the way, so watch your step during the day as they sunbathe on the trail or in campsites 3) Trekking poles are highly recommended for stability across all the various river crossings, slowing down for steep descents, and helping up the long ascents.

hiking
21 days ago

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

A beautiful hike without question. You start by hiking through a pleasant forest until you reach the Watchtower where you finally get above the tree line and get some views. The trail can perhaps be a bit a bit scary if you're afraid of heights but I didn't think there were any tricky bits at all. That said, if you want to avoid hiking on trails that have sheer drops, use the "Hump Trail" to bypass the Watchtower section completely. Or you can use the Hump Trail on the way back so as not to retrace your steps completely. Mosquitoes can get pretty annoying, especially around the lakes, so make sure you carry a bug spray.
Overall, this is a lovely hike that will take a better part of a day but I probably wouldn't really consider it as hard. Definitely recommended.
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of yellow-bellied marmots and heard some grouse but never saw them.

hiking
28 days 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
1 month 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!

LOVE this trail. From the burned forest to the sunny stretches to the riverside—lots of diversity in terrain.

Excellent hike. It goes above the tree line so take a hat. There is wildlife so keep your eyes open. Watch out for the R.O.U.S.’s!!! (Rodents of unusual size) Lol, I’m referring to the Marmots. Large bushy tailed Beaver looking guys that live under rocks. They can become very aggressive, so be “hiker smart” and don’t leave your stuff unattended. Never had any problem with Marmots myself, but have talked with others that have.

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.

A true highlight of Sequoia, and a great taste of the high Sierra within a few miles of the General Sherman tree and his tour buses!

We hiked to Pear Lake via the Watchtower Trail, camped for the night, and hiked out the next morning. Wilderness permits were readily available at Lodgepole at 1 PM the day prior. The climb up to the Watchtower from the parking lot was gradual, with beautiful forest views and alpine streams flowing down the hillside. The Watchtower Trail was a bit unnerving for a step or two with full packs! The last couple of miles from Heather Lake to Pear Lake felt more strenuous, with short climbs/descents and exposed rock. We got to Pear Lake in ~3.5 hours from the parking lot. Pear Lake was stunning, although the mosquitos and marmots were very interested in our presence; a face net came in handy. There were about three other groups with 1-3 people each camping at Pear. The hike out took ~2.5 hours. A must-do!

Great, tough trail! Pretty steep at some points though. You can stop at the first lake (heather) for a shorter hike or keep going to the top lake (pear). I recommend going all the way to Pear Lake though, it’s not that much further once you’ve gotten to heather lake. My dad was able to catch several (smaller) fish at heather lake while I went on to the top. We went watchtower trail for a better overlook and it didn’t disappoint.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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!

Beautiful trail, especially in the redwood groves. Started at 0730, even then it was pretty warm at the finish. Lots of pretty creeks, saw 3 deer, and of course, the magnificent redwoods. Many flying bugs, but we didn't get bit by mosquitos. We have hike both directions, from the Hart Trail and the Sugarbowl trail. I think I prefer to go counterclockwise, beginning on the Sugarbowl trail, gets more of the elevation done early in the hike.

Such a great trail. We hiked to Heather Lake via Watchtower. Watchtower is a must...spectacular views and Heather Lake is fantastic. We took a quick swim across the lake and found a great rock to jump off of and a small patch of snow to play in.

We hiked from the parking lot all the way to pear lake. It took us 4.5 hours and we damn near died lol. This is not an easy hike by any means, but well worth the effort if you can make it. Emerald and Heather lake have much more trees and shade than pear lake. There were fish at all the lakes but they were only about the length of my hand so not really worth my time. We camped at pear lake for one night and got assaulted by the these annoying marmots. These little rascals will eat any clothing or gear you have that has salt on it. They are like salt honey badgers. They don't give a crap about people being there and will hide until you walk away for a second. All in all it was a beautiful trip. Watchtower gives a great viewpoint but The Hump has much more shade for the hike. We went up Watchtower and down the hump on the way back. If you don't do hikes like this often I would recommend giving your body at least one full day of rest after climbing up. Would do this again for sure though.

Incredible hike. Did this from Crescent Meadows to Whitney Portal from 6/15-6/20 (6 days, 5 nights). Very demanding hike but no major issues in terms of stream crossings or snow. Kaweah Gap does not require snow gear, and while we used axes and spikes for a couple sections of the Whitney Trail switchbacks, the snow will likely be gone soon. The sun is very powerful and draining at these altitudes so it is best to start hiking early and bring appropriate clothing.

Highly recommend for anyone looking for a challenging hike that rewards with awesome views throughout.

6/11/18
This trail is in great shape. We backpacked to Emerald lake via the watchtower. The watchtower section is unbelievable.
Permits are easy to get and they are walk up only. This can easily be done as a day hike.
Mosquitoes were unrelenting so plan accordingly.

hiking
2 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

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