Explore sierra - 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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backpacking
6 days ago

Backpacked one night (Dec. 1-2nd). This was my third time on this trail. I was hoping to reach the top of the first lake, between the first and second, to get a good morning photo. I got a late start and the snow kept me from even making the first lake. I ended up camping at the Cabin and didn't have enough time to continue on. Can't say what the conditions are after the Cabin, but expect deeper snow. It was about knee deep in most places and deeper after the first falls. Its all fresh snow and soft.
Overall amazing trail in summer and winter. Temps were around 1-5F at night with a negative wind chill, but the wind died down. It was about 11F this morning around 8am. Nice easy hike down after plowing.

I was wearing outer shells and snow shoes. I'll post some pics. Happy backpacking.

Recent snowfall from Nov 29/30 will make your trek longer if you decide to do the full loop...not sure what the conditions look like as I only hiked a mile in to scope out the trail and will return in the spring! It is gorgeous. If someone does the full loop with the current snow let us know the conditions and time!

Pretty lakes & mountains with snow caps

Easy but beautiful trail. All I want to see is the second lake!

hiking
14 days ago

I LOVED this hike. It's about 11 mi round trip if you go to lakes 1-3. We went on November 23 which was the day after the first snowfall, and it was gorgeous -- I could see it getting slippery in certain places once the snow has a chance to melt and refreeze a couple of times. Nothing insurmountable, but hiking poles could be helpful in the winter.

As far as the level of hike -- I was bracing myself because people have been citing it as a pretty challenging hike, but there was not any particularly challenging moment -- the distance makes it tiring and by the end I was feeling my legs running out of steam, but neither my partner nor I are overly active (we've recently been doing a 2-3 mile hike maybe once a week and yoga maybe once or twice a week, in addition to daily walks with our dog) and it was totally doable with enough water, snacks, and layers. The way up is pretty consistently uphill, but you're not climbing boulders the whole time or anything; it's just a mountain!

Timing -- I think that for the average healthy person, 7-8 hours is probably a good amount of time to give the hike if you want to stop for photos, food, exploration. We left just before 8:30, got to the 1st lake around 11 AM, meandered to the 2nd and 3rd lakes and back to the 1st again, stopped for some food and chatting (and some dog play between our dogs and other awesome dogs on the trail), and were on our way down around 12:45, then back to the car by 3 PM.

I can't wait to come back and see how the lakes look in other seasons. Can't recommend this hike enough.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful trail. The end of the trail is magnificent!

walking
14 days ago

11/24/18 Great little walk through some giants. Entire path is paved and highly trafficked. Very touristy location. It was pretty cool considering it was our first encounter with the sequoias. After we left here we drove north to hike Camp Nelson trail. It was a great balance as there were very few people and still saw some grand sequoias!

Stunning hike but we got a bit lost between Lakes 5-7 as the ground was covered in snow and we couldn’t find the trails (hiked November 24th). Might be advisable to turn around after lake 3 in snowy conditions if you’re not familiar with the route.

We did this hike as a family and loved every minute of it! The falls was frozen over and it was amazingly beautiful!

hiking
17 days ago

My first hike ever! My girlfriend took me here in September and it was so easy and rewarding. It was our first hike together. So yesterday we decided to go back to take a better picture and we were pleasantly surprised when we saw the frozen falls! What a beautiful sight!

hiking
18 days ago

This was the perfect hike! A little challenging due to the distance and carrying about 25 pounds, but definitely doable. It was a gradual incline so nothing too brutal. After the first mile, you are walking next to a beautiful river the entire time. Got to see a waterfall, then Lon Cheney’s cabin, and then the lakes were gorgeous. We only made it to lake 2 due to time, but we will be back to do the entire thing. HIGHLY recommend, one of my favorite hikes.

Rewarding hike for mind and body...beautiful views... great trail. Lots of switchbacks between 9000 and 10000 feet, definitely a challenge as an infrequent hiker from the East coast.

Great hike up. Was disappointed that there was not a good view into the next basin. The last steep part was the most lovingly cared for trail I have seen in years.

backpacking
25 days ago

Four of us did this as a backpacking overnight this weekend, and for 3 of us it was our first time backpacking. We made it to the 2nd lake in 4 1/2 hours with packs and lots of breaks (we are in average shape.. only some of us hike regularly).
This trail was challenging and rewarding for a first time hiking with 20+ lb bags (we only hiked to the 2nd lake to camp and explored a few more lakes the next day). The trail is a very steady incline with some big stone steps here and there, but with trekking poles it was doable, even at altitude (I would describe it as "challenging" but far from "brutal"). What was somewhat brutal was camping in below 15 degrees ( my thermometer read closer to 10 than 15 at one point in the evening). Sleeping in the cold was not fun, but the sun really warmed us up in the morning.
On Saturday morning there was smoke from a forest fire which made the visibility poor, which was a bit discouraging, but we decided to go for it anyway. To the guy who said to us "Have fun breathing in smoke all night"... just so you know the wind came through and blew out all of the smoke that afternoon. We had perfectly clear weather that night and the next day.

hiking
26 days ago

Did this trail on 7/21/18. Drive up to the parking lot, it is about 3 miles off of the road and makes the trek much more enjoyable as the road leading up to the trail is quite steep. The falls are beautiful but to get close to them there is some rock climbing necessary. There is a nice little spot to get into the water weather permitting. In late July it was about 85 degrees and would have been nice to get in.

Went with 2 friends on 11/11/18 and found the waterfall completely frozen over. We arrived early in the morning around 9am and it was empty and the road itself was a bit bumpy but I was driving slow like a turtle and avoiding the bumps and holes along the way. A bathroom is available at the trail entrance but there is no toilet paper provided so heads up. Trail itself is pretty easy, and we passed someone pushing a stroller on our way back. Trail itself ends at the waterfall, had a great time...worth the drive and the hike.

hiking
27 days ago

Warning: if you’re out of shape. Beginner hiker. Please be prepared. Allow yourself and your group plenty of time to reach the lakes before it starts getting dark. This trail is hard for beginners like myself. I started off the trail at 630am. It took my group almost 5 and a half hours to get to the first lake. The second lake is just a short distance away. Maybe 10-15mins after the first lake. The views are amazing! Well worth the pain coming up and going down. It took 3 and a half hours to get back to the parking lot from the second lake.

hiking
29 days ago

The first mile definitely made me question my life decisions. You gain 1000 feet of elevation immediately in the hike. After that, the hike takes you exploring through the creek and ends up at an amazing cave. Make sure to bring flashlights, as you could spend hours exploring.

Great stroll.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredible hike and views!! Highly recommend. Be sure to take note of your turns and trailheads, as there are a lot of offshoot trails and it could be easy to take the wrong path on the way back!

hiking
1 month ago

Well maintained trail with excellent views on the lakes. I walked this in late October, out and back in 3.5 hours. Not accustomed to the altitude, so it was more tiring than I expected. Well worth the effort though.

hiking
1 month ago

Did all seven Lakes in one day, kind along but definitely worth it. The 1st mile or so it’s kind of cool but after you make that first thousand foot climb and hit the first lake the scenery is amazing. My favorite is fourth lake as it just kind of comes up on you thru a shirt spur off the main trail. Temple Crag is obviously the sight to see. Will def come back and head the Glacier Lake trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great hike, beautiful sights, but cold night as expected for the time of year. Best part about the cold though, No mosquitos. Fun overnighter overall

on Rancheria Falls Trail

1 month ago

Great trail for the whole family! My husband and I took our daughters (4 and 2 years old) 10/28/18 and they absolutely loved it! It wasn’t busy at all when we went (1:30pm) and we even ate lunch at the top of the trail! The girls needed hoodies since it was a little chilly by the waterfall. It was a gorgeous day!

hiking
1 month ago

Quite an easy going, but beautiful walk to the Twin Lakes. Most of the trial is in the shadow (late October). The destination is breath taking and absolute worth it.

backpacking
1 month ago

Unreal view of temple crag at second lake. Best backpacking trip to date

Starts in the desert and progressively climbs into the mountains. There's some stunning views early on but the real rewards come when you start hitting the lakes. Lake 2 in particular is absolutely incredible. Temple Crag is one of the most breathtaking sights I've ever seen.

The hike up to the lake was very tough, at least for me, maybe I’m out of shape lol. As soon as we got to the lake we caught fish. The Brook Trouts were kind of small, but I’m sure there are some larger fish. Between the four of us, we caught thirteen fish within an hour. This lake is absolutely beautiful I’m so glad we decided to do this.

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