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

sierras Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
7 days ago

Scariest hike ever. I'm talking about the cable portion, it is steep as hell and even steeper than photos when you see it in person. But it is do-able you just have to focus on moving to the next wooden board. The wooden boards I believe are spaced out 10 feet from each other from the bottom of the dome to the top. It took us about an hour just to get to the top because there was traffic lots of people going up and down simultaneously. We had to take turns for those coming down and those going up. To get to the top without traffic should only take maybe 10-15 mins to give perspective on what traffic does. Also the traffic IMO makes it more scary because you have to hold onto the cables even longer.

I'd recommend using gloves with a latex coating to help with the cables as it gives your hands much more grip and you'll avoid blistering your hands like many other people.

I'd recommend doing it if you want to face your fears. Just take it one wooden board at a time until you reach the top and you'll be fine. Lots of people did it and have done it.

Would I do it again? Probably not lol just because it was scary as shit. BUT DO IT ONCE AT LEAST :D

backpacking
12 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!

Tried to drive up to the trailhead but recent snow will make it difficult to drive past the winter closure gate (45-60 min south of the peak trailhead). Follow the road from the winter closure gate and my tracks in the snow and you can do the Shulman Cove Discovery Loop for a 5.5 mile round trip instead if you wish!

hiking
13 days ago

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

hiking
19 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.

Amazing hike did this back in September and forgot to put a review, but this hike is beautiful! We left early in the morning at 2am and it was perfect going up in the dark with headlamps and enjoying seeing things from a different perspective rather than going later like 7am so heading down you see everything that you didn’t going up so it makes the hike better since it’s pretty much a 10hr hike. Going up early at 2am and not knowing much farther you have to go was just great, but to just keep moving and the hike went by quick because by the time daylight started to show we were at the base of sub dome. Heading down was quick n easy, but by 10am traffic rolls in and makes it difficult.

Leave early for the hike to make the cables with little to no traffic. Make it before 8am cause up top people start to roll in and head down the cables with traffic is a pain to wait for people to pass n continue to descend.

The hike in general starts pretty easy for those that hike normally. The hike gets tough when you hit the foot high steps n they continue to get higher n higher, but that’s why you start early n you don’t see how much farther you have to go. Sub dome is just the same a bunch of foot high steps, but aren’t to bad if you go early and rest at the steps. Cables were surprisingly easy both up and down. Down is easiest, but going up isn’t bad if you have RUBBER GLOVES. Crazy beautiful site seeing going up cables and top. Used my GoPro and the videos are awesome.

Pack some good food and 4L of water. I managed to make it with 3L and have some left over,but it’s probably because we left early in morning.

Go prepared (food&water), go early, proper gear (boots&gloves, don’t forget permit, and enjoy the views going down.

hiking
19 days ago

What can I say, basically nothing beats this for a day hike.

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.

hiking
23 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.

As of 11/18 still no snow to deal with but frigid temps early am before sunrise. Short but steep hike, on a brisk November day it was nearly empty! Took me 5 hours total.

hiking
29 days ago

The toughest I have ever done!! absolutely worth it! Me and friend went during off season when the cables came down. If that's the case please bring safety equipment (carabineers, harness, leather gloves) if you are planning to do the 400 ft. climb along the face of Half Dome. We did not have that equipment so I didn't do it, because safety always comes first! Have a safe hike guys and don't forget to bring lots of water and salted snacks :)

Challenging but great hike!

backpacking
1 month 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.

off road driving
1 month ago

Since my first trip up here back in 2016 i have been here 2 times. Once with my everyday driver 1999 4Runner 5speed with only a 2 inch lift and was able to make it to the top with no scrapes by taking some super careful lines. Love this place. Love this place, the Views are amazing so high up in the sky. Can't wait to go back up late winter early spring while the snow is melting.

One for the bucket list.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

Awesome hike with amazing views at the top of half dome. I did this as a day hike in November with the cables down. I left the valley at 630 am right as the sun was coming out and I was the ONLY person at half dome. Had the whole place to myself. The hiking by Vernal and Nevada falls is the toughest part. Half dome is easy with a harness, some rope, and some leather gloves. Half dome with the cables down is a much more enjoyable experience, you just have to be more prepared but definitely worth it! Total hike took 9 hours to the top of half dome and back to the valley, the hike is tough and exhausting but with the appropriate rest and breaks it can be very enjoyable.

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

we did this hike late in October. the trail is very clear even though it's considered to be not an official trail. the distance is short and some times deceives you. the steep climb more than makes up for the length. it's a continuous upward hike with sections of the second part of the climb becoming a scramble. there is a large plateau section after the first half and gives you some time to catch your breath and prepare for the steep second section. it's typical of most holes above 11k , Rocky and changing trail. Cairns on the way show you the trail and help you stay on track. the view on the top is rewarding, mono lake on the background, Dana glacier which was barely there and steep drops. there is a wind protected spring area where the register was kept inside a gladsware box. the summit market has weathered and towards the edge of the cliff, try finding it without some help, very inconspicuous.

the climb down was faster but also very hard on the knees. there loose rocks also make it tricky. no one had talked about AMS on this hike but would like to caution folks attempting this to be very aware. in our group of 12, only 3 made it to the top and almost 6 to 8 of them had middle to high symptoms of AMS. most common is headache. saw couple of guys return without reaching the summit due to this. overall a good achievable 13k+ hike. we started at 930 and finished around 5. start early if you want to avoid getting late.

hiking
1 month ago

Certainly a hike for your bucket list. Just make sure that you get your permits in advance. We tried to get ours on 5 separate occasions and never got lucky. In the end, on our last day in Yosemite, we decided to hike up anyway to see how far we would be allowed to go. As luck had it, we ran into a group of other hikers who had 2 extra permits, so we were able to make it all the way to the top. Otherwise, the permit check is just below Subdome, which means is that there are some views to be had even without the permit, however, they are nowhere near as impressive as from the top and you won't even see the Half Dome at all. The rangers check the your permit against an ID of at least one person in the group, so if you don't get lucky with your own applications, you really need to find a group of people who have extra permits - getting a permit from people who get tired and turn back doesn't help.

As for the hike itself, it is not nearly as difficult as I had expected it to be. That said, it does take a better part of the day, so be prepared for it, head out early in the morning and bring plenty of water, especially if going in summer. The cables look scarier than they in fact are - the only annoying thing about them is trying to avoid all the people going in the other direction, especially if you arrive during a busier day.

On the way back, my suggestion would be to take the John Muir Trail between Nevada and Vernal Falls. It might be slightly longer but offers stunning views of Nevada Falls and is also less steep than the Mist Trail - something your knees might thank you for later.

In all, if you have the chance and ability, I really can't recommend this highly enough!

backpacking
1 month ago

Great hike!!! My phone/watch actually tracked this trail closer to 20 miles round trip but it was certainly worth the trek. Camped right next to Thousand Island Lake.

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

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

The official trail dies out about 2.5 miles in, but many different use trails can be followed pretty much to the top. As a day hike, this is a pretty tough one! The summit block seems to be about a class 3, but the views are sensational. Route finding skills and a high level of fitness required, it’s a lot of elevation gain to the summit!

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.

Found GoPro on this trail today, Saturday October, 27. Contact me if it yours.
Trail is great, i would rate it Moderate comparing to Kearsarge pass for example. You probably have another week to catch the fall colors. Winter is coming...

We did this day hike 2 weeks ago and I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. We did the loop passing by Lakes 1-4 and Black lake. Didn’t get to Lakes 5-7 and Palisades glacier since that’s another day hike. Started the hike at 9am, arrived at Lake 1 at 1pm, had a 30 minute lunch break at Lake 2 and moved on to Lakes 3, 4 and Black Lake. Had a bit of altitude sickness (lightheaded and headaches) as we descended from Lake 4. It was dark by the time we arrived at the trailhead by 7pm, so glad that I downloaded the maps since it helped a lot tracking our progress as we headed back to the trailhead in the dark. You do have to take your time with this hike since there’s spectacular scenery everywhere, especially Lakes 1 and 2, Temple Crag, Big Pine Creek, aspen groves along the way and lots of deer sightings along the way. Doing the loop on our way back also gave as another glimpse of Lakes 1 and 2 from the trail on the canyons above. I will definitely do this trail again in a heartbeat to see the rest of the lakes and the glacier!

First off, the out and back mileage is incorrect on this. From the trail
Head to Lightner Peak is 7.2 miles. It’s listed on the trail head sign. Out and back, this hike is 14.4 miles. Be prepared.

I loved this hike. If you live in Cali, and like me, every time you see those rolling golden hills sprayed with oak forests and grazing cattle, you have the urge to wonder on up, and also need a challenging hike that will
Kick your butt... then this is it!

I just did Whitney a few weeks ago, and had been training for it since last Feb. with a series of steep high elevation hikes, and trail running. I’m in relatively ok shape. I’m saying this because... Damn! If I didn’t feel the intensity of this hike.
If you are not an experienced hiker, DO NOT do this trail and definitely don’t attempt without proper hiking boots and polls. The first couple miles are deceptively moderate. Don’t be fooled.

To put into perspective, Whitney has an elevation gain of 6,000 ft in 11 miles. This trail has an elevation gain of almost 4.000 ft in in under 6 miles. And... once you go up, you must come down! It’s not gravely and loaded with steep boulders like Gorgornio or Mt. Marion, but it is a steep narrow dirt trail. The dirt can be very slippery on the way down. And... light traffic can mean you’re alone on the trail. I never saw anyone. If you are not experienced, there are many places in which you can easily roll your ankle.

That said. This hike is truly beautiful. I even got to see fall color at the peak. As low lander in So Cal... that’s as good as it gets. :-)

P.s. I would not suggest this hike on a hot summer day.

Vernal and Nevada trail is the hardest part. Once you past that, the rest of the trail is a piece of cake until you get to the sub dome part. Be prepared to scramble your way up to get to the end.

Load More