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- Well maintained path
- Somewhat challenging
- Mostly open landscape
- Good overlook of East Bay
- Mild foot traffic
- Multiple additional paths in area to make hike shorter or longer
- Decent signage
- Picnic / sitting area / bathrooms near NW edge of Park

backpacking
1 day ago

One of the greatest Sierra hikes I have ever done. We took 7 days to complete the CW loop so we could take our time while on the JMT portion. It was well worth it and highly encourage anyone with the time to do the same. We saw 2 Bears at middle paradise but they never messed with us, however the squirrels at middle Rae Lake did. They attempted to eat into our snack bags within minutes of us taking a break! The trail was in good shape with the exception of the bridge being out at upper paradise (feet wet crossing) and another one just before Bubbs ands Woods creek meet up (easy bolder hop).

We started at the Stuart Lake Trail Head working our way up to Colchuck Lake. This is an outstanding hike, unfortunately the smoke got in our eyes, a lot of smoke in the are which interfered with views but worth it!

Gorgeous

Amazing and very rewarding hike!!! Make sure you bring enough water. I ran out right after hitting the top ( I took 1.5 liters) Thankfully I was hydrated enough to walk back down to the falls(probably 4 miles) to get more. Totally worth it!!! I was glad I had trekking poles with me, I would definitely reccomend to do the same!

Just did a 4 night trek, up Aasgard, down through Snow Lakes. It was very challenging for me but so worth it. Bugs were only bad the first day. Last time I was here was 36 years ago and it was more outstanding than I remembered. (and harder!)

on Half Dome Trail

hiking
5 days ago

Did this hike on July 13th, weather was amazing and we got very lucky to finish this hike before the fire. Definitely an ass kicker but if you’ve trained for it you’re fine. I took 4 liters of water and was fine but my friends took less and filtered water at the river. Apply and reapply sunscreen because the sun is on you for most of the trail. I recommend getting a harness for the cables because although it doesn’t make it easier going up, you do have a sense of security just in case. Take it slow, it’s a great adventure worth taking your time for.. Take lots of pictures and have fun!

hiking
7 days ago

Trained by doing a bunch of challenging hikes leading up to this. Definitely helped. It's not so much difficult physically as it is mentally: if you can train your mind to understand time and space while doing the hike, you'll be much better off (not just for the Pass, but also the long hike down to the Snow Lakes trail head).

8 days ago

Yes, old guys can do this in a day. I took a bunch of great pictures, talked to other cool hikes , and had a great day.

backpacking
9 days ago

Made this Clockwise hike with Dan M (previous review). I’d like to emphasize our selection of camp sights as I felt ours was a great way to enjoy the best part of this loop. If you’re hiking the Rae Lakes Loop why not spend some time at Rae Lakes?

Day 1 - Ranger Station to Upper Paradise

Day 2 - Upper to Dollar Lake. Sure, with an early start, you can make it Rae Lakes, but this would be a tough ~14 mile day with ~3,600’ of elevation gain putting you at Rae late afternoon when most of the better Camp sites are taken. And then since you can only stay 1 night at Rae you’re out the next morning having only spent the evening and night at the best part of this trail.

Day 3 - Dollar to Rae Lakes. This is a short 4 mile hike. The crown jewel of this hike is Rae Lakes. The Dollar Lake stop puts you at Rae before noon, with your choice of any Campsite. We selected the little peninsula in the NW corner of Upper Rae just to the east of the little strait or stream connecting Upper and Middle. We were able to relax here all day, swimming in both Upper and Middle, fishing, talking with the exhausted clockwise hikers coming from Upper and the counterclockwise hikers coming thru the pass. Also enjoyed talking with all the JMT’ers and PCT’ers. This was an awesome, relaxing, well-needed restful day for some Hikers from Louisiana (elevation 12 feet).

Day 4 - Rae to Sphinx - up early to enjoy the views from Glen pass at dawn. It’s all down hill (stairs) from here. This is about 14 miles. You can make it all the way but for us it would’ve been late and we didn’t want to drive the 2 hours back to Fresno on that winding mountain road at dusk.

Day 5 - Sphinx back to the Ranger Station.

If you have 4 nights I recommend this itinerary. If we had to do it over again we perhaps make Day 4 shorter and Day 5 longer.

All in all a great hike! Enjoy.

hiking
9 days ago

We were a group consisting of two 50 year old boys and three 20ish year old men. We did the loop clockwise camping 4 nights. Camping spots were Upper Paradise, Dollar Lake, Upper Rae Lake, and Spynx.
River crossing at Upper was fine as we utilized a log jam roughly 200 yards downstream from the bridge location. The only issues we had was with water filtration due to our filter choices but it did slow us down to enjoy the views and catch our breath. We carried each one liter and I would recommend 2 liters for the pass as its a long haul over to the next fill up area. I would also recommend an early start for the pass as it does get warm fast. We started at 6 A.M. to cross over Glen. Saw bears at upper and spynx.

backpacking
10 days ago

I've read somewhere that this is the most often done hike in the High Sierra and it is easy to see why. You really get the taste of just about everything here - from lush meadows, pleasant forests and swift rivers with waterfalls to snowy mountain passes and crystal lakes, and all that beauty in a loop that can be done in a couple of days! You really can't go any better than this.
We did our hike in the clockwise direction in 3 and a 1/2 days and it wouldn't be that difficult to do it in 3 if needed.
On the first day, we started from the permit station at around 10am and reached the Upper Paradise by mid-afternoon. The bridge over the river is still out and we met several groups of people who turned back at the sight of the river that needs to be forded. That said, with hiking poles for extra support and sandals or water-shoes to give you some grip, we didn't really feel that it would be quite that bad. Mid-June, the water reached to just around the upper part of my thighs (I'm 6'1") and I'm sure that later in summer, it will be lower than that (if you're not unlucky with rain).
On the second day, first thing in the morning, we forded the river and hiked up to where the trail meets the PCT/JMT (in the upper right "corner" on the map) and followed those to the Upper Rae Lake where we set up camp at around 5 or 6pm. This was by far the most strenuous day of the hike with 3600+ feet of elevation gain and quite a few up-and-down bits, especially in the first part, which added some extra feet to boot. Nevertheless, the views along this section are just spectacular as you slowly ascend above the treeline, and the lakes themselves are simply breath-taking.
On the third day, we started with the first light in order to reach Glen pass before the sun would soften the snow, making it more difficult and dangerous to walk on. Especially since we didn't have any micro-spikes or snow-axes, we were a bit worried but, as it turns out, with hiking poles and sturdy boots, the pass was nowhere near as bad as we had feared. Later in summer, things are bound to get even easier, but I would definitely think twice about doing this when there is a lot of snow. After you reach the pass, it's all downhill from there and there was no snow at all on the southern side, making the descent a walk in the park. We reached Charlotte Meadows by around 3:30pm and for a moment we debated whether to stick to the plan and set up camp there or hike all the way back to the car. In the end, we decided to take it easy and spent the rest of the afternoon bird-watching, but it's easy to see how one could make it from the Lakes back to the permit station in a day, albeit a fairly hard one.
On the fourth day, it only took a couple of hours to get to the end.
So, in summary, this hike is definitely right there in the top best hikes that I've ever done and I can happily recommend it to anyone who likes the outdoors and is not afraid of backpacking.
As other have said, the clockwise direction seemed easier with the ascent being more gradual, and I also felt that it worked better in terms of dividing the trail into manageable sections in a way that you get to camp by the lakes, which I can't recommend enough.
Finally, while on the trail, particularly in the lower sections, keep an eye out for rattlesnakes - we encountered two, and one of them let us get within striking distance before it started rattling, all coiled up and scary as hell. We froze and it slithered backwards off the trail while still coiled (I didn't even know that they can do that!) never once taking it's eyes off us, so no harm done, but it did scare me a lot. We haven't seen any bears but plenty of deer, a variety of lizards, birds, some marmots and a pika at the top of Glen Pass.

Wonderful trail for all experience levels. Some friends and I went on a two night backpacking trip this past weekend and enjoyed the scenery regardless of the smoke from the fires nearby. Hope to go again soon when fire season is over.

Highly recommend clockwise. Took me 4-1/2 days— hiked out the morning of the fifth day. There was a flash flood at the washed-out (former) Paradise Bridge- I heard some people got stranded for hours on an island in the middle of the river. A couple guys went out to rescue them— was touch-and-go. It was a little scary and also inconvenient, with rushing brown water you could not filter because it would clog/ jam up your water filter.

No-one told any of us there is a log jam- not even 1/8 of a mile downstream- which features a huge tree you can waltz across the river on. This info would have come in handy for a lot of people that day.

This is one of the most stunning hikes you will ever experience... but you’ll have to work for it.

hiking
11 days ago

First time test out big and long hike with my buddy who probably can run this trail in half or less the time he was hiking with me. It was satisfied painfully. It is the most difficult and mental challenge (the last few miles)
hike I have ever done. We started at a minute before sunrise 544am on 8/5 and was out in the car by 8pm! My feet and Knees are still paying for the unforgiven pain. I love what nature has to offer, wow! Thanks Boomer for staying with me. It was unforgettable memories.

hiking
11 days ago

Amazing thru-hike experience. We lucked out on a relatively cool day which was still clear with tremendous views and plenty of sun. Bugs were remarkably few, we had feared much worse. My stats showed 20.5 miles and took us 13 hours which included a dip in Snow lake (refreshing and wonderful) and few small wayfinding challenges. aasgard was as billed (tough and took us about 2 hours) but downhill rock field climbing was harder than expected but doable even for those not hard core hikers (like ourselves). We went down on our bottoms on quite a few rocks. Kept a steady pace with not much rest time but frequent small stops for eating and filtering water. Didn't stop and enjoy the core zone as much as we'd like due to concern about finishing. In retrospect, we could have taken a nice break at one of the core zone lakes and really take it all in. Hard to make that kind of decision when you are exhausted, so making a plan to do that would be better. Bring lots of fuel. Drink plenty of water (we did about 7L and used Nuun tablets for electrolytes) and some real food (PBJ sandwiches) were great for lunch instead of the typical nuts and jerky type trail food. It was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it!

backpacking
13 days ago

Amazing and beautiful place to backpack! So glad I was able to do this one! I did a four night loop with my son’s scout troop. Other reviews have covered most of the info, but I would emphasize that you watch out for bears and rattlesnakes (we encountered a Mom and cub on trial and two rattlers during our hike.). I’d also emphasize that it seems like people are not exaggerating when they say counter clockwise is tougher: we did clockwise and as we went along I was grateful every step toward the end that I was descending that section and not ascending. There’s plenty of water everywhere and a lot of space to camp and the main sites and those have bear boxes for stuff that may not fit in your bear can. Also, be prepared for the oft encountered Sierra thunderstorms and rain.

Have done 5-night hikes twice. Otherworldy views, secluded trails and sites, tons of day hikes off the beaten path. Count yourself lucky if you can claim the end of the peninsula on Leprechaun Lake. Aasgard Pass is brutally satisfying if you come up from Colchuck.

backpacking
14 days ago

Great loop gets a little busy at the suspension bridge but you get a great mix of loop hikers and through hikers that can chat around a campfire

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike, not worth it to do it in one day. Try and get a wilderness pass.

This place is getting trashed unfortunately. Would be helpful to try clean up the area. We filled the only bag we had but still had to leave with a ton behind. This place/waterfall was more beautiful when there wasn’t graffiti everywhere.

18 days ago

Loved this loop. We did it in 3 days and saw a few black bears. Bring bug spray.

Did the thru hike a few weeks ago and it was without a doubt the hardest hike I’ve done to date. If we had gotten an overnight permit, I would’ve jumped on the chance to split it over 2 days. The views are indescribable though - pictures don’t do it justice. The bugs were awful and we came home covered in mosquito bites. Bug spray did not seem to deter them. If you’ve got the will and heart like a previous poster said, do it. You won’t regret it. Make sure to come prepared though - it’s definitely a challenge.

Hiked this today with two friends. Our total distance was 15.37 miles as we did a full circuit of Ediza lake, before retracing our steps to the trailhead. Beautiful area of lakes, rivers, waterfalls and all that hiking in the Sierras has to offer. Visibility was reduced a fair bit by smoke from a fire burning about 5 miles away.

backpacking
21 days ago

We are the “Intrepids” - a group of women aged 40-74 that love the outdoors and we embrace physical challenges. This hike is not for the timid nor those who are not in shape. We saw some frightening human behavior this past week.

We started out our counterclockwise hike up Bubb’s Creek last Thursday only to be turned around about 3 miles in by torrential rainfall and a lighting storm about noon. Since we planned for weather and wanted a layover day, the 24 hour layover in the Car Campground w a beer was an ok way to spend the night. Lesson: Do NOT let the early morning blue skies lull you into late starts. Get on the trail by 9am after you get your permit. On the bright side, the rain is a blessing. It’s predictable from about 1pm to 5pm and lasts about 3 hours. Our skies were very clear from any smoke from fires about 40 miles away in Yosemite. There was little to no dust to contend with. And be prepared for more visitors than normal. Yosemite is on fire and vacationers turned south to Kings Canyon it appears.

And let me add that I cannot imagine hiking this adventure clockwise. We loved our expanding approaches each day and the way down was painless and gradual compared to other places we’ve ended on a descent.

So we began again on Friday, July 20th. Early. 7:30am. We were greeted by a young black bear we saw the day before. She is about 75-100lbs and as cute as a button. She will do her bear thing and get out of your way; we watched her about 10-15 min each day. Once over the bridge the trail heads up and up to Sphinx Creek. This trek was much easier than anticipated as it’s short and the switchbacks are kind. We reached Sphinx campsite about 10am for a 45 min water and snack break. Not a cloud in the sky.... the way from here starts out flat and gradually ascends. As we would learn the whole trip, clouds would begin to build about 1130am. By about noon the group was tired and hot and the clouds were a blessing. There is a rattlesnake in this story I just don’t recall if it was Friday or Saturday that it slinked across the trail rattling at the forward group as they stepped by. Anyway the goal was Charlotte Creek and we arrived just in time to put up a 10x10ft tarp to stand under (there were 10 of us) while lightening struck all around us as we huddled beneath some shorter trees. The rains came like a monsoon about 1:30pm. We spent the next three hours singing and snacking while creating systems to keep our packs dry. We sat on bear vaults and took turns clearing the puddles of rain from the tarp. A small river formed under our feet it rained so hard. We watched drenched hikers all afternoon move up the trail non-plussed and others run down stating they were DONE w this weather. We felt a bit smug under the tiny tarp which we usually bring to create shade in the high country. About 430pm the rains subsided and the thunder grew more distant. Time to set up camp! We surveyed the area and noted that the rushing water had created flood patterns so we could pick good drier tent sites by reading the ground and debris deposits. Dinner was a special gyro recipe I’ve put together after years of hunting and gathering and drying veggies. Basically plain freeze-dried ground beef seasoned w oregano and mint and a dash of Lawrey’s over rice. Lots of rice. And topped w reconstituted sheep feta, tomatoes, olives, and red onions further enhanced w tzatziki sauce (yogurt, cucumbers and dill). We inhaled every bit and we were in bed by 830pm. Early start Saturday to Vidette Meadow. We agreed to wake up at 530am.

The hike/walk to the waterfall was very nice, we got there later than we wanted to, we got there at 10:30AM. It’s definitely up to you and your enjoyment but due to the heat and very little shade, I recommend getting there earlier. But the sun did feel very nice on my skin ☀️ and don’t forget your sunblock. We took the upper trail that lead to the waterfall. It took us a little over an hour to get to the waterfall then we climbed our way down to swimming hole. The waterfall was very nice but the scenery to the river was gorgeous! I could have spent forever there. One more thing, if you decide to take your pet(s) please check the weather, go as early as possible, and take a lot of water. We ran into a few very hot and dehydrated pets. Fortunately my friend was a genius and brought quite a few water bottles with her that we were able to give water away to them. Please be safe.

Epic test of will and heart but well worth the trek! Amazing views! Doable in one day but bring your headlamp and plenty of food/water.

Intense

hiking
25 days ago

Have any of you hiked the Half Dome after the Ferguson Fire?We are planning to go this weekend and hike on 29th July,but it says that the entire area is very smoky and not advisable for strenous hike

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