Explore Summer 2019 Alts - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Summer 2019 Alts Map
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backpacking
2 months ago

Ideal backpacking trip if you want to take first-timers with you! It was surprisingly cold (October 6th) but seeing the lake surrounded by fresh snow was magical.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Lakes are beautiful. It was very windy at the first, second and third lake. Great in the summer

I enjoyed the views ... but it is nowhere near 34 miles. It is closer to 20 miles. I went counterclockwise and found it moderate only because I was carrying a pack. It could easily be done as a day hike.

Three of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. We backpacked in via the glen Aulin trail which is beautiful but that last 1.5 miles to the lake is tough- seemed to take forever. Temperatures are very cold at night so if you camp bring warm clothes (we had frost on our tent on August 29). Our second day we slack packed to the two upper lakes- each more beautiful than the last - don’t miss them, although the trail is hard to find in places. TIP - remember where you entered to the lakes so you find the trail out! The dog lake trail out on day three is strenuous but beautiful- make sure you go to soda springs at the junction near the end or you will end up at the wilderness center. If you start early you can do this hike in one day but you won’t have as much time to enjoy the lakes.

backpacking
3 months ago

Great hike, trail well marked and no snow on trail over Labor Day weekend. Loved the view going on the Dog Lake Trail side. Glen Aulin Trail is good while you are in Tuolumne Meadows IMO, and it’s wooded going towards Young Lakes. At Young Lakes, best campsites appear to be on the north side and northwest side. Beautiful sunrise hitting Ragged Peak.
Ranger reported that there is often a bear at Young Lake, we did not see any.
Fantastic hike, great for a short trip :)

backpacking
3 months ago

I completed the five Camp Circuit last week at the end of the season. It was very enjoyable as the weather was fine, no mesquites, and great people.

Did this as a 3 day 2 night backpacking trek. Beautiful area with very diverse ecosystems. Even on a holiday weekend it wasn't crowded at all. The twin lakes were a bit more populated though. The ~8 miles from snag lake to cindercone to rainbow lake is largely loose sand, which is a huge bummer for hiking in general, but in particular with a back country pack. Also pretty exposed for that stretch. The rest of the trail has good shade. Saw a juvenile black bear, maybe 200 lbs about 3 miles from snag lake. It saw us and was not interested, which is great. Overall, definitely worth doing, it is a wonderful park.

just did this as a great 3 day backpacking trip! beware the assent to rainbow lake from the cinder cone is super hot this time of year with very little shade. we wished we'd gotten more water at snag.

hiking
3 months ago

Did the hike anti-clockwise as I did not plan to do this trail when I set off but decided to try it instead of doing an out and back hike to Lower Twin Lake. Found the burnt areas around Cluster lake quite eerie and didn't really enjoy that section of the hike. A little bit of ascent but overall pretty steady going.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike on 08/19/18 thru 08/21/18 via the Dog Lake Trail and returned via the Glen Aulin. It is a constant climb that can be strenuous at times. Had a little trouble getting acclimated to the altitude. Of course, the return is an easy down hill for the most part. There were 3-4 tents at the lower lake. I stayed at the middle lake and there was only one other group there. Middle Lake is loaded with brook trout, but he upper lake is an anglers paradise. Caught FIFTEEN trout there in under an hour for a total of 23 fish. I used spinner lures. Due to the near by fire, it was not crowded as expected. Plan on doing this again next year.

backpacking
4 months ago

this is a really easy day hike, but my friend and I went backpacking and spent the night near one of the lakes.
It was great that we decided to do this loop clockwise, so we hardly had any uphill climbs except for the first mile or so. after the first lake though, there's hardly any shade for the next 3-4 miles because of the fires a few years ago. it was still cool and breezy, even though the sun was beating down on us hard.
lower twin lakes was my favorite view, but we decided go a bit further and camped at upper twin lakes. we had to look for a bit to find a flat enough area to pitch the tent at, but it was good. we also heard a bear stomping around our tent at night, but he didn't bother us at all. apparently, it's very common there, especially at the upper twin lakes. so, as long as you're prepared, it's all good.
all
it was my friend's first ever backpacking trip and she slayed it. it was a great experience. highly recommended for beginners

backpacking
4 months ago

Excellent trail. We did it clockwise. The first 5-6 miles are very desolate from forest fire years ago. After Feather Lake forest is plentiful. We ended up pushing to Upper Twin Lake to camp on the East side where is was relatively flat. Lakes are shallow and great to swim in. Moderate ups and downs. Many deer but not much else for wildlife although we heard of bears a few miles away.
Moderate elevation at 6500-7000ft most of the time. Easy to get to trail head at summit lake. About 1 hour east of Redding.

It has been 20 years since I last hiked this loop and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. The northern part of the loop is a bit crispy from the fires but still gorgeous in its own way.

My wife and are Day hikers, we are in our fifties and this hike was perfect for us, went clockwise around the loop,I found the burnt area kinda interesting, had a different vibe, met some cool people from London on the short span of the PCT that we were on, we are locals so next time we will spend a night or two at one of the killer lakes that are here, I feel it's the best trail in the park.

backpacking
5 months ago

Absolutely LOVED this hike! we love hiking on vacation every year, but being from Florida means that's about the only time we are able to do it. We are not in amazing shape, but not horrible either. I will say that the hike in (via Dog Lake Trail) was pretty intense for us. We were praying for no more uphill climbing & begging for the lake to finally come into view! We still have a hard time believing that the mountain trail distance markers are right...they sure do seem like the longest miles on the face of the planet! Lol We got a pretty late start (about 1pm) so it was a bit hotter than we liked. However, majority of the time there was a nice breeze and the woods kept a nice comfortable temp. I have to say that this was one of the prettiest hikes throughout the entire trail that we have done. Some trails are all about the destination. This one was beautiful the entire time. The destination did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination! The lakes were absolutely breathtaking! I definitely recommend not setting up camp immediately when entering the area around the lake. As tired as we were, we decided to hike around the lake a bit to look for the best spot. We crossed the falling creek about 1/4 of the way around the lake and found "the perfect" hard spot just up in the trees. Nobody else camped on that side of the creek. So we were pretty much all by ourselves over there with the sound of the waterfalls on the creek to lull us to sleep at night. We also had our own flat rock on the lake to go sit out on every night and every morning. Couldn't have asked for a better more tranquil setting! Then the hike up to the 2 other upper lakes was just as if not more awe inspiring than the 1st lake! The hike out via Glen Aulin trail was a very gradual decent and very picturesque as well. We spent 3 days total...Day 1 (started super late) hiked in from 1pm - 5pm then set up camp & just enjoyed the area. Day 2 we hiked up to the upper lakes from about 8am until about 3pm. Did some fishing back at the bottom lake & just relaxed rest of the day. Day 3 we packed up and headed out about 8am and arrived at our car at 11:30am. Absolutely the most peaceful and relaxing backpacking trip we have ever done! Well worth the work!

backpacking
5 months ago

A friend and I completed the loop last week 6/21-6/23. We started out clockwise on the trail. Best idea as the elevation decreases about 1.5 Miles into the hike. We initially planned on staying at Silver Lake but chose to move on to Lower Twin Lake. Most of the way was devastated due to the 2016 Redding fires. There wasn’t any shade and so many downed trees in that area. Once you get a mile or so from LTL, the scenery starts to pick back up. This was about 7.32 Miles according to my gps tracker. We hiked over on Friday to rainbow lake and chose not to continue on to Snag lake due to once again the area was burned out. Saturday morning we had a bear in our camp rummaging through our packs (yes we did have a bear can and all things smelly away from camp). It got an ice pack and tore that apart. We hollered at it and it did leave camp. Exciting but scary too. The remainder of the hike out on Saturday was approximately 5 Miles, again according to my gps tracker. It’s a beautiful hike with two sections (about 3/4 of a mile each) that are uphill. It was my friends first time packing in and she did great. Our packs were approximately 35lbs each. I love this area and will surly be back again. Also make sure to bring bug spray and the mosquitoes were bad at times. The water wasn’t bad either once the sun hit it daily. Leeches in there so be careful.

A great hike. Most hikes are into a lake or destination and back on the same trail. This being a loop with many lakes kept you going wanting to see the next lake. We did the hike clockwise through the burn first, this kept out of the afternoon sun. Recommend hike

wow done all these trails but not linked .. sounds like a fun trip .. so many trails and beauty to enjoy here ... one the best parks in north America

great area for some long day hikes or easy backpack trips ... lassen park is a gem , some my favorite area of Cali , so diverse and unique ..

backpacking
6 months ago

Backpacked this trail 5/31-6/2, but we went to Snag Lake then came back to Rainbow and finished the loop it adds about 7 more miles, so 17 miles total but very worth it! Snag Lake was the most gorgeous lake of then all. very nice! My favorite backpacking trip so far. The area around and on Cluster Lakes are all burnt down so becareful of deadfall if you plan on camping there. I say have nothing bad to say about this trail you pass 10 different lakes and a few unnamed ones plus countless ponds, the only thing i disliked was not having a campfire, but i do understand why seeing all the brunt areas. Very gorgeous hike definitely do this one again.

Stunning hike through fields of wildflowers. Most of the hike is flat so it’s an easy stroll along the lake.

hiking
Thursday, November 09, 2017

Hardest aspect...getting to this trailhead!! It’s more of a dear trail. Yo will NOT make it in a normal car. I have AWD and was able to get within 2miles. Had to add that to the hike and it was all steep climbing to get to head.
Gorgeous views as you get up to the rocks. The expanse and depth of the gorge is stunning. Great spot for a break.
The altitude got to me on the high points. But I think the deeper snow aided in that cardio burn.
A massive storm with a winter weather advisory hit wile I was out there and man did it hit. The skies turned black and ominous. I could not make it to Granite Dome...I will be back. Lol.
You can see, it’s a scenery rich backpacking experience. Just be ready for extra miles and some Altitude issues...but I’m old...
I recommend parking at the easy to get to trailhead of Crabtree. It may be a steeper climb, but at least your car will be safe (safer) and not damaged from the “road”.

hiking
Monday, October 30, 2017

Route Description:
Park your car in the Ralston Peak Trail parking lot. We shall return via this path.
Walk on US 50 (away from South Lake Tahoe which is the downhill direction. You will pass the Pyramid Creek Trail head (You can choose to fill up the wilderness permit here).
Keep walking till you hit the Pyramid Peak - Rocky Canyon Trail trail head. There is no trail head here! Its marked as a big rock with faded white paint blotched on it. If you cross a stream then you have missed it. Check on alltrails.com on details on how to spot the trail head.
Scramble up the rocks - about 15 feet and you should be on the trail.
This trail is relatively easy to follow and its a use trail. For the first mile the stream will be on your left. After a mile the trail will cross the stream and then the stream will be on your right. The trail parallels this stream till there is no trace of it. At this point it will follow the lowest point in the topo map (valley) as it progresses upward leaving you to some boulders to traverse. There are cairns here to guide you, if need be. You will then have to scramble up the boulders to get to Pyramid Peak.
There is no trail or signs from this point. You just walk the ridge to the next two peaks - Mount Agassiz and Price Peak. Note that one side might be less sloped than the other. If I remember correctly, the right side had sheer drops, whereas the left side was more gentle. Hence, pick an easier side to traverse it.
After Price Peak, descend down to Mosquito pass which runs between Clyde Lake on the left and Lake Aloha to the right.
Next climb up Jacks Peak and walk the ridge to Dicks Peak.
From Dicks Peak there is a use trail with cairns in boulder areas to guide you to the PCT.
Take the PCT all the way till you hit the Ralston Peak trail.
Take the Ralston Peak trail all the way to the trail head and back to the car.

Note: Roughly 10 miles is off trail and Class 2/Class 3 and hence progress is much slower. Time is well spent in route finding to get on top of the peaks which involve a bit of scrambling.
There is no fee to park at the Ralston Peak trail head. A free wilderness permit is required for the day hike. You can get one at the Pacific Ranger District Ranger station in Pollock Pines. Alternatively you can fill the wilderness permits up in any major trail head. The Ralston Peak trail head is not considered major, as I did not see any place to self issue a wilderness permit. On the other hand, the Pyramid Creek trail head might have them.
Carry gloves for the rock scrambling.

backpacking
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This was an amazing trip! It's high altitude (9800 feet), so expect a few breaks on your way up if you're backpacking in. The views are completely stunning; I uploaded a few photos. The fishing is also pretty good. I caught several brook trout using a yellow rooster tail.
Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done. I ended up spending two nights in a hammock up there. The nights get below freezing in October...so wear clothes.

backpacking
Monday, October 02, 2017

We did this Trail clockwise to get through the burned area first. About a mile and a half in you start in the hiking in the burned out area and it last for about 4 miles ( the Junction with PCT). We set up camp at lower Twin Lakes. In the morning we hiked out the remainder of the trail which is very beautiful.

Monday, October 02, 2017

It was great for my first backpacking trip, we stayed 2 nights, one at lower twin lake and then silver lake. Good weather and a well maintained trail.

backpacking
Sunday, September 17, 2017

My wife and I just did this hike over the labor day weekend 2017. We parked and started hiking from the Dog Lake parking area though. Plenty of bear boxes at that car park too. We did this the opposite way than what this review spells out. And in my opinion, going up Rafferty Creek and down into the Lyell Fork is the way to go. The first 3/4 of a mile or so up Rafferty is the only section that involves any real climbing. Beyond that, it is the nicest gradual ascending trail I've been on in a while. Literally almost flat. And from what I had read about going up out of the Lyell Fork prior, was absolutely correct. That route is steep, for a long ways!!! Was glad we were going down that, not up. So the hike up Rafferty Creek was right at 7 miles to the backpackers campground at Vogelsang. It took us 5 hours but we were in no hurry. The scenery doesn't really unfold until you can start to see Fletcher and Vogelsang peaks. Once you get to Tuolumne pass, you are within a mile of the High Sierra camp. We lucked out with a cloudy hiking day, so that was a bonus. We camped out for 2 nights and did day hikes around the area. Up to Vogelsang Pass one day and up to Townsley lake the next. We were going to spend one more night, but smoke from the fires down by Glacier point changed direction, and changed our plans too. We left in the middle of the afternoon for the PCT along the Lyell Fork. A little disappointed, but we had done all we wanted to do anyway, and had 2 really nice days up there. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the scenery along the stretch from Vogelsang down to the Lyell Fork due to all the smoke. Oh well. We set up camp that evening right before it got dark at the junction of the PCT and the trail to Vogelsang. Pretty tired after an unexpected 6.3 mile hike. And we had already hiked over 4 miles earlier that day up by Townsley Lake. Hiked out the next morning back to Tuolumne meadow a day early but no regrets. This is a great loop, and a fairly easy one going the direction we did. One cool surprise we weren't expecting, was that you can see Half Dome from the trail up to Vogelsang Pass, right before Vogelsang lake. Clouds Rest is visible to the right too. Pretty awesome!! If you haven't been up here, put it on the list!!

backpacking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

I did this loop in the opposite direction (starting at Young Lakes via Dog Lake and finishing via Glen Aulin). With a pack, the initial ascent is steep and tough, but it's worth it for the views at Young Lakes. The lowest of the lakes makes for stunning sunrises/sunsets and there's good campsites on the north side of the lake (and good water in the creek that flows down from the lake). Also well worth a hike to the highest lake, which is very pretty (the middle lake is comparatively unremarkable).

backpacking
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I may be a bit biased as this trip was my first time in Yosemite and I was completely awe struck by the beauty all around me. But for my first solo backpacking trip I couldn't have picked a better loop. The meadows and alpine forests are breathtaking and the lakes themselves are gorgeous. I'd highly recommend making the scramble up the waterfall to Upper Young Lake, one of the best sunsets I have ever seen!

Very nice hike. Love the change in terrain and scenery. First it's the lakes from the "Cluster lakes". Then enter the devastated area and then suddenly it opens up with Cindercone in sight and the trail gets really sandy. Cindercone is a fun hike up and then to it's bottom.
On the return leg after corral meadow and heading back towards Summit lake, there are quite some streams that need crossing. The first one is a big tree that you walk over to cross. There was one place where the stream is fast and one had to wade through its icy cold water! I walked barefoot the last 2 miles and it felt like a good foot massage!

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