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Do the whole loop around the lake. The view from the opposite side includes Mt. Lassen.

hiking
19 days ago

Fabulous hike, about 5 hours round trip. Easiest route up Leavitt on SE flank, just north of the snowfield (don't cross it).

Fun hike with a cool late at the end. Hike is steep like everyone says but it's not terrible. The "lakes" are just one lake right now as the water is high and connects the two little lakes. We took a break and swam for an hour, great way to cool off. Right before the lake don't miss all the green grass where the stream comes right out of the ground and goes all the way down past the parking lot, very cool to see right where it starts, especially since you can see right where it comes out of the ground!

22 days ago

great hike, a few snow fields to cross but nothing serious. very beautiful alpine environment

This was an awesome hike and the views are indescribable. I had not been backpacking in a few years and most of my trips have been in the Smoky Mountains so I was not completely prepared for this grueling hike in the dry heat. We stopped at Laurel Lake and decided to make this our home as I was too exhausted to go further but it was the perfect site. We stayed on the Southside and had the camp completely to ourselves. We didn’t see any bears but heard about a camper at Vernon Lake who had his backpack raided that previous night. We did have a big buck walk right into our camp only about 15 feet away like he owned the place. I definitely recommend this trip but maybe in a cooler part on the year. We were there the last few days of June.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this two weeks ago. Snow patches along the way which made it more difficult without poles! Long hike but the views more than made up for it. Lots of pct folks along the way too.

Easy for kids. Crosses a beautiful creek.

hiking
1 month ago

Great Route with all the climbing up front. A bit windy up top and lots of smoke from Northern California fires. Lost the trail a few times on the way up and definitely lost it on the way down as it ended at a rocky area, Just needed to climb down the rocks to see the trail start up again. Saw one Marmot on the way down and only 3 humans near the Pass parking lot.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Tried today starting from the Elmwood Park edge. The trail is flooded. Giving 4 starts because the half mile I was able to ride are very promising.

hiking
1 month ago

All day hike with amazing views the whole way up. At the summit it is filled with butterflies in late June. Can see all the way to Yosemite. 360 views over the whole mountain range.

Nice hike from the road to the hot springs. Some great photos can be taken here. Get there early as parking is really limited and the hordes of people can make the trail unbearable.

Great section of the park that I've never had a chance to explore before. We just went to Laurel Lake and back since it was so flipping hot. Never hiking in 95+ degree weather again :)

I thought this lake was awesome. The brown green mud with red clay blue sky and green trees. Mix that together, sure makes some great pictures

Rancheria Falls was our destination from the dam. It was a beautiful trail had we not had extreme heat. We found various mileage resources that differed. Fitbit tracked this as 15 miles. It took much longer than anticipated but the falls were beautiful. Disappointed that there were no points of entry to water at any of the fall areas as it was needed in the heat. Mark this as a long difficult trail in summer.

Awesome trail! We parked our car in the backpacker parking and then took the El Captain shuttle as close to the trailhead as we could get. This added about 5 extra miles to our first day, but with our route it was the best option. We combined the Pohono with the Panorama Trail and ended with the John Muir taking us back to the valley. If you don‘t mind the pain and want to do some backpacking then this route was perfect for us. The first day going nonstop uphill is killer, but luckily there are some nice water crossings where you can fill up your filter and splash your face. We really enjoyed Yosemite in early June and were fortunate to see beautiful views without a myriad of other people.

hiking
1 month ago

Wow, steep trail. This was only 1 mile one way and I thought it would be easy. So, did this right after climbing Brokeoff, so, this was a 9 mile day for us. Did it though and had a good time, but, it's a steep climb. There are parts where there's still snow on the ground and was slippery (I did this at 4PM in late June). There's also some rocks and pebbles close to the end of the trail and that was slippery. View of the lake is beautiful.

awesome area , will be accessible again soon ..

hiking
2 months ago

Short, but Steep hike and the altitude defiantly adds to the challenge. We hiked in Mid-June and still had snow to contend with. The lake was beautiful as it had not completely thawed.

backpacking
2 months ago

I did this trail clockwise with a friend over 4 nights, 3 days plus we added our first night at Laurel Lake. Being pretty fit ourselves, we found this to be a challenging trip and very sunny/warm. Sometimes water stops are not frequent so be sure to carry plenty of water! Several boggy spots where you will get quite muddy/dirty: headed into Laurel area, headed up after Vernon Lake, Tiltill area. Heading into Laurel area you will also have to cross a river to about the knees. Bear tracks and sightings, be very careful and aware of your surroundings at all times! Many downed trees and overgrown paths so be sure to have GPS or maps to avoid getting lost. Overall very beautiful and a wide array of scenery as you hike along.

hiking
2 months ago

Dogs ARE NOT allowed on this trail-nor in Lassen Park on ANY trail. So don’t plan on bringing the four legged critters on this on. A short hike, definitely steep but wouldn’t rate it as hard!

This was a nice hike - wanted to do the Devils Kitchen hike, which is off of the same trailhead and makes for a nicer longer hike. Unfortunately we encountered a young brown bear on the trail to Devils Kitchen so just turned around and did this one. Didn’t see any more bears but keep your eyes up and alert - they are active and there aren’t any signs or warnings (we left one on the trailhead though).

hiking
2 months ago

2.3 miles to the summit - pretty steep at the end, take your time. Stunning views, perfect place for lunch at the summit in the little rock circle. Tons of snow fields on the way up - thought we were done with that, but tons of snow after as well, except not flat and a bit treacherous. Thankfully others had gone before us and left footprints. We got pretty severely off trail due to the amount of snow - would’ve ranked it a 5 if it weren’t for the snow and ice and we’d been able to stay on trail. Seriously beautiful though, not one to miss!

Did this as an out and back long day hike. Great falls and views along the way. On warm/hot days be prepared for many exposed areas and bring lots of water. Completely worth the effort.

We did this trip over Memorial Day weekend so we saw a good deal of people. Overall, this was a nice 2 night, 3 day backpacking trip. You get to see quite a few different landscapes and get a pretty good workout overall. Day 1 and 2 is about 10 miles with day 3 around 6.5. There's some good climbs but overall, not to bad. Be prepared for some bugs in TilTill and possibly flooding in the valley. Be on the look out for bears too in the Beehive area. Both locations have sites with fire rings. I'd recommend this for anyone looking for a fun, moderate 3 day backpacking trip. Remember Leave No Trace!

Pretty easy hike to get to, a slight incline as your heading to the lake but was a cool sight to see

First hike...amazing views ...well worth the trip

One of our favorites because of the changing terrain and views. We went in the spring and hiked through snow which made the whole hike much more fun! Definitely hike around the lake to see the views of Lassen from the other side. This is an excellent family hike!

It rained for a few days. So the trails are flooded!! I tried to maneuver around it, no luck. I also was getting eatten alive out there!. ill be back when it clears up.

flooded

clockwise May 19 2018, 3 days 2 nights. Camped at Vernon lake and Rancheria (considered Tiltill but limited sites and unlimited mosquitoes).

In the early season, this is as good as any Yosemite backcountry hike (lakes, waterfalls, views, variety of ecosystems and vegetation)
+ and
no crowding (walked up for permit, saw fewer than 10 people when away from lower trail along the reservoir).

In later season I can imagine the dust and heat and aridity might change the balance and drop a star.

It may distract from your enjoyment if you think about the history of Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Consider the info from online and national park service as well as from San Francisco department of water that is on the placards.

Prep suggestions:
* we liked clockwise, not only to get elevation out of the way early, but facing into nice view coming back down to Hetch Hetchy :
* be ready for wearying uphill and downhill out of and then back in to Hetch Hetchy Valley
* check if you will need to wade thru Tiltill Valley (water above boot line and no way around, for approx 20 yards each side of the valley). Soft soil and grass meant barefoot was fine for most of our group.
* fair amount of bogs and rock hopping and downed trees changed our time calculus.

Highlights:
* great campsites + no fire restriction
* water at Wapama falls is enough to get wet walking across the bridge but not enough to close the trail
* wildflowers!! (So so many and so many species, especially at lower elevations)
* Tiltill Valley = spectacular in a peaceful way, well worth seeing (think baby Yosemite or tiny pre flood Hetch Hetchy)
* Vernon lake, especially from the ridge above the lake (toward Tiltill/Rancheria)

Note on mileage: Trails illustrated is 25, not counting unavoidable .5 each way from parking to the dam and variable to get from junction to actual camping at Vernon (.3 each way, but could be more). My gps said 27.5. I would use 25+ for planning assumption, not the 23 from AllTrails (sorry guys!)
Final note that the backcountry office says 28 miles, but I believe that is the trails illustrated 25 plus 3 miles optional extra around laurel lake.

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