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Pretty crowded hike but beautiful views. Got to the top in about 2 hours. Bring lots of water, even in November it got really hot.

hiking
18 hours ago

Great short hike! There’s still some ice closer to the top so spikes are recommended. Spouting Rock was great little spur from the main trail but well worth it.

A spectacular 8.5 mile loop trail, generally well shaded, around an alpine lake. Parking is available on Mormon Emigrant Trail for a $5 self-pay day use fee. If you park inside the park (entry is just east of the cut off for Emigrant Trail), the day use fee is $13, but you can get a park / trail map at the entry station. The trail is decently marked at most places. A couple parts of the loop, especially down by the dam, force you onto roads where you’re competing with cars. Lake levels are down a bit, which lets you trim a mile or so off of the full distance at the upstream end of the lake if you stray from the trail a bit and brave some mud flats. We’ll be back: this one’s going on the regular rotation.

I did this with two friends on October 26, 2018. We are all in our mid thirties. It was a bluebird day with not a cloud in the sky, and I think it was probably averaged around 40-45 degrees for the entire day. The summit was above freezing for sure when we summited at noon.

Timing:
We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Lone Pine the night before and the night after the hike. We got on the trail at 3 a.m. and summited right around noon. We started our decent at 1 p.m. and got back to the trailhead at 8 p.m. So that’s 9 hours up and 7 hours down.

Dealing with Altitude:
I live in Salt Lake City, so I have access to some elevation and did a bunch of training hikes to 11,000 feet on the weekends to get used to the altitude. The two other guys live at sea level but did their best to hike as much as they could before our attempt. We all ended up getting prescriptions for acetazolamide and starting cycling on that and 400-600 milligrams of ibuprofen every six hours starting about 12 hours before we started out. For two of us, we really had no symptoms of altitude sickness beyond very mild headaches at the top. The other guy got a pretty decent headache that subsided during our decent.

Food:
I think we all ate much less food than I thought we would. I ate two sleeves of Clif Bar Shot Bloks and took a caffeine pill on the way up (which might have contributed to an upset stomach). And I also ate 4-5 Clif Bars, some beef jerky, a pretty good-sized bag of gummy bears, and some nuts. I brought I peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I never even ate, but the other two guys ate their PB & J at the summit.

Water:
I brought four liters of liquid with me. Three liters of water and one liter of Gatorade. My doctor told me to drink a sports drink with the acetazolamide. I ended up drinking 2 liters of the water and the Gatorade and gave the rest of the water to my hiking buddies on the way down. We actually got back to the parking lot with nothing to drink between us all, which is probably not the smartest play. I did bring a filter with me though just in case things got real out there.

Gear:
We all used adjustable hiking poles. We have backup batteries for our headlamps since a good amount of the hike was in the dark. Sun lotion. I had a wide-brimmed hat for the sun. I had four layers on the top and three on my legs and was overdressed for most of the day. I was prepared for the day to be 10 degrees colder than it was. We all had microspikes, but I think I was the only one who used them.

Overall:
The 99 switchbacks might get you down, but once you top out after those, you are pretty golden. That where the trail gets super interesting and the views are ridiculous. The only thing I might do different if I did this again was to try to move a bit faster to get down before dark since spirits were running low for the last couple miles of the decent. Reach out to me if you have any questions about the hike. I’d be happy to talk about it.

Awesome hike, definitely strenuous going up some of the steep areas. But it was worth it going up to Nevada Falls. Took the John Muir trail on the way down, much easier on the knees. Careful, There were some icy patches at the top of that trail. Took us 4 hours to hike, we covered about 8 miles.

If you can break this up into two days do it. We day hiked it, left at 2am and back by 6pm. Super long day. Camped at Alabama Hills on the way out.

So, yeah, this hike is brutal if you are even remotely out of shape. Even my friend who is in shape struggled. But the view is SO WORTH IT. Don’t give up. I’m a beginning hiker who was rather sedentary up until a couple weeks ago when I moved here to Colorado, and I made it up to the top with my husband and friend in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Took just a touch over an hour to get back down. This time of year is gorgeous because there’s just the right amount is snow and ice. Bring your ice cleats or you will be sorry after bridge 4.

I've completed this a few times!!! I love it, beautiful views and decent hike, despite the elevation change.

Gorgeous views at the end and at Clouds Rest. Went on a Wed in November and only saw 5 people.

Took less than 7 hours excluding lunch. I’m fit but not in hiking at altitude shape.
-4 hours up and i took lots of mini breaks.
-2.5 hours down without stopping.

Decent AT&T reception at a couple of spots on the way. Solid reception at Clouds Rest.

hiking
3 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 :)

as of today no snow. great views. took 5 hrs and 45 minutes round trip. highly recommend the hike

love this historically significant trail. Learned a lot about Jack London, a prolific writer who became a sustainable farmer and this was his estate.

backpacking
5 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.

Very nice well marked trail. Pretty much all uphill on-way but nothing too hard. Very pleasant scenery. Would be awesome around october because of all the aspen trees. Although I hiked it, it would be a nice beginner MTB trail. Some rocks at the beginning you could walk but a good trail without death cliffs. :)

Not much to see on the way there...nothing spectacular BUT when you get to Cloud's Rest, it's like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Views are amazing. We had lunch at the top. It was so nice.

hiking
5 days ago

We did the hike in the afternoon on 11/10. Highly recommend wearing spiked boots. It definitely got slick after the 3rd bridge. The trek back was even slippery, with all of us wiping out at least once.

It was a great hike. We thought is was more like 9 miles. nice and shady. grant views of cable lake and emigrant lake was awesome. had a lunch at lake then headed back. we felt it was moderate skill.

We walked this trail, including Bear Gulch Cave/Reservoir trails and it totalled 18.5kms. A beautiful day out. It took 6 hrs but we stopped for 30 minutes for lunch and 15 minutes watching Condors and several minutes chatting, so 5 hrs walking time say. This park is so different after Yosemite and Sequoia but still beautiful! We drank 2 litres each but it was November and 22C as a high. The tight narrow part was no problem for my wife, who hates steep drop offs. A very good trail with cut steps and hand rails.
Highly recommend.

One for the bucket list.

Beautiful trail but as previous reviewer mentioned, at some point near the end, the foot path in the snow deviates from the actual trail. I had a GPS with me so was able to figure this out (coupled with clues based on the trail just not seeming right). We never actually made it to the lakes but the hike was still beautiful. I would say if you don’t have a GPS, be careful as just following the footprints in the snow isn’t actually the trail & gets a bit sketchy.

Enjoyed this trail yesterday, 11/11/18. Completed lower to upper falls. Easy hike. Weather was chilly but no freezes or snow yet. Falls were still abundant.

Awesome! Still had water at both Vernal and Nevada Falls. We took the entire route listed but didn’t take the “shortcuts” on the recorded map (short stairs to curb the corners on the switchbacks) and our route total walking from the Half Dome Campgrounds was over 10 miles! The stairs at Vernal Falls were tough but the stairs to the top of Nevada were tougher. Single ledge “more natural stairs” were definitely more unnerving than the Vernal Falls portion. Total flights of stairs recorded were 180! What a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

Great hike. I recommend starting around 8 to beat most of the crowds. We went on Nov 11 and it was COLD in the morning so bring layers. This hike is not challenging if you are in shape but there are a lot of stairs around the two falls which can make it difficult.

hiking
6 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.

Beautiful views! We hiked it yesterday and the hike to get up there is a little rough but so worth it! It gets pretty icey so be sure to wear proper shoes.

Enjoyed this hike. Beautiful fall leaves this time of year!

Do not take children or dogs on this trail. Our dog had one mis-step on the narrow trail and slid and then tumbled into a ravine. He fell so far that we couldn't see him, and we thought he had been killed for sure. We got him out and were unbelievably lucky that he could walk himself back to the trailhead (and that we didn't get injured rescuing him). I have no proof, but I agree with other posters that this trail seemed longer than 7.3 miles.

Good. Some parts were super easy, a few right before Nevada falls were steep and technical for the average person.

enjoyed this climb a lot! An plan on doing it again soon for better time now that I know the trail. pretty well beaten path, and when I went there was a good bit of water on the trail, early August, but totally with it 12hr up an down ... I can get that into the single digits though ;)

This was my first hike when I moved to Oregon in 2016. I hiked one week before the fire. I will always cherish this trail as my favorite.

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