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Scott’s review was very useful as it allowed us to prepare ourselves for the height (I have a profound respect for heights, not fear, respect!)

We only hiked to the first lake, taking the watchtower route. We were fine until we hit the cliffs... (everyone else was fine there too, I was the one who clung to the walls and was focused on making it through.). The tough part is about 400m long with some seriously scary spots..

The way back was through the hump route.

Our children joined 20, 16 and 13. Trail was beautiful and demanding. We swam at the lake then hiked down.
Recommended for sure.

Absolutely spectacular! Probably the best day hike I’ve ever been on! This trail has it all! We hit the trailhead at 0715 and had it all to ourselves! We went out to Heather Lake via Watchtower and back using the Hump Trail. The views on Watchtower are breathtaking! If you’re scared of heights this is NOT the trail for you! The edge of the trail drops off precipitously to say the least! I jumped out of planes in the Army and still found myself hugging the wall! Watchtower is the easiest way to get out to the lakes (side-hilling). Heather Lake is amazing. Crystal clear water and the trout breaching for insects is a spectacle in itself. We opted to return to the trailhead via The Hump Trail. The elevation gain on the Hump Trail is no joke. The views from the top are amazing. Going back we must have seen 30 or more hikers. Some more prepared than others. Go early and enjoy nature!!

Not as advertised. Very difficult hike, especially in the summer months because of the rare shade found for the greater parts of the hike. The elevation change is also closer to 2,300 feet and round trip it is almost 10 miles. The falls are gorgeous at the end but with the poor air quality in the park and the fires in the nearby areas, it was difficult catching a full breath the whole time. Would not recommend for inexperienced hikers.

This was by far the most wonderful hike ive ever done. Challenging though,but will give you the best legs workout. Although i didnt get to see the emerald and pear, heather was just so beautiful. The water is perfect for a quick dip, and surprisingly is not that cold!

Perfect day hike! All the best of the sierras. My hubby and daughter stopped at heather to fish for trout and hang out, while my 11 year old son and I went ahead to pear. Lakes are all beautiful and varied but pear takes the cake. Granite surrounds above the tree line and crystal blue green water for a refreshing dip. We started hiking at 7:30 and we’re back in the car by 3:30. Steep climb most of the way, and amazing and slightly scary views from watchtower...

A real California Adventure! Personally would recommend staying two nights at Emerald and day hiking the hour to Pear Lake. Although Pear Lake does feel more isolated. Watchtower Trail is awesome as long as you're sure footed and not afraid of heights.

I completed this hike on August 4th and it was AMAZING!!! The forest in the beginning was nice and shaded and got some good views. The Watchtower is spectacular!! You walk on the ridge line and catch some epic views of the peaks across the way. Heather and Emerald Lake were beautiful but Pear Lake takes the cake. We jumped in and swam a little bit and enjoyed the sunny weather.
Side note: The trailhead said it was 6.2 to Pear Lake so in and back would be 12.4 miles.

8 days ago

Hiked it 8-4-18. It is a pretty hard hike, but the views are incredible! A steady climb all the way there but worth it. Took Us 4 hrs up an 3 down with taking alot of pics along the way. Flowers almost all the way up with plenty of deer to spot. Trail path is good, but watch ankles towards the top the rocks get rough. Next time we're spending the night to explore the lake more.

Awesome views, and the Lakes are wonderful. Very tough hike. Recommend going via watchtower and return via hump trail.

Awesome hike! Trail was a bit of a challenge. Ran into a large doe with two fawns about halfway in. Had to make room because momma wasn’t having it. None the less awesome views and the water was amazing definitely recommend!

hiking
9 days ago

After our plans to reach the Mineral King area today fell through, we decided to do a hike in the foothills instead.
Mid-June, the temperature was easily in the 90s and there isn't much shadow along the way, so be sure to carry a lot of water and wear sunscreen and a hat if you're doing this in summer. Long pants also come highly recommended, as the trail is narrow and there is a lot of undergrowth.
The hike itself is not terribly exciting for most part - you don't get much in the way of views and, especially in the summer heat, it can become a bit of a slog. The waterfalls are quite pretty though.
Overall, I would say that there are better hikes to do in Sequoia, but if you want to experience the climate of the foothills, this is not a bad hike to do.

Just did this trail a few days ago. We hit the trailhead around noon on a Wednesday and boy was it hot! I was coming off a tough few days of work and starting out in 85 degree heat was not the ideal way to do this continuously uphill climb. It was very strenuous BUT... it was worth it. The lakes themselves are spectacular. Next time, we'll spend the night somewhere close by and start up early morning - way better to actually enjoy the hike.

We camped at Emerald Lake the first night and Pear lake the 2nd night. Emerald lake actually has the better campsites, and next time we'll spend two nights at Emerald lake and just day hike up to Pear Lake.

Also, the best lake to swim in was definitely Heather Lake, the first of the lakes. It's a little smaller, and thus was warmer than both Pear and Emerald Lake. We didn't try Astor Lake (next time!)

Beware the marmots at Pear Lake! We tried to set up at one of the campsites, but there was a marmot who was clearly not happy with us being in his home. We switched campsites and later found that that same marmot had been snatching clothes left out at a neighboring campsite!

Just got back from doing this trip this weekend. It was incredible! My first backpacking trip, and I loved every minute of it. The scenery and views are abundant stunning. The wildlife is beautiful - I was yelled at by a bear! The water in Pear and Emerald Lakes was so refreshing. Emerald’s water was a bit warmer, and I jumped off my first rock! =) Would totally recommend this trail. I can’t wait to go back and bring some friends next time.

Must have permit to camp - walk up only at Lodgepole. We slept in the parking lot Thursday night, and were standing in line behind 3 others before the Visitor’s Center opened. We got the last 2/3 permits.

Must have a bear canister. Pack out everything. Leave it better than you found it.

A beautiful hike without question. You start by hiking through a pleasant forest until you reach the Watchtower where you finally get above the tree line and get some views. The trail can perhaps be a bit a bit scary if you're afraid of heights but I didn't think there were any tricky bits at all. That said, if you want to avoid hiking on trails that have sheer drops, use the "Hump Trail" to bypass the Watchtower section completely. Or you can use the Hump Trail on the way back so as not to retrace your steps completely. Mosquitoes can get pretty annoying, especially around the lakes, so make sure you carry a bug spray.
Overall, this is a lovely hike that will take a better part of a day but I probably wouldn't really consider it as hard. Definitely recommended.
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of yellow-bellied marmots and heard some grouse but never saw them.

Stair master 8000! This trail is very difficult and left me exhausted when completed. With that being said, it was one of the most rewarding hikes. Great views and amazing lookout areas. We even swam in the upper Falls river although it is not recommended and can be dangerous. Pack lots of water and be prepared for constant inclines, switchbacks and steps. The footing can be tough so be safe and conquer this difficult hike.

- the boosk

BRING LOTS OF WATER. I would recommend long pants because there was nettles and poison oak along the trail and overall my legs got itchy from rubbing against the dry brush. Trail is narrow and loose so make sure you've got a good footing. Some areas are shady and some parts have no shade at all. Was an awesome hike and the falls are beautiful! We finished our hike in 5 hours. Oh and a FYI, the trail starts in a campground. There were no signs for it.

Unrelenting and rigorous uphill switchbacks but well worth the glorious views up top. Take a break at Columbia Rock and brace yourself for a rocky path for at least a couple more hours (moderate pace). Recommend hiking poles and plenty of water, 3L minimum per person. Start early and take bug spray if you descend around sunset. Hard climb but well worth it, you’ll see!

hiking
22 days ago

Completed this trail on July 22, 2018. We were on the trail by 8:30am and completed it in approx. 4 hours. Our total time included about 25 min of rest at the falls:) Trail has some great shady portions, but quite a bit is full sun and quite hot this time of year. Trail is definitely narrow and has steep drop offs close to path. Hard to pass if you come across others. Would not recommend taking small children. I would not rate trail as hard for those who are able to move well and are sure footed. It does have a variety of terrains such as rocks (both loose rocks and secure rocks embedded into mountain), sandy, slick dirt, leafy bedding, water, and fallen trees, all of which require close attention to footing, balance and the ability to shimmy around bushes in some pretty narrow passes where the trail is washed out a bit. I would recommend long pants AND a pair of good hiking boots. There were LOTS of rattlers sending their warnings out this time of year. Did not SEE any rattlers but they were very close to the trail. We did encounter a water snake at the falls. It was laying on the rocks in the pool. Be cautious if you choose to take a dip. I highly recommend this trail and suggest you go all the way to the end and spend some time enjoying the falls! Absolutely worth the hike!

hiking
22 days ago

Very very hot, but absolutely worth it. Took a dip in a pool by the waterfall to cool down. Great. Saw a small snake in the water.
Did not need long sleves and had plenty water with me.

We did this trail from Quartz mountain trail head, on July 12 we had a bit on rain on the hike in, plus rain that night, we camped up in the rocks way above the 2nd lake to get away from the mosquitos I would rate the mosquitos as moderate, plenary of sunshine Friday, a bit of smoke on Saturday due to the fire near the entrance to Yosemite. All in all a great trip and the fly fishing was good with brook trout, browns and rainbows. By Sunday the hike back to the trail head was a bit hazy due to smoke. Day time and night time temps where great, down sleeping bag was over kill.

ENDLESS. SWITCHBACKS. I really enjoyed this hike because I don't really have any beef with switchbacks. But once you start scaling the granite face, there's no shade or cloud cover, so if you're hiking in the dead of summer (like we were) you need to make sure you have a lot of water (2-3 L/person). The view from the top was great and it was really cool to be able to get close to the fall (though, that was a bit scary to me).

backpacking
26 days ago

The trail was very strenuous but easy to follow and well worth it. The views going up the trail and at the lake were amazing, and the Brook trout fishing in the main lake was excellent.

Rigorous uphill climb no reprieve but the views are beautiful.. do not forget to climb down from top to view the falls. This trail is very rocky with lots of rocks ... so adding to the degree of difficulty to the steep gradient throughout . start the hike early as the heat in summer and even late spring gets you..Parking is an issue so get dropped off or take the early park bus and get dropped off.. It is hard hike up... Round trip back s close to 7.8 Miles not 5

hiking
27 days ago

This hike was fairly challenging for someone who is used to living at sea level and could definitely have used some more time to acclimate to the climate and heat...but it was worth it. Hiked for what felt like forever and and soon as we got our first glimpse of the falls, we knew we had to finish it and touch that water. They are beautiful! After arriving at the falls, set up a spot on the rocks to take a break, have some snacks, rest, recharge, and enjoy before beginning the journey back.

To echo other recent reviews: minimal shade, need lots of water, two liters a piece at minimum and covered legs are a must. I was ok in a tank top but for those that don’t want to risk it while brushing up against over grown plants, long sleeves are a must too.

Up up and away. Phenomenal views of the valley throughout most of the vertical hike. With a pack it was pretty grueling, but everyone made it with 3 liters of water each. Everyone was quick to refill at the top and chug once it was ready. The dip in the river was extremely rewarding. Well worth the effort for the views. A very busy trail with a lot of day hikers, but that’s the valley so nothing out of the ordinary there.

backpacking
27 days ago

Did this trail as part of a backpacking overnight to Eagle Peak. This is a rough trail to do with packs because there is so much elevation gain in a relatively short time period, but the views are beautiful!! We started on the trail at 4pm (8pm sunset in July) and it was really nice to be in the shade for most of the way. Definitely would recommend this as an afternoon hike to avoid sun on the trail.

Parking was very difficult, as can be expected for Yosemite Valley in the summer.

very difficult hike, rocks very brutal on feet, ankles, and knees! recommend hiking poles, ankles hiking boots. views are great! bring at least 2 liters of water, and snacks!

Holy incline! But holy views! Love it! Went in May and not very crowded so I enjoyed myself.

Excellent hike. It goes above the tree line so take a hat. There is wildlife so keep your eyes open. Watch out for the R.O.U.S.’s!!! (Rodents of unusual size) Lol, I’m referring to the Marmots. Large bushy tailed Beaver looking guys that live under rocks. They can become very aggressive, so be “hiker smart” and don’t leave your stuff unattended. Never had any problem with Marmots myself, but have talked with others that have.

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