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Great hike starting in Foresta. We were staying in a cabin nearby and this made for a great Saturday hike outside of the valley. Will attach a photo with our route. Ended up being about 9miles with little Nellie falls as the highlight. Saw some mule deer. No people was amazing!!

on Crystal Lake Trail

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

I am a seasoned hiker for sure, having hiked much longer and harder trails than this one, down into the Grand Canyon, up to Wheeler Peak, as well as Grinnell Glacier and other tough hikes, so this hike wasn't very hard on me as far as switchbacks were concerned. But what got me was that the trail wasn't in good of shape as I would have liked it to be, up towards the 3/4 mile point. The trail is very narrow there and right by a very steep drop off. If you weren't careful and made a wrong move or slipped on the loose sandy terrain, you could potentially fall to your death right there. Way too narrow for my taste. Not for people afraid of heights.

enjoyable trail

We planned to hike up to Crystal Lake but saw a sign up to the crest so we had to do it. It was well worth it. You can see many lakes in the area from the top. When you get toward the top you will see a trail to the left and onward to the top. A couple told us to keep going up to the crest and it loops at the top. You can see the back of half dome at the top. Beautiful hike!

The official trail dies out about 2.5 miles in, but many different use trails can be followed pretty much to the top. As a day hike, this is a pretty tough one! The summit block seems to be about a class 3, but the views are sensational. Route finding skills and a high level of fitness required, it’s a lot of elevation gain to the summit!

Did this May 15th, 2018. Be in shape for this hike because it is all up hill. That said it is very worth the climb because you get to see so much more then you expected. The old tracks they used to haul up equipment are still in use it looks like. Then the two lakes you come across are just beautiful.

Awesome hike to a beautiful lake. A must do hike- we continued up to the crest overlooking so many lakes.

Great hike with panoramic views and fall colors.

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike with spectacular views of several lakes! The crystal lake by itself has amazing reflections!

hiking
22 days ago

I hiked this trail today, 20 October 2018.

This trail and lake are gorgeous! The route is a manageable distance and elevation change, but the altitude slowed me down more than I expected. I imagine this lake being absolutely stunning on a sunny day (needs sun to be bright blue!) after a light snow. The sky today was clear and the lake was incredible. It’s not a massive lake, but definitely big enough for dogs and brave people to swim around and enjoy. The river, flowers, and icy waterfalls on the way were beautiful as well.

Trail:
The AllTrails directions will get you to the exact trailhead parking. Start your app where you have service and keep it on if you’d like to double check your progress to the lake. You’ll park along the road before the “9000 ft elevation” sign. Walk down the hill and cross the creek. You should see the trail go back up and over. The creeks were passable at this time without getting wet (as long as you can jump or rock walk, but it still isn’t that intense). Keep in mind that they’ll be a bit fuller and faster later in the day as the ice melts.
I found the trail to be easily followable. The path is well worn, and even at spots that were briefly uncertain, the area is clear enough to look on and see where you need to go. It’s a fairly straight trail anyway, you could point-and-shoot/river walk your way there easily. The hardest part was a bit of a rock slide scramble, but it was manageable. There was no ice or snow today to deal with. The only confusing part I got to was the last plateau of elevation before the last few tenths of a mile. The trail kind of abruptly ended at a step ridge, and it wasn’t obvious to me whether I was supposed to go over it or to head down the cliff side to the river. I realized that dropping down to the river was the correct way after a bit of bumbling around the ridge figuring the river will get me there anyway. The drop to the river was a bit harrowing at first, but there are plenty of rocks to make multiple points of contact on so you don’t totally eat it. From there, it was an easy walk up the river/trail to the lake.
The walk back is obviously just as simple. You can see the road once you’re halfway back. I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but it’s really really hard to get lost. There are opportunities to take a harder path over some rocks of course. My dog always found an easier way it seemed!

Overall, I thought this trail was moderate for someone in reasonable shape who can handle some climbing or at least butt scooting up and down rocks. It would’ve been easy if it weren’t for the altitude and those two spots that were a bit difficult to traverse.

Time:
I left the trailhead at 7:45 AM, about 20 minutes after sunrise. No one else was parked there, and I had about two hours to myself at the lake before heading back. I didn’t pass anyone else until about 11:15 when I was almost back to my car. At that point the lot was almost full and about 5 people were headed to the lake.
Leaving that early was nice because it was definitely bright enough to see, but the ridge shaded the trail (there are no trees) on the way up. Once I got to the lake, I had to wait about 30 minutes for the sun to hit the lake and reflect it’s gorgeous blue.

Dogs:
My hiking buddy today was my 16 month old lab mix. Apparently these trails require dogs to be on leash, but there were a few times I had to let him off so that we could safely negotiate the rock scrambles and creek crossings without messing each other up. I recommend having your pup wear a harness. It’s far easier for humans to scoot down steep ridges without forward momentum sending you over, and I had to pull on him a few times to help him brake. Of course he jumped rocks, creeks, and swam in the lake like a CHAMP. Keep this in mind if your dog is not the best on off leash recall, or if they’re not the most agile. Your dog will need supervision/coaching, especially on those steep parts I mentioned. Also, check their paws for scratches/blisters. Apply paw wax before leaving if they aren’t used to walking on rocks.

Bring:
Layers! It was in the 40s when I started hiking. About halfway, I got hot enough to shed the jacket and balaclava. It was also a tad windy at the lake.
Sunscreen. There is no shade after about 1030 AM.
Snacks. I like to bring dried fruit at high altitudes. There didn’t appear to be wildlife threats keeping people from bringing small snacks. I did not bring my dogs meat snacks though.
Water. I had a 2.5 liter camelbak that more than lasted me. My dog had some, but mostly preferred the cold, fresh river water to the lodge tap water (I don’t blame him).
Actual hiking boots. You’ll need them when avoiding slippery small rock slides while gripping onto bigger rocks that are cold or slick in the creek. Also, some rock spots are ankle breakers.

I think poles are unnecessary, if not inconvenient. I needed my hands free for the rock scrambles.

Enjoy!

backpacking
27 days ago

Love this hike, it never gets old! We’ve hiked it a total of four times for a day hike, camping and on our way to thousand island. The trail is pretty steep up until you get to Agnew lake, but after that it’s not bad at all. My youngest son had just turned 5 the first time he went and didn’t complain once! Views are amazing. I suggest starting out early in the morning since there is not very much shade. There’s a nice cold stream as you make your way around Gem lake which is perfect to fill up your water bottle with if you’re camping there or if you just need it for the hike back down.

hiking
28 days ago

Great hike, serious vertical up and out of the loop. One hour or more on the way up. Lake surrounded by granite walls.

hiking
28 days ago

Great hike, serious vertical up and out of the loop. One hour or more on the way up. Lake surrounded by granite walls.

Road marked closed at entrance as of 10/9.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice

Driven by countless times on my way to bigger hikes. So, today i stopped. Probably not the best place to go to see the Sequoias, but it has some interesting history about the road. Highlight is the hollowed out fallen tree you can climb through.

This trail is easily one of my top trails to visit again. Just did this trail yesterday and the view was amazing. The hike might be short but man it was tough, but totally worth it. Recommend 5/5 stars!

Easy to moderate hike, about 5.14 miles long. Started at Red Meadows Resort (stop 10), hiked to Rainbow falls, than to Devils postpile and returned to stop 10. The trails are maintained very very well.

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful trail. Did Lake Mary loop, went to Lake George and than continued to Cristal Lake. All in all, 10km of amazing views. Physical not to much demanding but not very easy as well.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked it in the beginning of Oct. - it was cold - so you may want to dress properly around that season.
It was challenging a bit but definitely worth it!!! a beautiful little lake, great view on the way down - highly recommended!

hiking
1 month ago

good hike, go to mammoth Crest for great views, then finish up at crystal lake for lunch

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike. The start of the trail at the campground is not well marked. Walk towards the fence line and there is a sign. Once past the campground you get great views of Silver Lake and as you climb you see the falls and the cable car tracks straight up. Agnew Lake is small. Gem Lake is beautiful and worth the extra distance. While eating lunch an afternoon storm moved in and the temperature dropped dramatically in a matter of minutes. We watched it snow at the far side of the lake as we put on our jackets and rain gear before heading back down the trail. We got to the car just as the rain started pouring down. Great fall colors in the Aspen trees.

hiking
1 month ago

Snow topped crest and fall colors, gorgeous combo. Trail is easy for the fit, moderate for us moderately fit and difficult for the unfit. Lake was blustery today but the views coming down of Horseshoe Lake, Twin Lakes, Lake George, Lake Mary and possibly Lake Maime were awesome, the vistas incredible. Trail is well marked and in great shape. If headed to Mammoth Crest the view was obstructed by clouds and 3-4 inches of snow.

one of the most amazing breathtaking hikes ive been on. short but worth every step.

Gorgeous, well maintained trail with lots to see. Beautiful views and varied terrains make this one an excellent trail. Good for all levels of hikers.

hiking
1 month ago

Great short hike with amazing views. Trail crew was working on the trail. The trail was in good shape except the part the were working on.

nature trips
1 month ago

Paved the whole way. The out is downhill and back is uphill. Not strenuous but the forest is very dry so take water. There are not as many sequoia as you will be expecting from the title Grove! A good one to do at the end of the day leaving the park if you spent too much time in your car though.

took about 1.25 hours to hike to the lake, some loose uphill but not bad at all. the lake was beautiful, some bees were around but not enough to disrupt the view. 10/10 would recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

Short hike, but with a steady uphill climb. The trail itself wasn't terribly challenging, but the higher elevation made breathing a little more of a struggle. Fantastic hike to start off your day, with great views of the lakes below and Crystal Lake did not disappoint. Most of the hikers I saw stopped at the beginning of the lake, but the trail around to the back was easy, pretty and leads to a big sandy beach which was a great stop to relax and take in the views.

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