Explore the most popular camping trails in Ansel Adams Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
3 days ago

We stayed the night at Garnet lake VIA the JMT back in 2017. when we came up on Thousand Island and we knew we had to come back someday. We will be hiking back up from Silver lake this July. Can anyone tell us where is a good safe place to park for the trip? Thanks.

backpacking
1 month ago

We actually made a loop hike from Agnew Meadows to Ediza, then stayed the next night at Minnaret Lake having hiked by Iceberg and Cecile. That off-trail section was a bit sketchy due to incline and tallus. However, the Minnarets presiding over all of those gorgeous lakes were breathtaking. Ediza L. to Minnaret L. is some of the most beautiful land in Ansel Adams Wilderness to me, and that is really saying something because there are many spectacular places there.

backpacking
2 months ago

The first time I did this hike, I was 10 years old and I never forgot it. It remains branded in my head. Now, I’m in my 50’s and its beauty hasn’t changed.

Spent a rest day here. Beautiful area and great fishing.

backpacking
5 months ago

I’ve backpacked Thousand island lakes so many times it never gets old. The views and hike in and out are amazing.

Snow the day before made for an beautiful mid-October day hike, @ 19 miles via River Trail.

I want to spread my ashes here. That's how beautiful it is.

Enjoyed every step of this hike yesterday! We were not in great shape, and we took our time. We stopped often for breaks and picture ops. We took the High Trail in to 1000 Island Lake, which was approx 9 miles to the lake. Then we returned on the River Trail which was a mile shorter. Very happy we chose this route. Going in on the High Trail gave us plenty of beautiful scenery. Coming out on the River Trail was mostly easy descending with beautiful Fall colors and views of the River flowing over the rocks. It was a total of 17.5 miles for us. We were tired, so we didn't venture around the lake too much. We got an early 7 am start and returned to our vehicle at 5 pm. We are sore the next day, it was long hike. But I would say it's worth It! I would absolutely recommend this hike. And I would recommend doing the directional loop as we did. Happy Hiking!

backpacking
7 months ago

Completely breathtaking. Start at Agnew Meadows, snack at Shadow Lake, and have lunch at Ediza. Trail was easy to follow with good signage. Took about 9 hours round trip with many stops for photos, snacks, and a long lunch. My dog absolutely loved it as well. Stream crossing to get to Ediza Lake is difficult to find. There is a log crossing before the trail crossing. I crossed with the pup across some rocks a little before the trail crossing. You can continue along a bit of a bolder scramble (there is somewhat of a trail) and take some rocks across at the lake. Worth an overnight trip which I plan to do next time.

Beautiful! Gorgeous! Amazing! I could go on, but words don't describe how picturesque this hike was. The views at the top are breathtaking. Would highly recommend this trail to everyone.

From Silver Lake, following the Rush Creek trailhead it looks deceptive on the map. Do not be fooled. This is a relentless climb to the lake. If you are back packing I strongly suggest an early start. If they have closed the south route around Agnew you have hard climbing. I recommend spending the night at the larger of Clark Lake where you can also catch dinner.

There are two brutal switchbacks before Clark. They will help make up your mind whether to push on or camp.

Thousand Island is worth the pain to get there. If you are camping you are limited to the west side. We day holed from Clark so we swam around the islands. Great fun. The downside is that because of the spectacular scenery it is well travelled. You will not be alone.

backpacking
8 months ago

I've hiked 1,000 miles of the PCT and JMT and I would rate this trail as difficult. There is a closure around Agnew lake because of dam repair so you have to take the north side detour which adds about 4 miles. It's a full day to get to 1,000 island. Enjoy!

Solo hike from Agnew Meadow to Shadow Lake and then along the Shadow Creek Trail to just below Lake Ediza. The bridge to cross the creek below Ediza was non-existent. I kept going along a secondary trail but I couldn't find a place that I felt comfortable crossing the creek. It was getting late in the afternoon so I turned back. I did talk to folks who found a place to cross. The trail above Shadow Lake is absolutely beautiful and was a great place for lunch and wading in the creek.

trail is closed as of June 30th where it turns into spooky meadow trail. The detour adds about 5 miles

This hike rivals those in Yosemite. Took us about 7 hours all said and done with a stop at Shadow for lunch and a stop at Ediza to take a dip in the lake (incredibly cold but so nice). Highly recommend. Hike isn't too difficult. The elevation gets you more than anything. Bring some mosquito repellent...i got chewed up...

Wonderful hike on a great trail with mountain and lake views. Dog friendly. Surprising did not see many other hikers in August.

Tiny wieners everywhere.

I hiked this trail in August of 2016. Definitely one of my favorite hikes! Beautiful views the whole way. I started around 6am and finished at 3. After hiking to Ediza, I trekked on to Iceberg Lake and then tried to make Cecil lake, but the trail past Iceberg became much more difficult and I was uncomfortable proceeding alone. Absolutely beautiful, and I highly recommend going on to Iceberg as I liked that one more than Ediza.

Love this trail and would like to make this an annual summer trip. As of 7/22/17 the high bridge is washed out. This weekend most hikers have traveled up the right side of the creek, scrambling on hands and feet near the creek for that last .9 to the lake. Lots of snow this weekend so travel is slow. Take the bolder rout to the right when you reach the lake. Your favorite camp sites are available and snow free. Take extra deet! Enjoy.

backpacking
10 months ago

Completed 2015. A great intro for me to solo backpacking!

I am a pretty avid hiker and surprisingly found this hike to be pretty tough. I had intended to start at 7am so I could drive in, but I got up late and ended up starting at noon. This meant I had to cut my hike short. I wanted to get to Iceberg Lake but had to stop at Ediza. I ended up returning around 7:45pm and just barely made the last shuttle out of the valley, otherwise I would have to hike another seven miles up to the resort, and then down the road into town.

The hike is truly beautiful the entire way. It starts off quite easy at Agnew Meadows, and then you're hiking downhill on the ledge of a volcanic ridge which was really cool. Then through some "kissing canopies" of trees past Olaine Lake and the base of the climb to Shadow Lake. The climb to Shadow Lake is... wow. It's entirely on rock and exposed to the sun... not incredibly fun. Once you get to the top, you're at beautiful Shadow Lake. If you know what's good for you, stop here for a while to relax. It doesn't get any easier. From here, you can continue south on JMT to Rosalie Lake after climbing a series of switchbacks, or north to Ediza Lake.

The climb from Shadow Lake was intense and quite a workout, and a little less gradual than I anticipated, but by now you're in the thick of the forest and following beautiful Shadow Creek the entire way. There are wildflowers and tons of random waterfalls throughout. Ediza Lake is breathtaking and peaceful. Again, stop here and rest. At the southern end of the lake, you can see the trail to Iceberg Lake. It goes through a meadow and looks like it leads nowhere.

On the way back I started to panic a bit because I was running out of time. I hightailed the entire way which really took a toll on my body. I was no longer seeing any hikers on the trail except for a group of Cub Scouts. I did see some backpackers setting up tents. Probably the most grueling part of the hike was the end, from the bottom of the Shadow Lake climb back to Agnew Meadows as it was entirely uphill and I was exhausted. My repellant had worn off and I didn't apply more as my goal was to get back before I missed the last shuttle. I was eaten alive at Olaine Lake by swarms of mosquitoes.

I'd like to try to get an earlier start (7am) and do the full loop from Agnew Meadows to Devils Postpile via Shadow-Ediza-Iceberg-Cecile-Minaret. I would need to take more breaks and probably start with a decent breakfast. I tend not to eat before I hike (which goes against all wisdom) because all of the activity can made me sick.

backpacking
10 months ago

Be advised, as of now 7/5/17 the latter part of the trail is covered in snow. I day hiked this trail from silver lake to Gem Lake, across Rush creek to Clark lakes up to Thousand Island lake. The scenery was amazing. I did not run into a single soul until the PCT section of the trail. The trail can be tough in certain sections due to steep elevation climb but the end result will be worth it. I would not recommend this trail for a day hike to anyone as I caught slight elevation sickness from going up and coming down too fast. Maybe I'm a little green but I trained for this for a year. If you're gonna be in the June Lake area for a hike bring a tent and bug spray and do this amazing trip in two days. My only regret was not stopping to enjoy all the scenery that God made for us to see. John Muir was right saying "Banner Peak was the noblest of all mountains". If you choose this trail, you'll always remember the sights to be seen. I can't wait to go back someday!!!

backpacking
Monday, April 24, 2017

I've done a lot of backpacking throughout the years and this hike is on top of my list for most scenic and was not that difficult to get to. Definitely highly recommended.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Can others clarify - is this hike hikeable at this time of year already? Are the trails clear?

backpacking
Monday, February 13, 2017

My wife and I hiked this loop last July and it is one my favs for sure. The Ritter Range is something to see. I mapped out this route myself and it turned out to be a good one. We were going to spend 6 nights, but we cut it short by one night as we had done all we wanted to anyway. Starting at Silver Lake, it climbs steady to Agnew Lake, then another pretty good climb from there to Gem Lake. It mellows out a bit after Gem Lake as it follows Rush creek thru the woods towards Waugh Lake A really nice stretch right there. One last little pitch to get up to Waugh Lake and then a nice walk around the north side of the lake. We made this our first nights spot. There weren't a ton of camp spots, but there are a few as you get to the west end of the lake. Pretty windy all day our first day, and that night as well. The next day we packed up and were headed for Garnet Lake as our next stop. Once on the JMT, we started our climb to Island Pass. What a great view from up there in all directions. Great photos from this spot. Then down to 1000 Island Lake. All the lakes were great. Each one with it's own character to it. The view of Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak just kept changing the further south we walked along the JMT. Then we did another little up and down stretch between 1000 Island Lake and Garnet Lake. Finding a nice spot to camp at Garnet lake was a little more difficult. I did find what looked to be a possibility on Google earth before we left home, and that's where we wound up. No shade, but it had all the other criteria. Close to water, a level spot for the tent and privacy. The next mornings reflection shots on the lake were perfect. Worth getting up early for. From Garnet we hiked along the JMT until the cutoff to Ediza Lake. That was our 3rd and 4th nights destination. Again, found my camp spot from my research on Google earth. Great spot and we enjoyed our 2 nights there. On our off day, we hiked up to Iceberg Lake, and hoped to get to Cecile as well. But the amount of snow along the south east shore of Iceberg was such that I wasn't risking a slide into the lake. We settled for that as being our furthest point on this trip. Incredible spot with the Minarets right in your face . Then back to our campsite after and I wanted to do one more jaunt. So up towards Banner and Ritter I went. My wife bowed out of this one. Another incredible spot to be standing right below these two peaks. Water pouring down everywhere from above. Had the place to myself. High country at its best. The next day we packed up and headed down Shadow creek all the way to the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. We crossed the bridge over the river and then got on the river trail north. We hiked all the way to the Clark Lakes that day. A long haul, and Agnew pass at the very end was something we hadn't planned on. Super steep and really kicked our butts. I again found our camp spot from previous searches on Google earth. Great spot with a huge view. The next morning we hiked back to our truck down a really steep trail, back past Agnew Lake on the opposite side , and then back to Silver Lake on the last 2 miles or so that we had been on before. Great loop. Another Sierra hike off the list. This area of the Ansel Adams Wilderness is a must do!!

backpacking
Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Breathtaking.

backpacking
Thursday, November 03, 2016

Best part on JMT and PCT...!

backpacking
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lakes after lakes after lakes!

Amazing views!

Beautiful trail!

backpacking
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Did an overnighter to Thousand Island Lake and back on Saturday, 17 September 2016, to Sunday, 18 September 2016. Started 12PM via the PCT High Trail at Agnew Meadows Trailhead. Arrived at campsite by 6:10PM. Little more of a brutal/long hike than I expected, but I carried most of the weight for group of two, other person was a little slower as this was a first for them backpacking. Left next day at 11AM via the River Trail. Arrived at Agnew Meadows Trailhead at 3:30PM. Significantly easier and faster hike back. You are descending from Thousand Island Lake the entire way, except for the last 1.5 mile pitch back up to Agnew Meadows, which is pretty steep. Took along a first-time backpacker who did very well but struggled the last two miles both ways. It's a long hike but worth it.

This was the first weekend after Labor Day. The shuttle was closed down for the season (stops after Labor Day), but the road to Agnew Meadows was still open (closes after October 1, after which you can hike in/ski in from Minaret Vista ranger station. I'm not sure if gate will be unlocked to drive/park at Agnew even if there is no snow. So that would add about 3 more miles to the journey both ways), so we could simply drive to and park at the Agnew Meadows Trailhead since the road was open. However, the trailhead was extremely packed, and there were no spaces to park. I somehow found a way to slip my truck into a small spot between a handicapped spot and a tree. You cannot park your car on any non-dirt/non-paved surface. Cannot park on top of any foliage. They will check this and put stickers on your wheels to mark overnight vehicles. So you can't get away with not purchasing a permit and overnight your hike (they take down your make/model/color when you pick up your permit, not sure how that works for when people get their permits night-dropped though...).

Temperatures for this weekend were about high 70s to low 80s during the day. I hiked in camo pants and t-shirt. Could have gone shorts. Temperature fell to high 30s low 40s at night. I went to sleep in shorts and shirt and woke up to put a jacket on (had a black synthetic MSS surplus sleeping bag). Other person had a 0 degree North Face Furnace bag and slept in shorts/shirt and was fine. I don't recall wind being an issue at all. Saw two does and two fawns on the High Trail hiking in. Saw another doe prancing through our campsite right as we were going to sleep towards end of dusk. Woke up and had alpine lake–filtered french-press coffee. 10/10. Altitude didn't prove to be a problem to me, but other person may have been getting too winded for normal towards the last 1.5 mile stretch on the way back. Doing this trip there and back all within 28 hours is probably not recommended for newer hikers. But that's all I could do with when I got the entry date for my permit and a normal work week.

Additional hidden costs to get to Thousand Island Lake from the Bay Area:

1) $30 fee to get through Yosemite Park ranger stations via CA-120. We left night before entry date so we passed through after-hours ranger stations, so it was free. However, if you go through in the day and pay, the pass should be good for 7 days, which should be long enough to cover you on your return route. If not, you will have to pay $30 again at the Tioga Pass ranger station. Good news is that both payments add up to $60 which qualifies you for the $60 Yosemite Annual Pass, so now you can go anywhere in Yosemite for free now and not have to pay a fee. I'm not sure how to get those two receipts exchanged for the pass, but Rangers could probably do it then and there. So keep your receipts. My trip was under 7 days, so I only paid once. However, my $30 is good towards the Yosemite $60 pass or America the Beautiful $80 pass up to a year I believe. Again, save your receipts either way.

2) Permits: 2 $5/person permit reservations plus a $6/group reservation fee totaled $16. Had to rent a bear canister for two days at $2.5/day for total of $5. Total for permit and fees for two people was $21.

3) Minaret Vista ranger station fee (to get from Mammoth to the Trailhead to park) was $10.

Wish I could have stayed longer and climbed Mt. Ritter at Thousand Island Lake on Day 2, then Day 3 hike over the pass between Thousand Island Lake and Garnet Lake and camp at Garnet, then Day 4 hike to Shadow/Ediza Lakes and camp, and Day 5 hike back. Life got in the way, but it was a great trip nonetheless. I also packed too much food, clothes, and water. I hiked in and hiked out in the same outfit, and then slept in clean dry clothes with a jacket. Didn't need anything else. Carried too much water (6L for 2 people) when I could have filtered along the way (didn't know that since I've never been). Used my Sawyer Squeeze for first time which was great. Thousand Island Lake water tasted as pure as it gets.

That's all I have. Was a good trip. Hope all that was helpful. I didn't get any of that info when I was researching.

hiking
Friday, September 23, 2016

One of the most beautiful hikes I've been on in the Mammoth area! I don't know if it was the altitude or my physical condition, but it's on the difficult side of moderate, but well worth it.

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