Explore the most popular wildlife 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
2 days ago

Gorgeous views and relentless climbing to reach the high Sierra backcountry, but absolutely worth the work. Parking is safe at the Rush Creek Trailhead near Silver Lake. Did this as a four day thru-hike to Tuolumne Meadows in June 2018, using the JMT/PCT over Donohue Pass. This was the most beautiful and committing backpack trip I've done, and is a must-do. Arrange for a ride back from T Meadows via YART, a private shuttle service or hitch a ride. This is a friendly area of California.

Pat Ribotto - I'm a little confused on the ANYO Permit request for overnighting on the Loop. Did you get permits for all the areas your traveled on this Loop or was just one needed that included all areas on the loop.

Breathtaking spot!
Awesome hike!
Highly recommend !!

backpacking
1 month 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
3 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.

backpacking
4 months ago

I backpacked through this trail a few years back before it was on alltrails. I was hoping to keep traffic down on it, so I never added it. Now that it IS on alltrails I guess Ill give my opinion. This is my all time favorite trail for a weekend trip! its a pretty good climb up to Lower Sardine lake, but well worth it. There are some beautiful water falls on the way up and the fishing at lower sardine was awesome. We caught 4 fish (brookies)in a matter of 15 mins. We camped at Lower Sardine the first night, there is a good spot at the North end of,the lake. I recommend climbing up to Upper Sardine and checking out the view from up there. We were getting picked up in Yosemite, so we continued over to Parker Pass and camped a second night over there. The light blue waters in the surrounding ponds were really cool.

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

backpacking
6 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.

One star because you suck at the internet?

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!

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
9 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!

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

Tiny wieners everywhere.

backpacking
10 months ago

Where do I get a permit for the trail? Tried looking on Recreation.gov and can't find it. Thank you.

hiking
10 months ago

The Trailhead is from Walker Lake, you need to drive to the Walker Lake campground along Forrest Road 1S23. This road is a dirt road in reasonable condition, although when we went there was some residual storm damage from the winter, but our Toyota mini-van did manage the drive and by the time we left they had filled in the worst divets.

There is a nice campground at the end of the road, it will be obvious when you get there. A pit toilet is there and nice small campground if you want to spend the night before you set off. You start walking through the campground and within 50 feet on your right the trailhead takes you up immediately a small hill from which you can look down to Walker lake. You immediately start down a steep incline until you reach the bottom along the shore of Walker Lake. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.

The hike up to Lower Sardine Lake takes you every upwards with nice switchbacks, but this trail is not heavily used and parts are not well maintained. Small areas are washed out, fallen trees along trail and areas of significant overgrowth of brush. You will have 4 stream crossings and this year with the historical rains a few will challenge your balance with a heavy pack. Lots of wild flowers along the trail and the pleasant scents of wild oregano liven the senses. We did not scout any significant campsites at lower Sardine lake and went on to Upper Sardine. This is the most difficult part of the trail. Ice and Snow cover some of the most steep sections of trail and there is lots of scree and loose rocks to navigate to get up to Upper Sardine lake. This small section after already going up 2000 feet taxed us greatly.
At Upper Sardine Lake there are actually two lakes, plenty of quality campsites can be found, but the best are at the second of the two lakes which is actually Upper Sardine Lake. Great views of Mono Lake are a treat from the ridges on the east side of Upper Sardine lake (which is where the good campsites are). Upper Sardine has great quality fresh water that is constantly being fed from streams above.

We dropped our packs on day two and made the easy hike to Mono Pass and into Yosemite. This part of the trail is easy and beautiful. We then hiked to Parker Pass at 11,000 feet.

The hike out of Bloody Canyon was a real grind due to the areas of iced trail and attempting to find safe routes down the steepest, rockiest parts of the trail. As others have indicated the hike back up to the Walker Lake Campground from Walker Lake is a real work-out. It is a nice trail, but very few switchbacks and just straight back up to the campsite, it is a great cardiac stress test with a full pack.
Enjoy

backpacking
10 months ago

We took this trail and continued from Ediza to Thousand Island Lake for a 3 day backpacking trip and it was nothing short of incredible.

For future hikers to Ediza Lake: beware, the crossing over Shadow Creek just before you reach the lake is very dangerous right now due to high water and a fast current. Do not attempt to cross. Keep the creek on your left and follow to the north side of the lake, you will have cross the cliff scramble to reach Ediza.

Simply amazing. A must do. Pictures don't do these Lakes justice. All Trails doesn't have a listing for this loop including Thousand Island Lake, which adds a lot to the experience - both due to adding Thousand Island and to be able to come back along the PCT with amazing views of the Minarets. Did it in a day (11 hours total with a couple rests), but it's probably more enjoyable to camp and savor it a little longer. As of 7/29 there are minor slick snow patches to deal with in several places, particularly on the descent into Garnet, and the river crossing is out below Ediza which means you have to bend to the right and do some minor rock scrambling to reach it. Above Ediza looked like micro spikes were probably needed if you wanted to get to Iceberg and Cecile but I didn't take a close look. Mosquitoes were very present all along Shadow Creek but Garnet and Thousand Island were relatively bug free.

backpacking
11 months ago

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

backpacking
11 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
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This hike was nothing short of amazing. I've done a number of hikes in Yosemite / Tuolumne and other national parks in the area - and this rivals them all. Views are incredible - plan to make some stops to take in the lakes along the way, plenty of fresh water to filter if need be. I would caution anyone attempting to make the jump from the River trail to the John Muir Trail to keep a really really keen eye out for the left turn. We walked past it before realizing we had missed it. Also, when you get close to Garnet Lake, you kind of lose the trail - we found the rock scramble up a small valley shown in the GPS track here, but the trails are faint and a number of them lead in many different directions (having the GPS definitely helped!).

This would be a great day hike or weekend backpacking trip. There is VERY limited parking in the lots at Agnew Meadows. And we had no issues with bugs, I suppose because at night it had already started getting below freezing (I've heard others have had a terrible time with bugs here).

backpacking
Friday, September 02, 2016

Great hike and amazing views. I've wanted to come here for quite sometime.

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