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

hiking
12 days ago

11/2/19...Good walk in the forest. Trail views of Crowley Lake, mammoth, and Owens valley. Uphill all the way in but mild ascent w spacious, easy to follow trail. More like a 5 plus mile trail. Pretty, Peaceful lake, w/ rocks for sitting...only one stream at the start of the trail.

fishing
rocky
16 days ago

Very good place for fishing caught some natural brook trout

hiking
rocky
17 days ago

hiking
snow
17 days ago

Awesome trail. One river crossing was too icy and didn’t want my dog getting too cold so decided to turn around.

hiking
rocky
18 days ago

What a beautiful hike! Got to the trailhead at 12pm and took the north fork trail up. It is all mostly uphill but I thought it was a nice, steady incline. We did stop quite a few times to drink water and rest. The views going up get better and better and was worth the uphill trek. The fall colors were amazing. Around 2pm we reached the first lake and had lunch up on the rocks looking below. Absolutely stunning. We originally didn’t think we’d make it much further than that but decided we had to see lakes 2 and 3. So happy we did because lake 2 is incredible! 3 didn’t excite me as much as 2 but it wasn’t terribly far away so thought why not. After lake 3 we headed back down around 3pm. Hiking down we saw some deer near the steam and when the sun started to set it did get quite chilly! We got confused at the end- we were not sure which way the parking lot was based on the signs but if you just follow the stream you’ll get there! Reached the car at 5:30pm. Loved this hike better than Yosemite because there was way less people. Would love to camp on the mountain and see the other lakes..

This is a well marked out & back trail with lots of great scenery. The first couple of miles was under cover & the rest exposed. It was worth it to go off trail a short distance to Arrowhead lake. Lots of fish in the lake if you’re into that. I walked along the lake and then followed the stream up and back to the trail. It was a bit steep & it would have been easier to go back the way I came. no regrets. The final destination Duck lake/Pika Lake was worth the hike & would be a great place to camp. I ate lunch, enjoyed the scenery, & quiet for a bit before heading back.

After hearing so much about it, I finally got to hike this trail Saturday October 26, 2019. It’s beautiful! The beginning portion is uphill but slow and steady does it. From there it’s gentle ups and downs and flat parts. There are lots of pretty lakes along the way but also pretty meadows and beautiful Mountain views. We made it to Box lake before turning around since it would soon be sunset. Highly recommend this hike.

10/10 recommend. Beautiful the entire way. The second lake is better than I expected. Good incline but very well maintained easy trail. No frozen rivers at this date 10/26/19. Took a dip it was freezing but warm out 6 miles minimum more like 7 if you want to walk around Blue

I can't say that I didn't enjoy this hike but I regretfully have to say I didn't reach Lake Mildred. It is definitely hard after the first stream crossing. The trail gets really hard to follow. After another 3 or 4 crossings, I completely lost the trail. It was getting late and I decided to turn around. I did enjoy the scenery. The canyon wall colors are unbelievable. I love the sound of the rushing water of the stream. Loved the almost 10 miles I did, but disappointed that I didn't make the lake. an earlier than 11am start would have helped.

hiking
20 days ago

Hiked as an out and back. Perfect weather in late October (though I surmise it was unseasonably warm) and the aspens were golden. A pleasant trail that is well cut, easy to follow, with beautiful views.

Small amount of ice on trail prior to 10 am. Beautiful day, amazing views of Sabrina and Blue lakes. I would rate this trail on the high side of intermediate due to the rocky trail and the elevation gain.

hiking
22 days ago

My friends and I backpacked this trail 24Oct-26Oct and camped at lake 3 both nights. Of lakes 1-3, lake 1 was the most impressive. You climb uphill for 5.5 miles the entire way so be sure to train for incline and high elevation. Most of my group felt light headed and struggled to breathe if we hiked too quickly. During the hike to the lakes, there's a ton of creeks/streams to refill water from, however, after passing the trail head(Lakes 1-7, black lake) there's no running water unless you hike half a mile, uphill towards lake 4 so plan accordingly! My friends and I attempted to hike to the glacier but didn't make it since we started really late (12 pm hehh) but the hike itself is still really pretty. It was high 50s/low 60s during the day time and dropped down to high 20s at night. We went when there was no moon so the stars are BEAUTIFUL - great for astrophotography! It took us about 7 hours to hike to lake 3 with lots of breaks and 30 lbs of gear.

We went on a two night three day backpacking trip this past weekend. The trail was all up hill but SO amazing. Tons of water all around , beautiful lakes, a cool meadow(Sam Mack) great weather and very little people. So much to see, can’t wait to go back .

backpacking
23 days ago

We camped at 8000 ft (at Four Jeffrey campground) Friday night, and then backpacked to Long Lake on Saturday... the altitude was kicking our butts! It was sunny & 50 degrees during the day and just around freezing at night, with NO BUGS, so this is probably the perfect time to come here. The gusts of wind got a little intense on Saturday, but died down slightly in the evening. Sunday we hiked to Bishop Pass without our packs, and it was a lovely, only moderately hard hike (after sleeping at 10,750’ the altitude was still a challenge, but not too bad). The view of the lakes towards the top of the pass is well worth the effort. We didn’t see the deer graveyard until the way down, which was a cool surprise (until I read about it later and got sad). We originally wanted to backpack Big Pine Lakes Oct 19-20, but the permits were all gone by 3pm the day before. Really glad that we did this trail instead, it's just as beautiful with a lot less people!

This trail is gorgeous and you hike right along about 5 alpine lakes. Once you’re about 4 miles in you’ll see the off trail to reach Gem Lakes which is stunning and sits right up against a rock wall with snow pack. This allows the color of the water to be a pristine teal blue. If you stay on the main trail you can hike up to Morgan Pass which consists of a few switchbacks gaining elevation quick. Highly recommend!!!! Can’t beat the scenery.

Excellent route! The well graded trail from Onion Valley campground to Kearsarge pass makes for easy waking (or running), and the views and incomparable. The descent to Kearsarge lakes doesn’t add that much more distance, and makes for a perfect lunch/nap spot to explore before heading back. The descent back from the pass is an easy downhill run. Perfect high Sierra day trip!

Hiked this trail 10/19 and fall colors were in full bloom. Very well maintained and groomed trail. Started hiking at 7:15AM and it was 32 degrees. Made it to 1st lake in less than 3 hrs. Hiked to lakes 1-5 and returned the same way we came i.e. not finishing the loop to see black lake. This added a bit to mileage but it was worth seeing the lakes again on our return. All in all this hike took us 9.5 hours to complete 16 miles with multiple breaks to enjoy the scenery.

hiking
24 days ago

Did this trail Oct 22, 2019.. Beautiful trail with plenty of shade. We only had one day so we felt the uphill since didn't have time to acclimatize. We got to the lake in an hour an a half which surprised us. We think we also got to second Sherwin lake. We came the right day, since a girl told us it had been windy previous days. About 68 and sunny.

hiking
24 days ago

Did this trail Oct 22, 2019.. Beautiful trail with plenty of shade. We only had one day so we felt the uphill since didn't have time to acclimatize. We got to the lake in an hour an a half which surprised us. We think we also got to second Sherwin lake. We came the right day, since a girl told us it had been windy previous days. About 68 and sunny.

Spent my birthday hiking this amazing trail. Going to be hard to beat this birthday. On a recommendation of another user on here I stayed at the Glacier Lodge in Big Pine. Amazing. 100 yards from the trail head, clean cabins, deer all over the property, friendly owners. They said during peak season they will even catch a trout and cook it up for your dinner!! On the trail at 6:45. Temps started out in the 40's but warmed up to the low 60's for most of the day. The views start almost immediately as you start your uphill climb. That first view into the canyon is so rad. It's about 4 and a half miles uphill to the first lake. You will pass a beautiful waterfall and the creek will stay with you for most of the way. There are a few wet patches that you will need to navigate. One spot requires a bit of off roading just before the first lake. There is a sign that says "Lakes 1-7 this way (left) Black Lake this way (right). I went left. Lakes 1 and 2 (especially 2) are stunning. It was my first time here and I wanted to do the full loop so I didn't stay long. I wish I had. Lake 3 was awesome too but had some dry patches. The hike between lakes 3 and 4 I found to be the most difficult part of the hike. I thought i remembered people saying it flattens out when you get to the lakes.... Lake 4 was meh...but lake 5 was spectacular. Somewhere around there I passed I sign that said "Glacier Trail this way". I'm guessing this is the way to the Palisade's Glacier? Next time up I will inspect. There is also a sign that says "lake 5 this way, lake 4 this way, Black Lake this way". After I did 4 and 5 and started towards Black Lake I realized that 6 and 7 were still somewhere behind me. So I back tracked and realized that the path for lake 4 actually continues. I took it for a bit until I came to a sign that said "lakes 6 and 7 and summit lake this way." Kept going until there is a fork in the trail with a tree stump. There is no sign. The left trail looked steep and the trail on the right looked more manageable. (I was getting tired by this point and the altitude was starting to mess with me.) So I went right and came to a lake. Looking back I think this must have been Summit Lake. I was looking at the All Trails map because the trail just seemed to fizzle out in front of this hill with loose gravel on it. Was this the hill people had mentioned scrambling up? I decided to find out next time and headed back towards Black Lake to complete the loop. I passed the fork in the trail again and decided to inspect that next time as well. I'm guessing that is where lakes 6 and 7 are. Forest stroll to Black Lake. Although very large, this lake was far less stunning than the others. As i finished the last half of the loop I realized what an important decision it was to go left at the first fork towards lakes 1-7 rather than Black Lake. This half of the loop was all downhill and very steep the whole way and short on views. Which meant that this would be all uphill if you chose to go right in the beginning. The only plus about going this way besides Black lake (which was my second least favorite) is at one point you get a really sick view of lake 1 from way high up. Next time I will totally skip this half of the loop and just return back down the other side for double the amazing views. This trail had it all...9 lakes (7 plus Summit and Black Lakes), a waterfall and creek, towering sierras, and the fall colors in full effect. Spectacular day!!!

Great trail, lots to see while you’re hikin up. Plenty of water, so just bring a water filter. Lots of spots to set up camp. Too bad that not everyone respects the wilderness, i saw traces of a campfire around Second Lake.

hiking
muddy
rocky
24 days ago

Beautiful hike! I arrived around 9am on a Monday and the parking lot had plenty of room. Went up to chicken foot lake for a lunch & headed back down. There was a cold breeze and I was grateful for layers. Enough people on the trail to not feel completely alone, but plenty of privacy as well- especially after the first and second lakes. I took my time and got back around 1. The parking lot was pretty full. I will DEFINITELY be back- the scenery is extraordinary.

hiking
24 days ago

Beautiful, well-maintained trail. I went on October 15th and it was a flawless day. A little cold under the trees at the start, but I didn’t need a jacket for the rest of the hike. The switchbacks at the end start about 11,300 feet elevation (the top of the pass is 11,972), so you may struggle if you haven’t been staying at elevation. I camped at 8500 feet for the two nights prior and it was still pretty strenuous. 10/10 would do again.

Great long distance day hike. the lakes on the way up were beautiful. Great vistas. Met lots of nice fellow hikers on the way.

hiking
muddy
rocky
26 days ago

A gorgeous trail - beautiful views all around the entire way up. Starts with a gradual and easy incline and then mostly switchbacks all the way up to blue lake. The views are worth it and it is not too strenuous if you’re used to hiking. Some sketchy / icy crossings + some muddy/wet sections, but again, doable - just be cautious/careful! Parts of the path are rock stairs + some other rockier areas too. Overall this was a beautiful, rewarding hike and we would definitely do it again! Got to see some gorgeous Fall colors!!

This was a great hike!! we left early and avoided any other hikers. all of the lakes are beautiful.

hiking
no shade
rocky
26 days ago

Camped overnight at the trailhead and started the hike next day early in the morning. The climb up to the first lakes took us about 2 1/2h and throughout the whole way you’ll get some breathtaking views. But as soon as you reach the first lakes the views will completely blow your mind! Especially the second lake and it’s view on the “Mordor” type looking cliffs are totally out of this world (Sorry, I’m a LoTR fanboy). I’d suggest doing the whole loop since lake number 2 and lake number 5 have the most impressive views. Overall, I have to say that it was definitely one of the most memorable hikes I’ve ever done. Can’t wait to go back and do the whole trail again during snow season. Have fun and stay safe!

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