hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
4 hours ago

The first 4.5 miles in were pretty easy going - a decent amount of elevation, a few switchbacks, and two rocky washes that were a little tricky to navigate. The creek crossing was a little tricky, but if you stay low there are a lot of good rocks to get you across without getting wet. The last 1.5 miles was a tough scramble, and the initial trail on that side wasn’t obvious. Look for cairns - they’ll get you to the trail. The lake was gorgeous and had a ton of mosquitoes, so bring some repellant if you plan to stay awhile! Overall the trail was gorgeous, with tons of incredible views and a variation of trail type. I highly recommend it if you feel your up for a 12 mile, elevating trek!

Hard with the elevation but so worth it. Me and a friend wanted to backpack to the 5th lake but only made it to the 3rd due to us being tired. We camped out at 2nd lake and had an amazing view. The way up is hard and took us about 3 hrs to get to the 3rd lake and 2hrs to get back down. We are planning on going back to make it a day hike to see all the lakes.

Awesome trail ! Duck lake is picturesque. View from both sides of duck pass is just amazing. First 1.5 miles is wooded, nice views after that.

running
17 hours ago

Did this as a trail run and underestimated how hot it would get on the trail. Didn’t take any water, hoping I’d finish fast enough to be ok with getting back to the car, but beware that it feels steeper than it sounds during a heat wave. Luckily my friend shared his water and we were just fine, even finished ahead of goal pace. Great trail to get in quickly! Somewhat crowded, even at about 8 am midweek.

Very beautiful trail, albeit a bit crowded (Saturday, June 27, 2020). Luckily we were only doing a day trip to Gem Lakes this time around, because it was super crowded with overnighters at the Lakes themselves. Trail very easy to follow, and an easy climb.

hiking
19 hours ago

Completed the hike 6/28. Started on the trail @7am was able to see all the beautiful lakes except for 7 which I seen from a distant because by that time I was exhausted. Did this as a day hike. I took great pictures but it still didn’t do no justice to how beautiful it is. Definitely not an easy hike as we took mini breaks on the way but was able to keep it trekking with the steady incline plus elevation. Trail was well marked as well. Finished the hike around 5ish. Definitely worth the experience

on Big Pine Lakes Trail

hiking
bugs
off trail
20 hours ago

If I could click multiple times on bugs- I would. They were everywhere, however we would not be deterred from the beauty and experience!!!! The venture in is challenging- constant uphill, but we took a lunch break and small siesta at lake 3 and forged on! So worth it. Did the loop and enjoyed all of it for 3 days. Already looking forward to going back, with picardin, deet, and permethrin for the bugs. Lol

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful trail. Lake is a perfect place to relax for lunch or read a book. Definitely a moderate trail, nothing too strenuous.

Amazing hike! I cannot recommend this hike enough. Lots of water along the trail. Dog friendly. Trail is well marked and clear. Beautiful views along the way.

hiking
bugs
scramble
2 days ago

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike with amazing views. Traveled through the beautiful eastern sierras from the Bay Area and I’m glad I did. Met a lot of people who where from so cal. We did a 1 night backpacking trip. Make sure to get a permit if you plan on staying over night. Started our hike at 6am before the sun started to beam on us. The trial throughout the whole way was amazing. We only saw 2 groups on the way we hiked on a Friday. We ended our hike at the second lake. We finished our hike at 11am and got a sweet spot viewing the lake and temple Craig (check out my pic with the yellow tent haha). Make sure to bring. On our way back at 10am on a Saturday the trail was super busy. Make sure to plan ahead if you want to avoid the crowds. Definitely recommend this hike.

backpacking
bugs
3 days ago

This is one of the best hikes we have ever did. Amazing lake and mountain views. After making it to the end continue a little bit more to take a closer look at all Gem Lakes.

Great views of Mammoth Mountain on the way to Sherwin Lake. Trail is well groomed. Steady uphill all the way, but not too steep. Took us 2 hrs and 20 min round trip, but spent time at the lake as well.

Just spent the weekend off Little Lakes trail. Camped along shore of Box Lake. In the 80s during the day and low 30s at night. Used Sawyer repellent from REI and it worked well. Gorgeous views and some snow at higher elevations. Had high wind warnings but winds, though gusty at times was okay.

Attempt Mildred and Dorothy, took a spill on water crossing in high wind and turned around.

Road to trail is open!! Literally can’t say enough about this trail, one of my favorites I’ve ever done. Gorgeous sites everywhere, you won’t be disappointed. You can do all the way to Pika Lake and that will be 10 miles round trip, or you can go right at the sign to Pika Lake instead and carry on to the right side of Duck Lake and you can extend your hike that way. Will definitely be back, so much to explore! When we come back we’ll definitely pack in to camp!

Stunning views, meadows, streams, and lakes. This hike never disappoints. However, as mentioned in the previous review, it can be crowded. Avoid the weekends, and start early. I would suggest being in the parking lot by 7:30 or half the hike is getting to the trailhead. Keep the bug spray flowing. Our day was chilly and windy, so the bugs weren’t too bad. If you are headed to Gem, remember to go straight at the Chickenfoot Lake sign, as Chickenfoot is off to the left but well worth the sidetrack. No snow, trail is well maintained. We had our Doberman Rizzo along, kept her on a leash on the way back as the crowds were coming in. Lunch at Tom’s Place after with a chocolate shake makes for an epic day.

backpacking
bridge out
bugs
scramble
washed out
4 days ago

Do yourself a favor and get some good gps tracking app (like this one or Gaia) to keep you stay on trail. Creek crossing is easy with poles and shoes on. The lake is a little bit dry but view still stunning. It took me 3hr 20min to reach Mildred Lk with 31lbs backpack. My app recorded 5.41 mi from the trailhead to the lake. Mosquitos can be brutal. They’re big and hungry. Deets not working on them. Wear something thick. They still get me through my wool legging.

Went up a day before thanksgiving and only got as far as the first lake due to lack of gear to camp out there (long story, but couldn’t acquire the gear as I had planned due to a hiccup.) It was still worth the drive up there, though. Snow still covered the landscape as you got closer to the lake, which was frozen solid. My new favorite alpine heaven, will be back one day to camp up there and visit the Palisades Glacier.

backpacking
bugs
5 days ago

Very packed. There was no parking at the trailhead, had to rent a site at pine grove south campground so I could overnight at gem lakes. The trail itself was pretty awesome but the amount of people there almost kills it.

Beautiful trail with so many lakes. Definitely bugs. A lot of people unfortunately, but people seemed to spread out along the lakes.

hiking
5 days ago

Prepare sun protection and you are ready for a journey with view of astonished lakes nestled among pines and rocky valley.

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