Explore the most popular Backpacking trails in Sequoia National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Stayed at pear lake. Nice pit toilot on site. View from the watchtower is spectacular.

Did this as a day hike. Once you pass Bear paw meadow the views really open up. Staring up at the face of Valhalla was something special. Little water remains in the creeks.

This is a long hike but well worth the effort. I arrived at the trailhead at 8:30am and with stops at each of the lakes for photography was back at my car aroumd 4:30pm. The trail is well marked and there are even two pit toilets along the way. There's not many flat stretches, so be prepared for a lot of up and down. At Heather Lake you have the option of taking back the Hump Trail instead of Watchtower Trail, which was nice to add some variety to the hike. The views were incredible and I only ram into two other hikers. Snow was expected the next day, so not sure how much longer parts of the trail will rain open this late into the season.

hiking
bugs
22 days ago

Stayed at the Whiskey Log camp Super beautiful trial in sequoia at low elevation with views of South Fork river all along the way Some massive sequoias about 3/4 way in! Very rocky and unpaved road 3 miles to trailhead Lots of bugs and beginning of trail but once we got to camp there were none! Saw a bear walking toward us about halfway through camp Very easily scared it off by yelling “HEY BEAR” be bear aware and PACK OUT ALL YOUR TRASH!

Did this trial 11/16/19. Went all the way to Pear Lake. It was pretty warm walking up and I was in a t shirt, but on the way back, around 2:45, i had to put two more layers on. So I suggest to dress warm or have an extra jacket. Took about 4 hours to get up, with a short break at Heather Lake. And about 2.5 to 3 hours to get back. Very beautiful lakes and was so worth it, but my legs are BURNING! it was a steep climb up to Pear Lake.

hiking
scramble
23 days ago

We drove up on Saturday and slept in our car before an early 4:30 start on Sunday morning. The trail was easy to follow as it meandered its way up to the lakes. At 6, we got our first look Mt Langley, right as the sun rose. We made our way up Old Army pass before heading over to the last climb. Once we reached the base of the final boulder field, the wind died down, and the temperature up to a pleasant 65 degrees. It took a little longer to make it up the last section than we expected, but the views were worth it. After a few photos on the summit, we started back down. It was nice being able to stop at the streams to get more water on the way down. We go back to the cars well before we thought we would and were rewarded with a beautiful sunset drive down the mountain. Overall, this day hike worked out better than I expected, and I'm excited to head back.

Awesome hike today! Watchtower trail is open. Just went to Heather Lake. Beautiful day. A little chilly but was okay in single layer clothes. Took 2 young boys (12 & 10) they did great! No wildlife except for squirrels.

hiking
rocky
29 days ago

11-09-2019 My friend and I started the cotton wood lakes trail at 7:23 AM,hiked 6 miles to the new army pass. Then we gradually made our way up to the army pass,new army pass is in excellent conditions and snow free,it looks intimidating at first,cause it just looks like a giant bolder field,but don’t get discouraged the trail is super safe,not technical and with stunning views. We set up camp on top off old army pass,just 1.6 mile from the summit that night. We had ideal weather conditions,no winds and not a cloud in the Sky. The sunset was probably the best I ever seen,and the sunrise was no different. 11-10-2019 We got up at 5:00 and made the push for the summit,ran out of water before I reached the summit. Still pushed on,reached the summit at 7:23 AM. The last mile with the sand and the boulders will make you want to give up,DONT. Fallow the cairns,remember this as you go up,the cairns are your friends. They will take you all the way up,fallow nothing else,unless you like the extra suffering. Came down through old army pass,I don’t understand why everyone makes such a big fuss about this section,it was way faster and easier then new army,there was zero snow on the old pass. There were two parts that were a little technical but it was so simple that even this cave man could do it lol <true story <<. Overall I loved every minute of it,and I will return once more.

Wow, spectacular hike! The sun can get strong against the white granite walls, but the reward of some shade under the canopy of the trees is beautiful. From Crescent Meadow, there is a campground around 8-9 mile marker, and from there about an 8 mile round-trip up to the creek waterfall/overlook, where you can decide to summit up to Hamilton Lakes or not. Breathtaking and really a taste of what the Sequioa's have to offer, would love to return again!

This is a beautiful hike especially in the early summer when the creek beds are flowing. The just going to see the Watchtower area is well worth the trip as is Heather Lake which is breathtaking. It is a little treacherous at the Watchtower area but all in all a fabulous hike. I wouldn't say this is moderate but more like challenging, somewhere between moderate and difficult due to the elevation you already start at.

Awesome hike yesterday! Clear weather, trails are clearly marked and in good condition. We took the Watchtower trail portion to Heather Lake, stopping to scramble up the back of the Watchtower for photos. We will definitely be back to go all the way to Pear Lake. What a great day hike! Started at 7:45am and it took us 5.5hrs with solid 30 minute stops at both Watchtower and the Lake (3 people age 35-45 in reasonably good shape)

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

I summited in 9/14/19. Hiked up New Army Pass and down Old Army Pass. This mountain is a beast! The first quarter of the trail up to Cottonwood lakes is pleasant and moderate, but the second quarter getting up the pass after the lakes is very steep. There is a long flattish section 3/4 the way up, but then the last 1/4 is very steep and punishing. The trail near the top is very rocky and guided by large caryns, with many ways to get from point to point. Old Army Pass has a couple treacherous points and you should only take that route when there is minimal snow. I have to say this mountain is almost more challenging than Whitney, but then again it’s been 10 years since I’ve done Whitney so it could just feel more challenging to me! All in all it was very rewarding and a really great experience.

Hiked it yesterday. Took me 6.5 hours out and back, including all the stops. The trail is mostly dirt and rocks, no scrambling, pretty convenient. No snowy parts. very short wet portions, you won't get wet or muddy if you don't want to, but depends on the weather of course. Came across very few other hikers (maybe 10) throughout the entire hike (Friday). The first 3 miles are a monotonous (and in my opinion - boring) climb. Not a lot to see. After that, spectacular views most of the way. Temps get colder as you ascend, but all in all the weather was great. The lakes are beautiful. I think they're worth the climb. However, at the highest parts (almost 10,000 feet above see level) I did start to feel a little altitude sickness (headache, fatigue), and even going back down got hard, so be prepared. There's no signal most of the way, so download your maps in advance. Be prepared for sudden freak storms. I hardly saw any wildlife - just squirrels and one mule deer - but a fellow hiker told me he'd seen a mother bear with her cub, so be cautious.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

This is an extremely hard hike. For the first 8 miles it is a nice hike. After that is where the fun begins. I set up camp at long lake then hiked the peak and back to my camp site. The trail is pretty defined until the cairns start. Once they start there are a lot of trails going every which way. Try to take the trail that leads you to the next cairn. The sign at the top is broken and pretty close to not be able to read it. Overall I enjoyed it and the sunset at the top was awesome but not fun hiking back in the dark.

I decided to make a loop trail out of the Pear Lake/Alta Peak hike. This was an awesome hike that I made a terrifying hike. Don’t go the route I did. Especially with a fully loaded backpack.

originally planned just to go to watch tower but then decided to go to Heather Lake since it was not that much farther. we completed this trail at the end of October, when we started on the trail it was a nice beautiful day, as we started hiking it became overcast and cold, but it wasn't unreasonably cold. beautiful hike and beautiful views that you get to experience. There are a few parts to the trail that are a little bit scary, huge drop offs, straight drops, but nothing that is too scary. We started the trail around 8:40 in the morning and finished around 2:30 but we did take breaks and sat around and enjoyed the views. Will be doing this one again but next time we plan on going farther and seeing the other two lakes

Definitely a hard hike with backpacking gear! We made a weekend trip out of this hike-- camp in Lodgepole Friday night, hike to Pear and camp Sat night, pack up and go home Sunday morning. We (I) slugged up the mountain with frequent breaks to enjoy the scenery and eat our snacks. It was a solid 40º-50º during the day, but with our constant movement we were all in single layers. We left the Alta trailhead around noon and arrived at Pear around 4:30 PM. This gave us enough time to cook before the sun went down at 6:30 PM. At night, the temperature went below freezing, so definitely come prepared! Bring lots of layers to wear when you sleep. Also heard bears during the night sniffing around us, but all of our food was safely stashed away in a bear locker. All in all, stunning prehistoric-like scenery on an intermediate backpacking trip.

Absolutely breathtaking. Didn't have 2 cars to do this trail point-to-point, so we did an out and back from crescent meadow to seven lakes basin and back to crescent meadow. Did it in 5 nights (but only got in 3 miles the first day due to a very late start so 4 nights would have been doable). The views are absolutely amazing, especially at Precipice lake. If I went again, I'd do the trail as a point to point and just hitchhike back to my car.

hiking
1 month ago

Extremely well maintained trail, and not as steep as I expected. A nice, fairly easy and quiet uphill hike through quiet forests and past bright meadows. No bugs. Weather calm and beautiful. Water level very low throughout but you’re still never far from a filterable source. I was the only camper at Twin Lakes which was pretty cool. Serene silence except for 3 nice howling sessions from coyotes(?) around sunset and sunrise. Beautiful! Wandered up Twin Peaks in the morning real quick (2 hours) for some great views before packing out. There is a bear box and pit toilet at Twin Lakes. Get your self-issued wilderness permit for overnight stays at the museum on the way to Lodgepole campgrounds which btw is operating at limited capacity starting Oct 16. Not many sites available, but also not very crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, I hiked on Tuesday October 15th. I started at the trailhead at 5:30am, it was about 23 degrees out and there was decent illumination from the moon when the trees weren’t too thick. I took the Cottonwood Lakes Trail to New Army Pass up to the top and then followed Old Army Pass back down. Beautiful views along the entire route. Maintained over 2 mph with 10 minute breaks every 2 miles. I reached the top around 12:30 and started back down around 1:20. That time could probably be shaved down, but I was alone and didn’t want to overdo things. I saw no else on the trail whatsoever throughout day. After plenty of stops for water, snacks, and photos....I reached the end of the trail at 5:45pm with 23 miles on the day. I would say approximately 1 mile was going off trail for stops/photos. There were two small areas that had snow/ice blocking the trail coming down New Army Pass. It was no major issue as there are already paths worked around the snow. I took a 40oz hydro flask with me and filled up in the streams along the route as needed. A flowing stream just past High Lake was the last water spot on New Army Pass, I recommend topping off here. I had trail mix, gummy bears and a couple emergency health bars for food. I suggest following the red highlighted routed to summit verse the black trail lines on the map unless bouldering/rock climbing is your thing. Follow the cairns to the top and you’ll be in good shape. The notebook has been replaced......but writing on the sign is getting worn down, a sharpie could be a quick fix. I’m a fairly experienced hiker/outdoorsman but by no means a pro. Challenging hike, know your limits and have a plan.

highly recommend this trail. first 4 miles steady incline then the area around the lakes the ups and downs are much smaller. view from the Watchtower is great and theres (compost) toilet up at the lakes. would call this moderate plus as opposed to hard

This was a great backpacking trip. Rated 3 stars because you cannot have a campfire and it was 9,400 elevation, hard to get up and get going in morning when it’s freezing. There was also a ton of deadfall. But overall a lot of beautiful views. Challenging the last couple miles but worth it.

pretty strenuous think about what you bring if backpacking it is not at buckeye campground it is a dirt road right before the entrance to campground follow for a few miles trail head is marked there lots of Creek crossings constant up and down cool views there is camping sites at 3 miles in and around 4.5 miles in that are not marked on the map

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