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.

Went up with a group. Great trail! Very clear until you hit Heather Lake. Lots of snow so prep for wet feet (our feet kept sinking in the snow). Keep an eye out for the trail markers cause you won’t see the trail that well. Camped out at Emerald Lake and views were great.

I was the only person camping out at Emerald Lake this past Friday, May 18th. The trail is free of snow until Heather Lake and fully covered in snow from Heather Lake to Emerald Lake. Micro-spikes are needed, especially during the early morning hours after the overnight freeze. I attempted to hike to Pearl Lake but was unable to cross the creek of rushing water from Emerald Lake down to Aster Lake. The creek was deep, about 5 to 6 feet wide with snow on both banks. May be later this summer when I can come back and hike to Pearl Lake. The Watchtower Trail is closed, until further notice, due to snow and ice. On the way back to Wolverton and spoke to the ranger who went up on horseback and mules to retrieve equipments left up there after the SAR of the San Diegan hiker who lost his life on May 13th while hiking the Watchtower Trail. Be safe out there.

Gorgeous lakes. The hike has it's best views from the watchtower trail. one way to consider accessing Pear Lake is the climb Alta Peak first and then scrambling down the back side down to Pear Lake. It is fun and allows you to see a wide variety of things.

Still quite a bit of snow around the first lake. Didn't attempt to go any further, and wouldn't recommend it for a while still. Easy enough to find the trail using the signs on the trees, but would have been lost otherwise. Couldn't see much given that the clouds formed a mist around the higher parts of the trail and down into the valley. Maybe better to do this one on a clear summer day?

16 days ago

I absolutely love southfork and this trail. I usually go late winter to avoid the bugs and other creepy crawlers. This year went early May. Around the 1-2 mike mark you start ascending through a narrow trail with 3’ grass. There are ticks on every blade of grass, spray clothes with sawyer and bring bug spray. I almost stepped on a 5’ western diamond back going up narrow grass trail,scared the hell out of me to say the least. He warned me after my foot almost touched him but when he turned to get away I for sure thought I was getting bite. The trail and area is amazing but in spring/summer be very cautious of ticks and rattlers. I will go back but I’ll return in winter, cold nights are far better than a insane amount of ticks and the perfect warm river habitat of the western diamondback. If you have kids be extra cautious and please keep on trails, the foothills have real dangers you must be aware of. I saw some pretty incompetent people out there running a muck (another reason why winter is better) But south fork / ladybug holds a special place in my heart and by far is one of CA hidden gems.

Love this hike

Went for a 3 day, 2 night camping trip with the Boyfriend. It was incredible. Beautiful views with every step! Be ready to get your feet wet if you are planning on hiking out to Redwood Meadow! The water is so crisp and refreshing to drink (with a LifeStraw) but it doesn't feel to good when you get wet. We built our basecamp on a quiet little peninsula near where the Panther Creek and Middle Fork creek merge. It was so peaceful I didn't want to leave!

This is my all time favorite trail so far. I have only done it once but will hope to again, my son and I hiked it in 2015. We hiked in early August and the weather was excellent. Breathtaking views at every turn. The altitude is a challenge, but if you are reasonably fit and take your time you will be well adjusted by the time you summit Whitney. One of the best weeks of my life!

21 days ago

First time overnight backpacking was a success! Met some great people at the camp site who have been hiking this area for 25 years and told us that there were more spectacular views past ladybug camp trail. My friends and I were curious to see more views. So we hiked past whiskey log and headed to South Fork. The trail to whiskey log was creepy but in a good way. Made it feel like Harry Potter in the woods! Very steep and couple switch backs but so worth it!! We ended up in a secluded area facing the roaring river. I'd recommend this trail and would go back! If you're camping at the South Fork area, pick up some woods along the way to have a better campfire!

I had a beautiful solo hike day yesterday. Since a lot of the trail higher up have a lot of snow right now (and I am a little wary after getting lost in the snow on the Alta Peak trail for a couple hours last year) I decided to opt for this one. I hiked from the trailhead (more info below on how to get there) to Panther Creek/Middle Kaweah Falls. It was cloudy so I wasn't able to see a whole lot, but I did catch a glimpse of the great Western Divide on the way back. The wildflowers and plant life are in full splendor, and I loved witnessing the gushing Panther Creek waterfall. The waterfall, the roaring Mid Kaweah below, and the cool tranquil pools surrounded by Ponderosa Pines and White Alders at the top of the waterfall were a beautiful sight coming from the dry Central Valley where we siphon off rivers into canals and squeeze every drop for ag. So much life flowing everywhere! There was a camping area next to the pools at the top of the fall, which would make a great camp (with places to hang hammocks!). I'll definitely be back with friends, maybe for a backpacking trip when higher areas are too snowy. The trail continues to a redwood meadow and another meadow where I believe the trail intersects with the High Sierra Trail.

Some tips:
- Getting to the trailhead: if the gate is open, you can turn right off of General Highway right across from the parking lot for Hospital Rock, and follow that towards Buckeye Flat campground. After a sharp right turn in the road there is a V where you can continue on the paved road towards the campground (and the Paradise Creek trailhead) or go up a dirt road. Go up the dirt road to the end of the road and you'll find the trailhead. This cuts out about 4 miles of the hike.
- Can my car make it to the trailhead? I made it in my Kia Soul. I have alright clearance and if you're cautious you can make it fine in a sedan. There are a few more severe dips and potholes that you need to watch out for, but slow and steady does the trick.
- Bring sunscreen and lots of water! Guidebooks are right - this would be a scorcher on a hot summer day.
- careful of the Panther Creek crossing - those with unsteady balance or bad hips should use a pole or walking stick to aid their crossing.

and lastly...have fun! This is a fun lil hike.

Excelente para trail running, lindas vistas pero el sendero en si no es tan vistoso como otros de la zona.
La pendiente permite correr todo el trayecto! Yo solo hice 9 km y regresé porque debía completar 2:30 hs de entrenamiento
Lo hice en primavera hay muchos cursos de agua por lo que se puede viajar liviano sin tanta hidratación encima
Medianamente Transitado hasta el camping del km 4,5 luego casi ni huellas

Superb trail with spectacular views and great camping along the way.

1 month ago

The trail was a nice and challenging trail. My first backpacking trip/trail. Two nights two days. Parked at Buckeye campground and hike up to the trailhead. Hit the trail up this April of 2018. Before the rain the river crossings weren’t bad. After a night of rain they were impossible. Waited for the river to die down a bit and crossed. The trail is well blazed and has nice views along the whole trail. AllTrails Pro did not really work out there though. Only downside.

1 month ago

Great trail. Hiked all the way to Whiskey Log at trails end. The trail needs work beyond Lady Bug but still a great trail. Took family and everyone had a great time. You have to look off the trail to the right when headed east to find campsites. The best ones are before the end of Lady Bug Trail.

It is a really nice trail. The only thing that I disliked is not knowing that there is not a paved road on the way up there. It barely can accommodate 2 cars if that at some point. Definitely recommend it if you have a truck or off road capable vehicle like a nice 4Runner.

2 months ago

I've hiked this route about 3-4 times and love it! My favorite spot to camp is at the biggest Cottonwood lake. Beautiful! Fairly easy getting into the Cottonwood Lakes basin. The trail is nice and very easy to follow. From the lakes to the top of Langley can be a challenge. Definitely prefer Old Army pass as is detailed on this map as the trail tops out in the bottom of the pass. But I've had to go around by Long lake and up New Army pass a couple of times due to snow conditions on Old Army pass. Going that way means you have to go up and over and down from a ridge, which means on your way back down from the peak, you have a substantial uphill once again. But when the Old Army pass trail is snowed over, it's better than nothing. The last bit to the top of Langley is a scramble through the scree and route finding through the boulders. Coming down the scree field can be fun, though. Some of my best backpacking memories are from this trail.

A buddy and I began our hike late into November and we went for about 28 miles before we were caught up in a pretty good sized snowstorm that was a little too much and had to turn back. Thats what youll get when you come late into the year though. All the snow and ice aside, this trail is absolutely amazing. At least make your way up to Bearpaw, the views here are awesome!

Had a great hike with the family trail was just as the app described!!!!!

Heard this was the trail to do in Sequoia National Park so I went ahead and tried it! Solo, overnight. Relied heavily upon Alltrails app to guide me through. I couldn't make it to Pear lake due to the snow being extra thicc ;) so decided to spend the night at Emerald Lake which was amazing. I Went on a friday and literally saw 5 people the entire time. Even had emerald lakes campground all to myself! Pick up a self-register permit at the Giant Forest Museum! Lodgepole visitor center was closed when I was here, save yourselves some time :)

The Lakes were all frozen during the time I went, Please be careful if you decide to walk on them. Use your best judgement!

3 months ago

Great hike especially if you have kids who enjoy hiking. Went about 1.5- 2 miles in but you can go much further if you choose. It is also along a river most the way so if it’s in the hotter months of the year you can jump in to cool off at times.

the uphill climb was brutal in the snow, but definitely worth every drop of sweat. the snow and view was so breath taking! and the way down is a breeze. wear shoes with a good grip, the ice was very slippery and the snow was up almost to my knees.

4 months ago

Great trip. Going over black rock pass is challenging but completely worth the effort to get to little five lakes on the other side.

Perfect time of year to be on this trail. I took it to Panther Creek and camped there on a Saturday night. Lots of spots to tarp/tent or hang. Excellent weather(70/40) with nice snowy views to the east. Water was plentiful, but none of the creek crossings to that point had any deep water. The road to the trailhead/Buckeye Flat campground is closed at this point for the winter but do not let that stop you from jumping on this awesome trail. You’ll need to park at the picnic area on Sherman’s Highway at the intersection of Buckeye Flat. It tacks on an additional two miles but was along the river and I encountered many mule deer along the way. When the road forks, go left on the rough road. The gate on the right goes to Buckeye Flat campground and Paradise trail. Happy hiking!

Hiked a few miles but didn’t complete. Planning on overnight camping to Crescent Meadows.

on Ladybug Camp Trail

4 months ago

Good hike. Not too steep, not too many people. I would suggest you go when it's cold due to ticks. Watch out for newts.

Beautiful hike, be prepared to cross snow fields early in the season before reaching the lower lake.

4 months ago

For ‘city folk’, you’ll not find more bang for your buck. Great views, decent distance, pristine lake and views. I’ve not been back in a few years, but hope to get back again someday.

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