Big Pine Lakes Trail

MODERATE 189 reviews
#2 of 45 trails in

Big Pine Lakes Trail is a 13.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Big Pine, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
13.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3356 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

totally worth the hike. My dog and I hiked to second lake, it was breath taking. also make sure you drink plenty of water with high altitude. if you have a dog the ground gets very hot so make sure to check their paws.

hiking
7 days ago

Hiked all the way up to Seventh Lake. After the Third Lake, it was pretty un-crowded. Trail is snow-free but a bit muddy crossing the meadows on way to the Sixth and Seventh Lakes.

hiking
13 days ago

Camped at Big Pine Creek campground and hiked to the second lake on June 1st. The entire hike is absolutely beautiful and the view of the second lake with Temple Crag on the back is just breathtaking. Words can't describe how beautiful this place is. We are definitely coming back for an overnight camp by the lake.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked on May 29, to the 3rd lake, trail till which is relatively snow free. Attempted to continue up to the Glacier trail but was unsuccessful; pretty much covered in snow, and I lost the trail fairly early and had to turn around. Perhaps doable with ice axe, crampons and good route finding skills

hiking
19 days ago

5/28/18

Started at the trailhead parking lot and hiked to the third lake. It was warmer than expected but very pleasant. The trail was very well maintained and there was no snow/ice. The hike was almost entirely uphill with decent tree coverage once you pass the cabin. We (couple) were comfortable with a backpack, water bladder, and some breakfast bars. This is a great day hike.

hiking
20 days ago

Have hiked this trail many times. Absolutely one of a kind. You’ll be hiking parallel to a creek nearly the entire hike with waterfalls on the way up. If you’re a fisherman, bring a compact rod.
Don’t miss out on this one of a kind trail.

hiking
27 days ago

Went to the Third Lake only which was a pretty clear trail - some leftover snow. Heard that heading towards the Fourth Lake had more snow so we just turned around at the Third. I'm deducting one star because I had heard the Third Lake was more turquoise in color, and we were really disappointed it was not - maybe it was the time of year or the time of day?? Any tips on that would be appreciated.

We somehow took a wrong turn on the way up and the way back so we did almost 15 miles. It was a pretty strenuous hike and we both think we were battling slight altitude sickness. Overall it was an amazing experience. We were so glad we opted to stay at the Glacier Lodge the night before and the day of the hike.

Tip: bring sunscreen for the exposed areas; stay at the Glacier Lodge the night before so you get a good night's sleep and the day of the hike so you get a nice hot shower!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful!! the first and second lakes were frozen and the third was halfway melted. Not very hard but amazing views.

1 month ago

It’s an incredible hike! Like some other recent posts, we only went to 2nd lake but the entire way had such beauty there was no boring aspect. The weather was perfect. The hike isn’t strenuous and can be taken quite leisurely. I had a knee issue recently and managed to complete this hike without much issue. And my Maltese/Pomeranian did too! According to my Suunto Traverse we did just under 10 miles round trip. Can’t wait to come back when the lakes have thawed. We hiked on 05/05/18

hiking
1 month ago

Wow. Just wow. Spent all yesterday morning, from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. hiking up to the second lake (group felt that going up to the third would’ve been a little more dangerous considering we didn’t anticipate so much ice) and the views were absolutely breathtaking! It started to snow as we were making our way back down (which made the hike all the more better) and ran into many anticipated fishermen. Sadly for them the lakes were frozen over leaving only a small little area for them to fish. However, all in all, this was probably the best hike I’ve done so far this year and I would LOVE to go back when the weather gets warmer!

hiking
1 month ago

I completed this trail on 27April18. Up to lake 3 is a safe hike and is where the best views are, beyond that, there is nothing moderate about it, at least in the winter time. I decided to push myself and continued (I only had crampons, no snow shoes) but there is still so much snow that is actually dangerous. Is so deep in some areas that my whole leg would get buried on it, and I am a 6’1” tall guy. There are so many creeks that you can hear them under the snow so you wanna be careful. The other lakes are smaller and not so impressive like the first three. Since the snow was so deep I didn’t go around lake four and intercepted the trail in the other end, which btw is nowhere to be seen, I just followed my GPS. The snow was so unstable that I had to crawl, slide on my rear, etc. I lost part of my hiking pole, stuck somewhere in the deep of it, even I almost lose one of my boots in a similar scenario. I had to dig it out. About the course, is continuous uphill up to lake four. Lake 1 is at 10000 ft., highest point 10800 or so. The loop which is somewhere around 5 miles long starts after 4.5 from the parking lot. The uphill is moderate in general, strenuous at times. Weather was chilli but comfortable.

backpacking
2 months ago

Not sure if I need to add to the big review pile for this trail, but why not. It lives up to the hype and the access is easy. I would say this is an excellent trail for beginning backpackers who want to experience the Sierra Nevada at its best.

It is popular for a reason, but the presence of people dwindle the further up you go, and there are options to expand beyond this trail (such as Agassiz Col which I attempted but failed, a successful failure I must say).

Why does the summary on this trail's description say it "features a lake"? As a matter of fact, it features so many lakes the namers half-assedly named them numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...!

2 months ago

Unfortunately we were there without snow shoes end of march. We had to turn around. What we saw.... 5 stars although we didn’t make it to the lakes.

4 months ago

This was the most beautiful hike I’ve been on! The lakes were like turquoise gems against the snow patched craggy mountains. The switchbacks take you up into the John Muir Wilderness where a surge of water runs along your path. You can rest by Lon Chaney’s old cabin and continue on to find more gorgeous lakes as you walk. True story: I inhaled a mountain fly and within a few minutes it came out my nose. I swear...disgusting but true. The nice thing is that you can choose to go out six miles or complete the whole trail and you will feel accomplished either way.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked to the first lake in mid-January. We used the trail along the side of the mountain to avoid hiking in snow. There’s some elevation gain on that side. After the initial climb, you’ll be hiking in some snow to the cabin. Some parts the snow was ankle deep as no one had hiked before us. After the cabin is all snow. Lake was frozen over. Beautiful sight to see. Only had two other hikers trailing us. On the way back, a few backpackers were headed up for camping.

5 months ago

Worth the hard climb. Hiked this trail during the summer, bring a lot of water!!!!!!! So beautiful but I was sore for two days

6 months ago

6 months ago

The Big Pine Lakes trail is absolutely stunning and beautiful. Nice trails and great fishing. We Stayed in Big Pine at an Airbnb. "Big Pine Cottage Hideaway. The perfect place in Big Pine to access the lakes trails. This place is wonderful you have to see it. And it is dog friendly.

hiking
7 months ago

Spectacular views. Perfect winter weather. Awesome group of hikers who were helpful when I exhibited signs of altitude sickness.

hiking
7 months ago

Such a wonderful and great hike this time of year. The colors of the trees were amazing and you get lost in nature’s splendor. We didn’t do the whole loop, but went up to the cabin and rested by the well flowing stream. Plan to come back next year and do the whole thing!

hiking
7 months ago

This trail offers spectacular views of beauty but be prepared. It’s roughly a three hour intense hike (about 4.5 miles) to the first lake but well worth it. We did it yesterday and couldn’t be happier.

hiking
7 months ago

Anyone looking at doing the trail this weekend and have any thoughts about the potential snow rolling in on Saturday/Sunday?

7 months ago

Beautiful lakes

hiking
7 months ago

This is one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. We started at the trailhead off of Glacier Lodge Road and hiked to 3rd lake. There was so much fall foliage to look at and when you get that first glimpse of turquoise water at first lake, you just want to stay there and admire. But don’t! Keep going because it’s beautiful. We did over 13 mikes and the terrain is nice and soft. I had no aches or pains after this hike. Loved it!

hiking
8 months ago

awesome even for day hiking...much more for overnite camping

9 months ago

Totally Awesome, I am so out of shap

hiking
9 months ago

8/27/17. Beautiful hike with lots of everything. The waterfalls are great to take some time and enjoy. The sounds of the creek while hiking, exposed areas for grand views, flowers and wooded areas, the lakes, the palisades. Saw lots of fish and lots of fishermen. Wow, great hike! Only gave it 4 stars as this is a heavily used area, be prepared to see lots of people.

hiking
9 months ago

amazing hike and scenery!

hiking
10 months ago

This hike exceeded my expectations. Really pretty with good variety, and swimming in the freezing lakes was so fun. We brought our dogs and hot on the way out for them but they loved everything else, especially playing in the streams. Highly recommend

10 months ago

There is elevation gain the whole way but it is gradual. Stunning meadows and waterfalls before you get to the first lake about 5 mi in. Second lake is right around the corner. Do make sure to get to the lake front and take a photo. Lake three is another 15 min. Turned around there for a day hike. Took 7.5 hours. Lovely.

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