Big Pine Lakes Trail

MODERATE 161 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

backpacking
11 days 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...!

22 days 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.

2 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
3 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.

3 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

4 months ago

5 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
5 months ago

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

hiking
5 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
5 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
5 months ago

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

5 months ago

Beautiful lakes

hiking
6 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
6 months ago

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

7 months ago

Totally Awesome, I am so out of shap

hiking
7 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
8 months ago

amazing hike and scenery!

hiking
8 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

8 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.

hiking
8 months ago

One of the best hikes there is. Camped at Big Pine Creek Campground near trailhead night before. Parked in Day use only parking at 7:30am on a Friday and only 3 other cars there. No problems with mosquitos. Got to first and second Lake around 10:30am. stunning lakes. Took a quick swim in - freezing but it was necessary. Made it to 5th lake but had to finish it off there and complete the loop through Black Lake because not enough water (brought 4 liters for 2). Made it back to trailhead Parking at 4am. It was hot on the way out but lots of people hiking in still in the afternoon.

hiking
8 months ago

This hike was everything I hoped for and more! Even the trail itself is amazing. I did this as a day hike; started at 9:30am and finished at 7:30pm. I made it to the Second Lake, I could have made it to the Third, however I decided to spend my time swimming and eating lunch at the Second Lake. By then, 3:30 rolled by and we decided we should probably head back. I am 100% doing this hike again, except I will backpack it and be sure to stay at least 2 nights up there just so I can see all 7 lakes and the Palisade Glacier. The lakes are JUST as they look in the pictures, if not better. The water is pure blue and very cold. I want to say by the 3 mile mark up to the lakes, you come across Lon Chaney's cabin. It's right off the trail and such a cool thing to see. He had his cabin right next to Big Pine Creek and it's very peaceful and a nice place to rest. This is a hike that you'll want to do again! I loved every second of it.

8 months ago

the views were spectacular, the trails were well maintained. I already want to go back.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike. Completed on 7/18/17, no issues with snow. The trail goes gradually uphill until you reach the lakes. There is not made shade. Bring sunscreen and bug spray. It's totally worth it.

9 months ago

Gorgeous

backpacking
9 months ago

I camped at Second Lake on 7/3/17, this place is absolutely beautiful!! The trail up was clear and easy to follow. It is an exposed hike and I definitely regretted starting the hike at noon since I spent most of it being cooked by the sun! However, I will say I was sorely disappointed in how many fire pits there were at Second Lake. I counted over 5 in just the small area we camped. There are prominent signs on the trail clearly stating "No Fires" and campers are reminded by the rangers when they pick up permits that fires are not allowed. Not only is it a huge risk because fire danger in Inyo National Forest is currently at a "Very High" but it takes away from the experience for other campers. Please remember to practice LNT and respect these places!! Other than that this trail is a perfect 10/10!

backpacking
9 months ago

great hike,beautiful scenery, fishing was good. Bring bug repellent for the mornings and if your going to stop at the rangers cabin. We hiked to the 3rd lake. Can't wait to do it again and see all 7 lakes.

hiking
9 months ago

My FAVORITE hike by far! Every part of this trail is absolutely beautiful! We hit the trail at 8 am and arrived at Second Lake in 3 hours. It took us 2.5 hours to hike back to the car from Second Lake! Will definitely be back soon.

9 months ago

Such a breathtaking hike. The entire hike was gorgeous!

9 months ago

July 1st 2017

This is an out of the world trail. I have never seen such beauty. This land is truly magical.

I got up to the fifth lakes with no problems. There was patches of snow but quite heavy snow to black lake.

My recommendation is to start early, otherwise you will get smoked by the sun or the mosquitos. Camp at third or even fourth lakes.

9 months ago

It's great but the trail isn't marked very well. People were getting lost. Also don't bring multiple dogs without hiking your trail first. It's a tough trail and a hiker couldn't get his 3 dogs to keep up and was stranded

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