Crystal Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail

HARD 15 reviews
#33 of 83 trails in

Crystal Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mineral King, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September.

DISTANCE
9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3444 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Hike up a very steep incline from Sawtooth Pass through a meadow with gorgeous views of the mountains. Initial one mile is steep, with large stone steps to climb. Then cross Monarch Creek, entering a conifer forest punctuated by occasional meadows with views of Empire Mountain. Continue noticeable ascent, but less steep than before, along the well-maintained and fairly trafficked Monarch Lakes trail. One mile before Monarch Lakes, take the Crystal Lake right fork onto an ascending unmaintained use trail, with a lot of loose stone. The trail passes through diminishing forest, past Chihuahua Mine, over a pass above 10,000 feet. It descends somewhat to cross a difficult area of loose rock, and then re-ascends up the loose rock, on a sometimes difficult to discern trail. The trail is apparent, though, and ascends steadily to Lower Crystal Lake, with a concrete dam. Upper Crystal Lake can be accessed by a northwest- headed spur just before the Lower Crystal Lake dam. Trekking poles recommended for difficult footings in many places.

1 month ago

This was a very beautiful trail with lots of views, water, waterfalls and wild flowers everywhere!! It was difficult and took us about 6 hrs to complete. We did not see another human after the trail split off from the monarch trail. I would do this again maybe ad a backpacking trip.

backpacking
2 months ago

Hike up a very steep incline from Sawtooth Pass through a meadow with gorgeous views of mountains. Initial one mile is steep, with large stone steps to climb. Then cross Monarch Creek, entering a conifer forest punctuated by occasional meadows with views of Empire Mountain. Continue noticeable ascent, but less steep than before, along the well-maintained and fairly trafficked Monarch Lakes trail. One mile before Monarch Lakes, take the Crystal Lake right fork onto an ascending unmaintained use trail, with a lot of loose stone. The trail passes through diminishing forest, past Chihuahua Mine, over a pass above 10,000 feet. It descends somewhat to cross a difficult area of loose rock, and then re-ascends up the loose rock, on a sometimes difficult to discern trail. The trail is apparent, though, and ascends steadily to Lower Crystal Lake, with a concrete dam. Upper Crystal Lake can be accessed by a northwest- headed spur just before the Lower Crystal Lake dam. Trekking poles recommended for difficult footings in many places. Route followed mid-Septembers. Low temperatures overnight in the 20's.

backpacking
3 months ago

Upper Crystal Lake made a great camp spot--we didn't see a soul once we turned on to the Crystal Lake fork in the trail. Spectacular afternoon hike up to the ridge overlooking Monarch Lakes and Amphitheater Lake. Just you and the marmots.

hiking
3 months ago

Dogs are not allowed on any trails within the Mineral King Area.

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

Friday, October 21, 2016

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Insanely beautiful hike!

Friday, September 02, 2016

backpacking
Saturday, August 20, 2016

This was a beautiful 5-mile hike (one way) up to 10,800 ft in Mineral King. Went with my husband and 13 and 11 y/o kids. Going here in August was pretty amazing with great camping spots, stellar sunset views, a calming waterfall, and brisk Sierra swimming! Take note, this is NOT a moderate hike as indicated in this app. The ranger station lists it as a strenuous hike which I would agree with. As I've discovered this inconsistency, I would double-check this app's content before planning a trip. Hope to see improvements in the future as it has great potential!

backpacking
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

hike was long and uphill but once getting to the lake it was amazing. lots of mosquitos though but worth it.

hiking
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gorgeous hike. Definitely felt very accomplish by the end of it. Had to go a little of trail due to the snow pack but nothing too crazy, don't need poles or clamp ons like they recommended for the Monarch Lakes same day

Sunday, May 01, 2016

hiking
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Davit Stepanyan said it perfectly. This is a great hike with beautiful lakes at the end and awesome camp spots. Having said that I would not recommend this hike to someone who does not know how to navigate using a map and compass, I didn't, as you will likely lose the trial. But if you make it it'll be worth it. We did see lots of interesting, and harmless, wildlife on the way up and down such as mountain chickens, or wtv, a NICE buck, and a heard of Elk at the base of the valley below the lakes. It was slightly busy for the first half of the hike but the second part was completely deserted and it was just my friend and I up at the lakes.

hiking
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

this is a great trail, but not for everyone . Its about a five hour hike up to the top and another three to come back. Great views and like the name says a Crystal clear lake up top. and if you have made it to the top, you must go for a swim lol.