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Florence Lake to Evolution Valley is a 30.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lakeshore, California that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 30.7 mi Elevation gain 3,772 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Horseback riding

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Rocky

Washed out

Description
Waypoints (0)

Approaching by way of the rugged canyon of the San Joaquin River and surrounded by a host of jagged summits, this trail delves into the secluded heart of Kings Canyon's northern wilderness - the lush, green parkland of Evolution Valley. All overnight backpackers must obtain a wilderness permit from the ranger station. Campfire permits are required for the national forest. No fires are allowed in King Canyon National Park above 10,000 feet. Note: Ferry takes you to trailhead and makes several scheduled trips per day, conditions permitting. A radio on the eastern shore allows you to call for additional service. If you bypass the ferry and take the connector trail, you will add another 4 miles to your trip, in each direction. The late-season drop in the reservoir level may affect ferry service. The Muir Trail Ranch does not encourage visits from non-guests.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (28)
Photos (128)
Recordings (26)
Completed (55)
Gabriela Giusta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2020
Backpacking

Such a memorable backpacking trip! I had heard from many thru hikers that Evolution Valley was the absolute best. This trek met every expectation I had plus some! Beautiful alpine lakes, waterfalls, and my God the meadows. The McClure Meadow is one of the most beautiful meadows I have ever seen! On the way back, check out the Blayney hot springs - they are magical! You have to cross a river to get to them. They are past the Muir Trail Ranch.

Jason Meade
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
Hiking

My wife and I did the trek in June with our 9 month old in tow. The first day we stopped at the Florence lake bridge. The ferry was not running yet. The next day we made it up to evolution valley. From there we day packed to evolution lake the third day. The fourth day we packed back to the Florence lake JMT trail junction. The river is nice to camp by here. The final day we packed out. Those first four and last four miles are always the hottest. The ferry is worth it if it’s running.

Evgeny Ca
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
HikingGreat!

The best hike of my life. Entire trip is so memorizable, it has everything: lakes, forest, canyons, rivers, waterfalls and alpine meadows. One downside though: it's freaking hard. I have done it over 4 days - 3 nights and my backpack was around 42 pounds. That was a big mistake. Next time will have to aim to go under 30 pounds.

Tammy Orozco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
Backpacking

This was an absolute must do trail! We hiked up to Piute Creek the first day it was 13.1 miles since the ferry was not running on our hike up. Then we stayed there 1 night then hiked up to evolution valley. That was about 8 miles, we had wanted to camp at the meadow but was beat so made camp a couple miles sooner. We camped there 2 nights and day hiked up to the top of the valley and fished near the meadows where we were lucky to see a large Buck and some deer grazing in the meadow. It was breathtaking up there. So peaceful and tranquil. When we crossed the river it was only about knee deep and also like to mention NO mosquitoes so we were super lucky. On our way back down we hike about 13 miles and set up camp for the last night. Then got up and hiked to the ferry to see if it was running and what do you know it was! So we caught the 9:00am ferry across and bought a few things in the little store there. Pat was the captain of the ferry and Charlie ran the little store, nice couple. We would love to be back again sometime. Our total hiking miles over 5 days was 41.8 miles then we caught the ferry for the extra couple. Well worth every step!

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Mike Mayer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2019
Hiking

Great trail, not all of it is technically dog friendly since you enter King’s Canyon NP for the 2nd half. But we didn’t see any rangers.

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Martin Doettling
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2019
HikingBugs
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Kaitlyn Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2019
HikingBugsSnow

This was an amazing hike! I did a backpacking trip over the 4th of July weekend over 4 days, starting at Florence Lake, going up to Evolution Lake. We took the ferry both ways to save us some time and miles! Our goal was Sapphire lake, but there was still a ton of snow over the 4th and we didn’t have proper snow gear to cross over the pass from Evolution lake to Sapphire lake. It’s not an extremely hard hike; most of it is pretty gradual and flat in the meadows, but there are two sections of switchbacks: heading up into evolution valley and heading up to evolution lake, but they weren’t too bad. Mosquitos were pretty bad in the meadows, and none up at Evolution Lake, so I recommend bug spray! Evolution Lake was beautiful! We camped up there on our second night. There was still quite a bit of snow on the surrounding mountains and still ice in the lake. The stars up there were surreal. The most challenging part of the hike was crossing the river. The normal crossing is not recommended now due to the higher flow, so people have been crossing upstream a bit. It was challenging knowing exactly where to cross, we tried to find a place that looked shallow enough, however the water came up above my hips (I’m 5’2”) which was pretty scary because the current moved me quite a bit and the water was freezing! On our way back we crossed even more upstream, and thank goodness we did, because it was a lot shallower there (water came up right below my hips) which made it much easier to cross. So my best advice is to follow the trail further than you think, it might disappear in places because it’s all marshy, but keep going! For trail conditions and more details about this hike, check out my YouTube Video I made from this backpacking trip on my channel: Kiki’s Adventures

Steve Austin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2018
Hiking

This was hands down one of the best hikes I've done in the High Sierras. We made a few mistakes that cost us a lot of time, however....we didn't take the ferry out, and lost the trail around the lake - a mistake that cost us several hours to climb over boulders and ledges. The ferry is $25 roundtrip, or $13 one way. I recommend taking the ferry to avoid the lake hike; the view doesn't much change, and there's a lot of clutter around the lake campsites that take away from it. The hike isn't strenuous, and even the switchbacks didn't feel that bad. The views along the way make up for it. Saw plenty of deer, and other hikers saw a few bears in the meadows. Plenty of water along the trail and also plenty of places to camp. We fell about 2 miles short of the destination endpoint with loss of daylight...lesson learned, if this is a short weekend excursion, you need to get there early and push through hard. I'll be going back next weekend into the Evolution Basin higher up. Pictures posted.

Lauren Wolfe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2017
Backpacking
Drew Maran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2020
Backpacking
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Drew Maran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Backpacking
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Ryan Throckmorton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2020
OHV/Off Road Driving
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Michael Gorham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2019
Hiking
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Marc Vassallo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2019
Hiking
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Steve Lampert
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 29, 2019
Hiking
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Jim Hancock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 28, 2019
Hiking
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Brandon Ripley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2019
Hiking
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Jim Hancock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 25, 2019
Backpacking
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Goran Ruzic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2019
Hiking
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Bojan Obradovic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2019
Hiking
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Holly McMurray
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2019
Hiking
Holly McMurray
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 1, 2019
Hiking
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Noah Schrader
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2019
Hiking
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Ben Wilkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2018
Hiking
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Melissa TenKate
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2018
Hiking
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Canon Bukhari
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 30, 2018
Backpacking
Steve Clark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 25, 2016
Backpacking
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Kyle Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 22, 2013
Hiking
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