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Florence Lake to Evolution Valley

HARD 21 reviews
#24 of 96 trails in

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.

Distance: 30.7 miles Elevation Gain: 3,772 feet 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

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.

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.

hiking
bugs
snow
2 months ago

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

hiking
Monday, August 27, 2018

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.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

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3 months ago

hiking
Friday, September 28, 2018

hiking
Sunday, September 02, 2018

backpacking
Saturday, June 30, 2018

backpacking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

hiking
Thursday, August 22, 2013

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