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Franklin Lakes Trail is a 11.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Three Rivers, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

Length 11.2 mi Elevation gain 3,458 ft Route type Out & Back

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

No dogs

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Directions from Lookout Point Entrance: Drive eastward on Mineral King Road to the fork at the end. Follow the right side of the fork to the Eagle/Mosquito Parking Area. (This is the trailhead for the Eagle Lake Trail.) Walk back to the bridge that crosses the river and follow it. Turn right on the dirt road that leads to the Mineral King Pack Station. Pass the corral and look for the Farewell Gap Trail sign.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (54)
Photos (135)
Recordings (30)
Completed (107)
Gabriel Alarcon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
Hiking

Pretty hard if you’re not used to the elevation, but if you’ve done a few hikes over 5 miles you should be totally fine. The lake is AWESOME, I swam in it and had the best time ever. There were like 50 deer(s?) on the way and were super cool about me being there. 100% recommend getting a wilderness pass and staying the night up there. Also, no fees along the way.

View Gabriel's Recording
Steve Daniels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Beautiful hike. There are two stream crossings which can be tricky if it is early in the season and there is a lot of run-off due to heavy snow melt. Usually these crossings are no problem. There is a meadow east of the lake at the base of where the Franklin Pass trail start to ascend that can provide flat camping areas near a small stream. Otherwise the campsites in the lake area are quite high above the water. Be aware that elevation adjustment can be an issue, especially if you drive into the park that day and hike to the lake. You will experience about a 10,000 foot elevation gain.

Justin Luthey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2020
Hiking

Awesome lake views. Did it as a backpacking trip, then day hiked to Forester Lake the next day. Awesome campsite views and one bear box. Takes an effort to get from the campsites to the lake but worth it. Trail was well maintained and the 3-4 river crossings were not too difficult. Well-worth the effort.

jonathan pierce
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 1, 2019
Hiking

Great hike and on the tougher side if your not use to the elevation. Great fishing out of both lakes. Caught over 10 in the upper lake and about the same in the lower lake. Not very big fish but fun to catch and relase. Camp sites are pretty exposed as you dont have much tree growth but campsites are easy to find.

Ashley Hisey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 22, 2019

Just did this as a moderate backpacking overnighter with a group of 5 on a Friday. Picked up a walk-up permit the morning of since the more popular Mineral King loop from Timber Gap were already claimed. A steady but pretty climb about 5.7 miles up to the gorgeous lakes. Took some breaks since the elevation was getting to some of us. Plenty of campsites scattered around the trailside edge of the lake along with a bear locker! We had the lake to ourselves the whole day and night. Scrambled up to the ridge line to view the smaller of the two lakes and Rainbow Mountain. You also have the option of extending this into a longer loop.

Christie Marie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2019
Hiking

Not too many people on the trail today, but lots of deer, marmots, and pika. The lake was beautiful. If you park in the lot where the AllTrails GPS coordinates take you, the trailhead is about 0.3m down the road.

View Christie's Recording
Vera Urbanovich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 14, 2019
Hiking

The lake was very very pretty, the trail is long and sometimes boring. Not too many people though, which was very nice.

View Vera's Recording
Jessica Theisman
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No shadeRocky
View Jessica's Recording
Brendan Zachary
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BackpackingBugs
View Brendan's Recording
Jesse Belchamber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2019
BackpackingSnow

Just came back from here and the lake was stunning! There were two sections of the trail to Franklin Lakes that you would need an ice axe and crampons for but the rest of the trail was fine. The first Creek crossing was the worst, about 2' 6" high at the deepest point and fast moving so definitely something to be cautious of. The upper lakes were completely frozen over with snow on them still but the main lake was only 50% frozen. We were able to catch some small Brook trout from there. Marmots were everywhere so make sure to keep your things packed away any time you leave camp. Temperatures were around 40 at night and 60 during the day.

Sasha Nichols
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2019
Hiking

Hiked the trail last week for the third time in four years. Most snow I’ve seen this time of year. Several massive snow fields on the way up. Crampons or yak tracks highly recommended. The first crossing of Franklin Creek is difficult—very strong knee to thigh current. The campsite with the bear box is snow free. Lower lake is still 80% frozen, upper lakes 100%. A bazillion marmots. We attempted the pass with crampons and self arrest gear but could not make it. 90% snow covered once you get back on the trail past the campsite. Snow coverage as you almost reach the pass is at dangerous slopes. Still beautiful, just don’t expect to make it to Forester or Little Claire yet.

Sasha Nichols
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2019
Hiking

Permit is required for overnight camping at Franklin. Two great camp spots are perched above and next to the lake, one with a bear box. People also camp below the lower lake. Check conditions on the SKI trail conditions website before you head up. Lots of snow and ragging rivers right now.

johanna huss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 1, 2019
Hiking

Guys do you need a permit to go there ? :) Thank you

Sarah Palladino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2018
Backpacking

Absolutely stunning! This was one of the best backpacking trips of my life. Hiked in day 1 and spent two nights at the lake. On day 2 we hiked to the top of the pass and it was definitely worth it. We didn’t want to leave! We found a great secret place to camp in the area that’s was used as a quarry for the dam. Will be back!

Marcy Ryan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2018
Backpacking

Beautiful lake, and definitely hike up to the pass and see the view! The altitude was a bit tough for our group, had to stop and catch our breath a few times on the way up, but well worth the effort. The lake was pristine and we had a great swim after setting up camp.

Shawn Ellberg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2018

Hiked it 8-4-18. It is a pretty hard hike, but the views are incredible! A steady climb all the way there but worth it. Took Us 4 hrs up an 3 down with taking alot of pics along the way. Flowers almost all the way up with plenty of deer to spot. Trail path is good, but watch ankles towards the top the rocks get rough. Next time we're spending the night to explore the lake more.

Jacob Davison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2018
Backpacking

The trail was very strenuous but easy to follow and well worth it. The views going up the trail and at the lake were amazing, and the Brook trout fishing in the main lake was excellent.

Kermit Stevens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 12, 2018

Franklin lakes is one of my favorite hikes, beautiful views, random deer along the way. In any given summer I’ll day hike it a few times...

Simon Guérard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2018
Hiking

Nice walk, easy to follow, good speed. No snow (or barely any) as of late May.

Kathryn Young
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 30, 2017

This is my favorite backpacking stop in Mineral King. Gets a bit tiring about a mile before you get to the lower lake, but an absolutely wonderful place to set up camp. Beware of overly friendly marmots!

Connor Limburg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2017
Backpacking

Just hiked this yesterday. Unbelievable hike. So pretty. There were wild flower blooms along the trail for a good portion of it along with snow patches. It was not an easy hike with the gear I had (>40lbs and also my first solo backpacking trip) but it was so worth the views at the lake. Franklin Lake is gorgeous and the sunset is magnificent there.

Jessica Gallegos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2017
Backpacking

I'm concerned about camping here ... did you guys see bears? Should I bring any bear spray or something to help just in case I see one?

Angel Villegas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 2, 2017

Trail is nice and eazy with AWSOME veiws, however, not many places to camp at the lakes. we hike up Franklin Pass and into Forester Lake. Not much farther and a lot more spots to camp.

Keith Baughman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 30, 2016
Hiking

My favorite Mineral King hike. I'd definitely recommend camping at the first campsite with the bear box. It's an easy 5 minute hike to the dam, and then on to the shoreline.

Daniel Chupco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2016
Backpacking

Nice even accent to Franklin Lakes from the trail, does take a bit of getting used to as it is a 3000 ft gain. Lake is a nice Alpine Lake with excellent views back down the canyon and up towards Farewell Gap. Late season had few mosquitoes and flies, so very present. Easy rest spot before continuing up to the pass and over to Rattlesnake Canyon and up to Lake Forrester.

Michele Villa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2016

I tried earlier in season couldn't make it due the water fall. But tried again last week as a day hike and loved it so much that I went back for my first backpacking trip ever it was definitely more difficult with a 30 lb pack but still worth it:)

Michele Villa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 28, 2016
Hiking

Lots of water ways to cross we didn't make it past the 3 rd water ford it was way to powerful for us to chance only made it 3 miles in we turned back and hiked up Eagle lake still difficult but doable

Mark Huddleston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 2, 2013
Hiking

We've hiked this trail a few times before, but this was the first time that we ran into snow. The sun was out and the weather was awesome. We had a few marmots to deal with though. They stayed away from our gear. The trail had a variety of beautiful views; Wildflowers, waterfalls, pine trees, and snow covered granite. It is definitely a challenging trail but well worth the effort.

Aaron Leroi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2012
Camping
First to Review

Went on a 4 day trip to the Franklin Lakes this summer and had a great trip. The hike up strenuous so be in shape. Lower Franklin was nice and the fishing kept us busy. Took a quick hike to upper franklin (lots of boulder hopping) but it wasn't much besides really cold. I plan on doing this one again next year.

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