Heather Lake, Emerald Lake, and Pear Lake Trail via Watchtower and Pear Lake Trails

HARD 129 reviews
#2 of 84 trails in

Heather Lake, Emerald Lake, and Pear Lake Trail via Watchtower and Pear Lake Trails is a 13.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Red Fir, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

DISTANCE
13.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2992 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

no dogs

A short section of the trail that lies past the Watchtower/Hump trail intersection is closed for the winter months annually due to icy conditions and steep cliffs. This When it is closed you will need to use the Hump Trail to access Heather, Aster, Emerald, and Pear Lakes. (https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/heather-lake-and-pear-lake-via-hump-trail-winter-route) All the lakes on the trail are beautiful and have fish. Plenty of great camp spots to choose from. Amazing views. Be aware of wildlife and pack out all of your trash.

backpacking
3 days ago

Heard this was the trail to do in Sequoia National Park so I went ahead and tried it! Solo, overnight. Relied heavily upon Alltrails app to guide me through. I couldn't make it to Pear lake due to the snow being extra thicc ;) so decided to spend the night at Emerald Lake which was amazing. I Went on a friday and literally saw 5 people the entire time. Even had emerald lakes campground all to myself! Pick up a self-register permit at the Giant Forest Museum! Lodgepole visitor center was closed when I was here, save yourselves some time :)

The Lakes were all frozen during the time I went, Please be careful if you decide to walk on them. Use your best judgement!

backpacking
1 month ago

This was an amazing hike! My goal was to backpack overnight at Pear Lake, but I went last Wednesday when Sequoia got a ton of snow. I was caught in the snow throughout the hike but made it to Heather Lake. It was completely frozen over, and it was snowing so badly I couldn’t even tell where the lake was until I was almost on top of it. The snow completely covered the trail, and I couldn’t find the trail to Emerald Lake after arriving at Heather Lake. That and it was super cold and very snowy. I don’t recommend going when it’s snowing! I was the only person out there with the exception of one group of about 3 people. If you do go in the winter, definitely have microspikes. I left mine in the car to save weight in my heavy pack, and the trail was completely clear of snow when I started. Biggest mistake! I ate it really bad many times on the thick sheet of ice that was blanketed by the fresh snow. Still a beautiful hike that I can’t wait to complete (to Pear Lake) in the spring.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
2 months ago

Took my buddy here for his first over night and it was awesome. All the lakes on the trail are beautiful. Saw a bear on the hike up to Pear Lake. Camped at Pear lake and the sunset was like nothing I have ever seen in my life. Pear Lake was nice, they do have restrooms there; however, when I go back I will definitely be camping at Emerald Lake. Caught fish in every lake. Make sure you take the watchtower trail up AND back. The other trail, can't remember the name, is ridiculously challenging!!!

backpacking
2 months ago

The trail to Pear Lake is just about my all time favorite. I’ve hiked it for many years now, and I love taking new backpackers here. It’s perfect for the beginner, as well as the experienced. I have made a video about several of my hikes to Pear Lake on YouTube. You can search for: Four Feet Up, Pear Lake. Hope you enjoy it!

hiking
3 months ago

I hiked this trail as a day hike and wow it has become one of my most favorite trails ever! Views are incredible and views from the top are also incredible and surreal as well. Strenuous and well worth the hike! Next time I'm backpacking this for sure!

backpacking
3 months ago

I took this trail for a solo backpacking trip, and let me tell you... it did not disappoint. The lakes were beautiful, the weather was perfect (I went at the end of October) and the trail was fairly quiet. There were maybe 3 other groups who camped out at pear lake other than myself, so it wasn't too crowded. The elevation gain was steady and not too terrible. Definitely take the trail via watchtower, because there are some magnificent views. It was a little chilly at night (around 31F), but if you have a good sleeping bag, you'll be fine! Would definitely hike this trail again.

hiking
3 months ago

I spent a couple of months in Sequoia/KC this past summer and this was probably my favorite day hike of all. I started my hike late in the day and was only able to make it to Emerald Lake before having to turn back; it still supplied me with some of the most memorable views from my Sequoia summer.

I took the hump route on the way up and down, which I don't recommend. It was just steep, tedious, and relatively unimpressive. Take the watchtower up and the hump route down, as someone suggested below. Saw what looked like some mountain lion (or other large animal) scat, so be aware. The trail was in great condition when I hiked it and I'd most certainly go again!

backpacking
4 months ago

Awesome hike. The alpine lakes are beautiful! Encountered a bear on the trail about 5 minutes into this hike (which was awesome) but definitely be on the look out.
When you get to the split in the trail go up the watch tower route. Don’t bother with the hump route. The views are way better with watch tower and it isn’t as steep

4 months ago

Great trail with epic views! Recommend taking the Watchtower route to be amazed by the Tokopah Valley below. While Pear Lake is the final destination on this route, don’t discount camping at Emerald Lake. Both are extremely rewarding locations on this challenging yet totally doable hike. A must for Sequoia lovers!

backpacking
4 months ago

Somewhat tough trail, but the views are totally worth it. We camped at Pear Lake, and were the only people there.

4 months ago

Love this hike good over night pack. A little Challenging. Good to go watchtower in and the hump trail out

5 months ago

Great backpacking trip. One of the shortest hikes to get to view real back country scenery. Fishing was great.

backpacking
5 months ago

I've been hiking this place since I was a teen. Lots of fun. I wouldn't call it a difficult hike if your in shape. Tons to see and enjoy. Bad thing is it's very popular now. Try to catch it during the week and try to hike past the first lake. Other wise You'll be stuck with the weekend hikers that don't know how to talk about any thing other then social media. Lol over all a fun hike.

5 months ago

Amazing. We hiked this trail out and back in about 6 hrs. Including a swimm brrrrrrrrrrr cold. and some down time at the lake. Amazing views and prestine scenery. It was a bit of a trek on the way in a lot of uphill but the lake and the views were the ultimate payoff. The first two lakes are nice but if you have the strength and willing to go the extra two miles you will see why it far exceeds the views of the lakes below. Probably one of the most amazing hikes in the park.

backpacking
6 months ago

Thoroughly exhausting and thoroughly exhilarating! Four of us spent two nights at Emerald Lake below Pear - we all thought the sites there were nicer. Plenty of mosquitos. Another mile to Pear for a day hike. Highly recommended: add another mile with an excursion down the Pear Lake drainage, past the Ranger hut to view the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River rushing down the granite slopes on the way to the canyon below. Stunning! Then bushwhack back up to the main trail. No campfires at Emerald or Pear, but bear boxes and vault toilets (yay!) at both.

hiking
6 months ago

Like Alpine Lakes? My brother and I hiked this as a day hike, went past 4 different alpine lakes and was absolutely stunning. Not an easy climb, bring hiking poles if you want to save stamina. Defiantly doable with hiking poles for non-avid hikers.

Go via the watchtower if it's open, easier and better views

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful! Wildflowers still in bloom, delicious lakes and stunning views.

6 months ago

its a must see... saw one bear on the way in and another on the way out

hiking
6 months ago

My 10 year old daughters first overnight. It was perfect.

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