Mineral King Loop [CLOSED] is a 49.9 mile lightly trafficked loop 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 May until September.

Length49.9 miElevation gain11,489 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsBird watchingRunningForestLakeViewsWildlifeClosedFeeNo dogs
Description
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Note: As of October 2020, the Mineral King area and surrounding wilderness areas are closed due to the SQF Complex Fire. For updates, please visit https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/conditions.htm Sequoia National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot or bike the fee is $20 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70. This route starts at the Sawtooth pass trail head in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park. Mineral King is a little known section of Sequoia. The hiking area starts a 7700 ft. of elevation, where the ranger station is. The trail climbs to the Franklin Lakes and the Franklin Pass. On the other side the route goes down and around the Forrester and Little Claire Lakes. A classic itinerary in this area is to return to Mineral King through the Sawtooth Pass but our route continues towards the Big Five and Little Five Lakes and then on to the Black Rock Pass. After that, a long descent leads to the Cliff Creek crossing and then up to the Timber Gap. From there, it’s all down to the car. In total it’s 37.6 miles and 10680 ft. of elevation gain in 5 days with a maximum altitude of almost 12000 ft.

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Reviews (17)
Photos (17)
Recordings (8)
Completed (55)
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Blake Richard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2020

If anyone finds an orange Nathan hydration vest please send me a text. it was about 2.5-3 miles in close to the dividing sign that leads to you either monarch or crystal lake! 949-402-6570

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Kerry Bennett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2020
Hiking
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Omar Alonzo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2020
HikingGreat!

the most beautiful views are the hardest to get to.

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Jack Leitner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020
Backpacking

Simply an amazing trek. I highly recommend tenting at Franklin Lakes and the little five lakes if you get the option. Also, be slightly wary of the elevation if you're a sea level creature, I came across two separate people that were having issues and had to go back down and out. Consider a night of acclimating if you know you're sensitive.

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Marcus King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2020
Hiking

This was an epic hard hike. Various maps and even the All Trails mileage accounts were wrong. The loop from Franklin Gap to Timber gap is a solid 49.8 miles. Water is generally plentiful with a few exceptions. If you get below a liter of water be mindful to get water soon. The route is all about climbing. Franklin Pass is tough and the decent is tougher. It’s sandy and then gets rocky....very technical. We got some good intel from a hiker and stayed at Forrester Lake on night two. It’s lovely and the fishing is great too. The ascent to The Lost Canyon intersection is difficult after a long day of hiking. The final climb was exhausting. Next stop was Little Five lakes. No knock on Big Five Lakes but Little Five Lakes is the place to stay and there are Rainbow trout to be had. The westerly ascent up Black Rock Pass is tough with pitches as much as 37% but I’m glad we did it from East to West. Had we come up from Pinto to Black Rock Pass that would have been a whole other monster. We saw several weary groups making their way up from Pinto. Water is in short supply on the western face. Pinto Lake ( no lake) has a lovely stream. Make sure to look for a good camping spot. Walk 200-300 yard off trail and you’ll find the better spots. Pinto Lake to the Timber Gap trail head is a tough 11 mile haul but the scenery is epic. The hike is mixed with epic views and forest bathing. All in all a great hike for experienced hikers. Training is highly recommended.

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Chelsea Tom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
BugsRocky

Did a 4 night backpacking trip over 4th of July Weekend and it was amazing! Hiked it clockwise so we had the pleasure of hiking up the difficult black rock pass on the 2nd day. Either direction you hike will have a decent amount of incline, but it truly was worth every step. Lots of campsites with bear lockers, beautiful lakes and definitely not crowded, even for a holiday weekend! No bear sightings, but lots of little marmots. Also just a note if camping at Monarch Lake, although beautiful, there's no shade at all so it gets hot. after completing this backpacking trip, we also felt that it would be doable to do it in 3 nights if we had just rested a bit after hiking down sawtooth pass at Monarch lake. The hike back to the trail head from Monarch lake is 4 miles of steady downhill. Enjoy!!

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Michael Updegraff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 18, 2020
Hiking

Did this last August. Spectacular. Two passes at 11,500 feet is a real test. Beautiful scenery, few other people. Do it!

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Claire Parisa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2019
Backpacking

Completed this loop over Labor Day weekend (4 days). It's a tough one with all the elevation gain and altitude. I would recommend staying at least 1 night, preferably 1 night + 1 day at altitude before attempting. In our group everyone felt the altitude at different points. The views were spectacular, and the lakes serene (good swimming). No issues with snow, mosquitoes were annoying at points but not too bad. Some of the passes are quite exposed, so go over them morning or evening, if you can. Trout were abundant, especially in Little Claire Lake. Definitely felt at times like a stairmaster - in a good way! Go counterclockwise, and stop often to admire the beauty and how far you've come.

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Jon Bartelt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2019
Backpacking

I backpacked a variation of this route and absolutely loved it. We hiked over Sawtooth Pass and then went through Big Five Lakes and Little Five Lakes. Then we headed up over the Kaweah Gap and camped at Precipice Lake (gorgeous!). From there, we hike along the High Sierra Trail to Bearpaw Meadows and then hiked out to Mineral King via the Timber Gap Trail. This is one of my favorite loops! Here is a report I wrote that describes the route with a lot of pictures and maps: https://backpackers-review.com/trip-reports/sequoia-mineral-king/

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Michale Chernyshov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 16, 2018
Backpacking

Did this trail going clockwise (last day was going over sawtooth pass). Did this trip in 4 days with a buddy and both of us wished we had an extra day to camp out by one of the lakes. This is a hike that offers an all in one package. Waterfalls(at least 5), tons of lakes, cliffs, mountains, swamp, woods, etc.... It’s my all time favorite!

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Dan Boutiette
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2017

We did Timber Gap to Frankiln Pass,Black rock pass is pretty tough from this way but very rewarding. Over all just a beautiful trek and loved every minute of it! We took 6 days to do this route.

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Rebecca Griswold
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2017
Hiking
First to Review

The trail start is actually Franklin Trailhead. If you are reserving a permit, indicate Franklin at the start.

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Ray Estrada
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Hiking
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Ian Britt
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Hiking
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Jean-François Thill
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Hiking
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Chu Cap
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Hiking
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Lesley Davidson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 15, 2018