Monarch Lakes Trail [CLOSED] is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Three Rivers, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from July until October.

Length8.4 miElevation gain2650 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeClosedFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (7)
Contact
Tips

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. A day hike from Mineral King Valley to Monarch Lakes and back. The hike from Mineral King to Monarch Lakes is 4.2 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 2500ft.The hike starts at an elevation of 8000 and reaches 10400ft at Lower Monarch Lake. This is a moderately difficult hike and is best done as a day hike. This seems to be a popular route for backpackers who go past the sawtooth pass to columbine lakes. Note: The road leading to the trailhead is closed in the winter.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks 47050 Generals Highway Three Rivers, California 93271-9700 By Phone:1-559-565-3341 By Fax:1-559-565-3730

The 25 mile long road to Mineral King Valley from Three Rivers takes about 90 minutes to drive. So if you are planning to come in hike and get out of the valley, plan accordingly. Acclimatization at high altitude will definitely help since the hike reaches about 10400ft at Lower Monarch Lake. Talk to a ranger about the marmot problem during spring and early summer.

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Reviews (104)
Photos (249)
Recordings (87)
Completed (269)
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Kyle Burdges
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 28, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great hike. Little sketchy to drive to, but totally worth it. Lake was gorgeous and temperature was perfect.

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Kyle Burdges
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 28, 2020
Hiking

Great hike! Sketchy drive to get to but totally worth it. Lake at the top was beautiful and not overcrowded.

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Paul Benedict
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2020
Hiking

Such a chill hike. We barely saw anybody hiking here. Once we got to the lake, it was magical. Nobody in sight and we took a dip in the cool water. Ended up hanging out here before heading back to our car.

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Kyle Donovan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
Hiking

A beautiful, well graded hike through such varying terrain. With a lake split between a half Moon, half Mars ampitheater. The granite and waterfalls leading down into the lake are outstanding. Tons of deer and Marmots along the way.

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Christian Eckert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 23, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Single overnight to Lower Monarch Lake and back 8/20/2020. Trek up with a pack on is a slight challenge, especially the first mile or so. Trail really mellows out and is well designed, a nice subtle grade the rest of the way. Amazing views (despite smoke). Monarch Lake was amazingly swimmable, warm water, lots of small trout. Pit toilet is nice to have but provides no privacy really, just a heads up. Saw many marmots, grouse, and a fawn. Up took 4hrs, down took 2.

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James Donaldson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 21, 2020
Hiking

Counter clockwise. Saw tooth was a loose scramble up so decide which steep accent you prefer. Coming down Black rock is no joke. All the lakes on this hike make it worth it. Spectacular scenery and worth every bit of the work you put in.

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Brooke Martin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Trail was moderately difficult, but the views were worth it. Take your swim suit ;)

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Nicholas Roache
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

Attempted for the second time to get to Sawtooth peak. We made it to upper monarch lake in just over 2.5 hours. Then we and tried to go around the south side of the mountain and make our way to the top. But it was extremely difficult to find the safest path up. We ended up running out of time and came back. Still a beautiful hike, and upper monarch lake is beautiful!

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Mark Baird
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2020
Hiking
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K. Bourne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingGreat!

Hiked this on 8/1/20. Would rate this as moderate difficulty. The steepest part is the fist mile or so up from the parking lot, but the majority of the elevation gain is from all the switchbacks. Definitely bring a hat since the fist and last parts don't have any tree cover. Spotted deer and marmots on the trail. Perfect day hike.

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Theron Hayes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful at every turn! More lakes and waterfalls than I could count A very full day with some challenging terrain around sawtooth

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Morgan Rosenberg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Really gorgeous hike with amazing views and great plant and wildlife! The first part is the toughest and you feel the elevation the whole way up, but totally worth it! Definitely add in time to hang out at the lake and swim. If you’re going in the summer, remember to bring tarp and rope/bungees to seal up the underside of your car. The marmots (groundhogs) apparently like to bite tires and pipes.

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Zach Stuckey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

My girlfriend and I started this hike at 9am, it took us a little over 4 hours to get up there but we like to stop and take lots of pictures. This trail has stunning views! The beginning of the trail is the hardest with the steepest incline. Have fun!

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Ned Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyRocky

I started the hike at 5am and encountered a family of deer as I approached my first mile of the hike. There was a river of cold fresh water. Make sure to wzat mosquito repellent!

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Yongwan Kim
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 26, 2020
HikingRockySnow
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Christie Artis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
HikingSnow

This trail is so gorgeous. We hiked it 6/13/20 and there was still snow on the trail in a few spots. Passable with poles are careful footing. Due to the snow it took 3 hours up and 2 hours down and it was 9.5 miles round trip.

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Haylee Maxwell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 14, 2020
HikingSnow
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4K Nature Hikes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2020
Hiking

One of our favorite hikes in Sequoia! Full virtual hike on youtube: https://youtu.be/nk5vu5czCSA Great for trip planning or treadmill training!

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Robbie Zhuang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2019
Hiking

Challenging uphill right from the beginning but it levels out a quarter way through. The views across the trail are fantastic. Definitely recommend aiming to be climbing down right before sunset to see some beautiful golden lights. The drive to the trailhead is a slow 1.5h drive for 30mi on windy mountain road.

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Kelsey Young
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 15, 2019
Hiking

The trail was amazing and an awesome climb. Took us 2:10 to ascend, 1:45 to descent. The first section is completely exposed and the toughest, so have a hat and wear sunscreen. However I think there are more stunning destinations near by than Monarch Lake, and the trail head is at the end of Mineral King road which is about 25 miles of extremely narrow and windy turns. It took about 1:30 to drive up Mineral King to the trail head, and 1:20 to come down. The road is closed in the winter.

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Dylan Marks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 16, 2019
Hiking

Quick little climb. I’ve done this stretch to Monarch before and it’s always a beautiful warm up for Sawtooth.

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Javier Martinez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 24, 2018
Hiking

Awesome little hike! First mile gets you broke in pretty well, after crossing the creek and getting into the wooded area, it’s fairly easy going. Take your time, remember your up over 9k ft elevation and still climbing! Did not make it up to Upper Monarch as I got a late start and I was running out of daylight. Logged just over 10 miles and the entire hike took me about 4.5 hours. Awesome views of the Mineral King Valley.

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Skyler Ahmed
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 16, 2018
Backpacking

Highly recommend trekking poles if you have a heavy pack. If you’re staying overnight there is a bear box and latrine (albeit without an enclosure) at the lower monarch lake. When we overnighted we were informed there were no open fires allowed above 9,000’ so plan accordingly. Beautiful views and a beautiful little lake, you’ll probably see other people there during the day at least.

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AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2018
Hiking

This is such a wonderful hike. It is difficult, with the first mile and a half being the hardest and most exposed. It's also the worst part when returning - steep, hot, and your feet are dying to rest. We clocked in 11.3 miles on this hike, not 8.4, but we also went to the upper monarch lake as well (worth it). This was a surprisingly shady hike for the most part and the water at Monarch is very cold but refreshing. We had the first lake to ourselves for close to 30 minutes and it was wonderful. Love that the Mineral King area has relatively few visitors compared to the main part of the park. Just a note, the trail splits at one point and the other trail leads to Crystal lake. That is an unmaintained trail. So if you don't feel like dealing with some scrambling, I recommend doing Monarch instead.

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Ellen Sebastian
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 25, 2018
Hiking

NPS website is not lying when they said "start early because it's a west-facing slope". The first mile was incredibly hot and sunny in the afternoon. After the first mile, it gets much easier. it took me 3pm-10pm including lots of picture-taking and slow progress on the way up. Saw many marmots and grouse. If you hear a deep "whoop whoop whoop whoop", that's the male grouse's mating call. This year, going earlier in the season would've meant fewer mosquitoes, less heat, and less crowds if you're also visiting Lodgepole. Late May-early june would be ideal this year. June in years when there's heavier snowfall. The views were pretty good but I wish I had hiked Eagle Lake instead, considering I started late.

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

Beautiful hike, be prepared to cross snow fields early in the season before reaching the lower lake.

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