Silver Lake to the Minarets Loop

MODERATE 2 reviews
#4 of 10 trails in

Silver Lake to the Minarets Loop is a 30.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near June Lake, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
30.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
7267 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

fly fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

horseback riding

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

2 months ago

backpacking
9 months ago

My wife and I hiked this loop last July and it is one my favs for sure. The Ritter Range is something to see. I mapped out this route myself and it turned out to be a good one. We were going to spend 6 nights, but we cut it short by one night as we had done all we wanted to anyway. Starting at Silver Lake, it climbs steady to Agnew Lake, then another pretty good climb from there to Gem Lake. It mellows out a bit after Gem Lake as it follows Rush creek thru the woods towards Waugh Lake A really nice stretch right there. One last little pitch to get up to Waugh Lake and then a nice walk around the north side of the lake. We made this our first nights spot. There weren't a ton of camp spots, but there are a few as you get to the west end of the lake. Pretty windy all day our first day, and that night as well. The next day we packed up and were headed for Garnet Lake as our next stop. Once on the JMT, we started our climb to Island Pass. What a great view from up there in all directions. Great photos from this spot. Then down to 1000 Island Lake. All the lakes were great. Each one with it's own character to it. The view of Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak just kept changing the further south we walked along the JMT. Then we did another little up and down stretch between 1000 Island Lake and Garnet Lake. Finding a nice spot to camp at Garnet lake was a little more difficult. I did find what looked to be a possibility on Google earth before we left home, and that's where we wound up. No shade, but it had all the other criteria. Close to water, a level spot for the tent and privacy. The next mornings reflection shots on the lake were perfect. Worth getting up early for. From Garnet we hiked along the JMT until the cutoff to Ediza Lake. That was our 3rd and 4th nights destination. Again, found my camp spot from my research on Google earth. Great spot and we enjoyed our 2 nights there. On our off day, we hiked up to Iceberg Lake, and hoped to get to Cecile as well. But the amount of snow along the south east shore of Iceberg was such that I wasn't risking a slide into the lake. We settled for that as being our furthest point on this trip. Incredible spot with the Minarets right in your face . Then back to our campsite after and I wanted to do one more jaunt. So up towards Banner and Ritter I went. My wife bowed out of this one. Another incredible spot to be standing right below these two peaks. Water pouring down everywhere from above. Had the place to myself. High country at its best. The next day we packed up and headed down Shadow creek all the way to the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. We crossed the bridge over the river and then got on the river trail north. We hiked all the way to the Clark Lakes that day. A long haul, and Agnew pass at the very end was something we hadn't planned on. Super steep and really kicked our butts. I again found our camp spot from previous searches on Google earth. Great spot with a huge view. The next morning we hiked back to our truck down a really steep trail, back past Agnew Lake on the opposite side , and then back to Silver Lake on the last 2 miles or so that we had been on before. Great loop. Another Sierra hike off the list. This area of the Ansel Adams Wilderness is a must do!!