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Twenty Lakes Basin Loop Trail is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lee Vining, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 7.8 mi Elevation gain 777 ft Route type Loop
Dog friendly Backpacking Fishing Hiking Horseback riding Mountain biking Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Snow No shade
Description
Waypoints (8)
Tips

This trail is closed until at least 10/09/2020, for more information, see the park website here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea/?recid=21879 A day hike around beautiful lakes in the eastern Sierra, just outside the east entrance to Yosemite on Tioga pass. This alpine basin studded with lakes and ringed by spectacular mountains appeals to hikers seeking exceptional scenery without the stiff elevation gains required of most lakes in northern Yosemite Twenty Lakes Loop is a beautiful hike that starts from the Saddlebag lake (10,000ft) and takes you around some of the most amazing alpine lakes. You get great views of the near by peaks: North Peak and Mt. Conness. This is an easy hike if you are acclimatized to the altitude. You might feel short of breath if you just arrived and started hiking, since the trail head is at 10,000ft. The section of trail between Shamrock Lake and Lake Helen is often covered with snow into late season. Be prepared to climb down a steep rock near the lower crossing of Mill Creek. The hike is about 8 miles but if you take the water taxi across the saddlebag lake, you can cut down a couple of miles, allowing small children to enjoy a short segment of the hike. The Saddlebag Lake Resort boat taxi operates July through early September. Wear sturdy shoes as this is a rocky hike.

The tickets for the water taxi are available from the Saddlebag lake store at the trail head. Before starting the hike, arrange your pickup time with the boat-taxi skipper. Do carry enough water and don't forget your camera. There are a lot of hikers during the weekend. A weekday may be a less busy.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (214)
Photos (606)
Recordings (172)
Completed (430)
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Hank Read
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 24, 2020
Camping

spectacular. spent a week here off trail. cant get lost. all over 10000 ft. no fires because its above tree line. just outside the east boundary of Yosemite. 2miles past the park exit turn north just à few miles. campground,store, and after your ferry ride . ferry across saddle bag lake if u like can literally hike 20 min and camp at a lake. down side is your à little exposed so when its 75 and clear you can get baked.... so choose camp site well. questions? email me HANK gergen23@gmail.com Don't forget side trip to Gardisky lake on the way in. camped there for a nite. Steep but not too long. all alone.. beauty.

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Sharath Maidargi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 31, 2020
Hiking

The 20 Lakes Basin Hike is now open. Hike starts from Saddlebag lake. The road to the trailhead is a little bumpy but sedans should be fine. We started the hike from right side of Saddlebag lake and finished a 8.2 mile loop. If we are going again, we would start with left side of Saddlebag lake(walking on the bridge and starting the hike) as left side was really beautiful and walk back the same path after shamrock lake.

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Stéphane Ormand
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 31, 2020
HikingGreat!

The best trail ever for me. Perfect wild. A mix of mountain landscape and lakes ... a noisy silence !! Better to download the map before

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Ran Oren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous trail.

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V M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 15, 2020
Mountain bikingRocky

It was a little too rocky and technical to be fun for me on the mountain bike. I would’ve enjoyed this much more as a hike.

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B Baecker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2020
HikingClosed

Note that this trail is closed as of 10/2/2020 to at least 10/9/2020 per the sign we saw on the approach road

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zach schiavone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

Trail was great, a little rocky at Helen lake and shamrock lake. Views are incredible. We finished in 5 1/2 hours with frequent stops.

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Sylveen Kenney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2020

Anyone know if boat is running at this time

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dawn harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
HikingRocky

A beautiful hike in the Eastern Sierra with many glacial lakes and high mountain peaks. The TH starts at 10,000 feet and you don’t have a lot of ascent or descent which makes this an easy to moderate trail. There is one section of rock scrambling...to get up to Shamrock Lake but stay towards the mountain wall or you could lose the trail. So much beauty! This will be a favorite for me and my dog for years to come. Well backpack next time to spend more time exploring around North Peak! There is a lot of shale on the trail around Helen Lake, but in all a well maintained trail. I saw people but not overly used. A trail you could take the kiddos.

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George Marro
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 21, 2020
Hiking
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Jim Hunter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 21, 2020
Hiking

This was an great day hike or for anyone looking for an overnighter. Several amazing lakes and views. There were some challenging areas keeping on track but never to hard to realign. All-Trails or a GPS make it easy.

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Dale Ferrario
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 17, 2020
Hiking

Definitely rocky - but worth the hike!

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Rebecca Duncan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020

Could be done in a day, but we spent a couple nights and really enjoyed the wonderful views. The trail was easy enough with 35 pound packs. The trail does have a lot of rocks to traverse over, some scrambling, and a couple creek crossings. We stayed at Shammrock Lake the 1st night and Hummingbird Lake our 2nd night. We got to Hummingbird Lake early in the afternoon, heard it was the warmest of the lakes in the loop, and decided to take a quick dip. A perfect backpacking trip for those who want to enjoy some down time, who are getting back into backpacking, or are just beginning to backpack. Happy hiking!

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Phil Di Leo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeOff trailRockyScramble

We hiked along the left side and went counter-clockwise. We lost the trail at a few spots but were able to find it again pretty easy. We got caught in hail/rain for a little bit and didn't find much cover. Highly recommend tacking the boat taxi on the way back. It's $10 a person (in cash) and saved us from the last portion. The guys are friendly and their dog will do tricks for your leftover snacks if you ask the guys.

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Rj Brushia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2020
BackpackingNo shadeRockyScramble

I would only rate this trail as moderate to easy for day hikers, not those with small kids or those carrying heavy packs. The first part of the trail near Saddlebag Lake is easy enough, and generally in good condition, but the back half of the loop between Shamrock and Odell can be pretty rocky and steep at the same time. Five of us went in for a few days, and I had a 45 pound pack. I felt the loose rock in that area was sometimes a hassle, and the smaller kids in the party had a bit of a rough time with it. Also, the trail can sometimes be a little difficult to follow in the area between Shamrock and Helen. But, it is a very beautiful area and overall worth any difficulty presented by the loose rock on the trails. Just be aware if you are staying a while and have little ones. Also, at elevation the sun and wind take a toll. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Take your time, you will enjoy it more.

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Varun Gupta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

better than I expected. Wish I had camped at one of the lakes. Not strenuous, not too much scrambling, but plenty of scree

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Brian Sakhuja
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 1, 2020
BackpackingBugsRockyScramble

Nice trail though it gets rocky/scrambly for a significant potion of it.

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John Brunton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

This trail is in a high alpine setting so be prepared for your lungs to burn. My family did the hike on day 4 in the mountains so we were all acclimated to the altitude. There are lakes around every corner and breathe taking scenery the whole hike. The trail gets a little hard to find from Lake Helen to Shamrock Lake so be sure to download the trail on the app beforehand, no cell service up there. If you decide on using the water taxi they require a mask to be worn by everyone. We did use the taxi and felt safe on the boat. We did bring hand sanitizer to use when we got off before starting the hike. Also the boat operator gave out fishing advice or hiking directions to the people on the boat. All in all a great hike that compares to the Little Lakes Valley. Probably two of the prettiest places on earth and a must do hike that should be on everyone’s to do list.

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Sarah Swanson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

I definitely recommend this hike! Beautiful views and water, you get the up in the mountains experience without needing to hike up the elevation. We took our time on the hike and had a few snack and one long lunch break along the way. Although the trail is dog friendly, may not be friendly for all dogs. There are some sections where you are walking over skree, and it takes an athletic and sure footed dog to confidently walk across it. If you start by walking across the damn like the trail map indicates, be warned that the bridge is grated and extremely hard for dogs to walk across. I ended up carrying my dog across . We took the long way back around saddle lake and the extra length was offset by it being a nicer trail.

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