Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Big Pine with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
4 days ago

Four of us did this as a backpacking overnight this weekend, and for 3 of us it was our first time backpacking. We made it to the 2nd lake in 4 1/2 hours with packs and lots of breaks (we are in average shape.. only some of us hike regularly).
This trail was challenging and rewarding for a first time hiking with 20+ lb bags (we only hiked to the 2nd lake to camp and explored a few more lakes the next day). The trail is a very steady incline with some big stone steps here and there, but with trekking poles it was doable, even at altitude (I would describe it as "challenging" but far from "brutal"). What was somewhat brutal was camping in below 15 degrees ( my thermometer read closer to 10 than 15 at one point in the evening). Sleeping in the cold was not fun, but the sun really warmed us up in the morning.
On Saturday morning there was smoke from a forest fire which made the visibility poor, which was a bit discouraging, but we decided to go for it anyway. To the guy who said to us "Have fun breathing in smoke all night"... just so you know the wind came through and blew out all of the smoke that afternoon. We had perfectly clear weather that night and the next day.

hiking
5 days ago

Warning: if you’re out of shape. Beginner hiker. Please be prepared. Allow yourself and your group plenty of time to reach the lakes before it starts getting dark. This trail is hard for beginners like myself. I started off the trail at 630am. It took my group almost 5 and a half hours to get to the first lake. The second lake is just a short distance away. Maybe 10-15mins after the first lake. The views are amazing! Well worth the pain coming up and going down. It took 3 and a half hours to get back to the parking lot from the second lake.

Incredible hike and views!! Highly recommend. Be sure to take note of your turns and trailheads, as there are a lot of offshoot trails and it could be easy to take the wrong path on the way back!

hiking
17 days ago

Did all seven Lakes in one day, kind along but definitely worth it. The 1st mile or so it’s kind of cool but after you make that first thousand foot climb and hit the first lake the scenery is amazing. My favorite is fourth lake as it just kind of comes up on you thru a shirt spur off the main trail. Temple Crag is obviously the sight to see. Will def come back and head the Glacier Lake trail.

backpacking
19 days ago

Unreal view of temple crag at second lake. Best backpacking trip to date

Starts in the desert and progressively climbs into the mountains. There's some stunning views early on but the real rewards come when you start hitting the lakes. Lake 2 in particular is absolutely incredible. Temple Crag is one of the most breathtaking sights I've ever seen.

Found GoPro on this trail today, Saturday October, 27. Contact me if it yours.
Trail is great, i would rate it Moderate comparing to Kearsarge pass for example. You probably have another week to catch the fall colors. Winter is coming...

We did this day hike 2 weeks ago and I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. We did the loop passing by Lakes 1-4 and Black lake. Didn’t get to Lakes 5-7 and Palisades glacier since that’s another day hike. Started the hike at 9am, arrived at Lake 1 at 1pm, had a 30 minute lunch break at Lake 2 and moved on to Lakes 3, 4 and Black Lake. Had a bit of altitude sickness (lightheaded and headaches) as we descended from Lake 4. It was dark by the time we arrived at the trailhead by 7pm, so glad that I downloaded the maps since it helped a lot tracking our progress as we headed back to the trailhead in the dark. You do have to take your time with this hike since there’s spectacular scenery everywhere, especially Lakes 1 and 2, Temple Crag, Big Pine Creek, aspen groves along the way and lots of deer sightings along the way. Doing the loop on our way back also gave as another glimpse of Lakes 1 and 2 from the trail on the canyons above. I will definitely do this trail again in a heartbeat to see the rest of the lakes and the glacier!

Beautiful fall colors

hiking
27 days ago

Day Hike: Beautiful Scenery all around and unexpected on the stamina you really need to make it through the hike. It was 4 of us, we are active and work out except for one who recently started getting active .However, we had the trail challenging us from the beginning until we enter the canyon where the challenge became tougher. We started the hike at 8 am. The elevation rise as we hike and climb higher ofcourse and tougher it got, but we were still able to manage and continue through . We took about 5 breaks of 5minutes in total . I believe it took us 2 hrs and half to make it to the first lake . Then, second lake about 10 minutes or so. My heart rate as an active individual was between 150 to 165 almost the entire hike . Burned 1500 calories plus. The descend was the best because everything from there was a piece a cake . We left the second lake around 1:00 pm and came across a lot of backpackers, day hikers, fishers, and backpackers who were just arriving as we were leaving . You will come across a few people later on the day. I do not recommend people who have health problems to do this trail . I will say if you are not active prepare to me challenge mentally and physically . And for those who want to encourage friends who do not do any hikes or anything whatsoever. Prepare to take plenty of lakes . Overall beautiful .

hiking
1 month ago

My fiancé and I went yesterday! It was absolutely breathtaking! We also brought our 3 month old daughter with us in a baby carrier so the hike was a little bit difficult but definitely worth it! Started the hike around 1100 and ended up at the lake around 230 ish and took us a little less the 3 hours to get back down. Beyond beautiful!

Beautiful views and well worth the climb. Lakes are beautiful, and what you see in the pictures is what you see in real life. I want to go back and hike to the glacier one day.

Speechless. Exactly how it left us. Big Pine Lakes is absolutely breathtaking. By far one of the most beautiful places we’ve hiked. The trail is rated moderate but I will be honest when I say that this trail is more on the difficult end. Just my opinion. The hike is mostly incline and over 5-6 miles to the first lake. Completely worth it though. Very doable and many stop areas along the way. We saw deer and the fall leaves. Not to mention the beautiful scenery. We only went to lake two and it took us a total of 6hrs. We also stopped and took pictures in many places so that’s why it took a bit longer.

hiking
1 month ago

A wonder-filled hike with a little bit of everything: 5 lakes in the loop, waterfalls and streams, enough elevation gain to make it challenging and even more interesting, and plenty of places to stop and enjoy. This hike is easily one of my favorites, great for a day or a week. Did it a month ago and had to make sure I reviewed it.

backpacking
1 month ago

This was a great hike- planned on two nights but a snow system was a little heavier than we planned for so called it and headed back down.

Very few people on the trail on Friday- no more than a half a dozen going up and down the entire time. Saturday was a little heavier, but not a problem overall. Co-hiker was not ready for much more than Lake 1, but looking forward to the full loop and Palisade next time.

hiking
1 month ago

Best view ever!

This trail is at high altitude and there is a gain of 3000+ft. But it is gradual which makes it very possible for just about anyone with enough time to enjoy. The trail is exposed to the elements for the first 2 miles so a 6-7am start is recommended. On the trail I saw, 8 yr old kids with backpacking gear hitting it strong, a three legged dog running ahead of his crew, a couple of men over 250lbs, and if I had my babies in my backpack, it wouldn’t have stopped me from enjoying this AMAZING trail. The beauty about this trail is that there is so much to enjoy along the way. The creek provides so many places to enjoy a break, a dip, or whatever. Whether you do the “whole loop” or not, it shouldn’t matter. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can or cannot hike period. Walk the whole thing up to Canada or walk up 300ft, at least you got outside. Enjoy my friends. This is an incredible hike. Bring at least 1.5 liters if you don’t drink much like myself but much more if you have littles. Maybe take a hammock too.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, clean air clean trail amazing views

All fails at its best....posting reviews from people that didnt do the hike......turning back at lake 2 is
not what this hike is about....if you dont do the hike don't comment.....difference between turning back at lake 2 and completing the hike is about 1400 feet elevation gain....not for kids or quiters....if you do the hike, one of the best in the Eastern Sierra, but probably should be rated "hard" as you can see most people don't complete the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Did the hike back in August, the weather was perfect. Went all the way to 6th lake, wish I had got a overnight pass so I could enjoy the lakes more. Incredible views & when the wind blows just right you can feel the chill breeze from the glacier.

Great quiet trail. Lots of climbing but not big steps. As mentioned river crossing earlier this year was impassable without literally swimming across a section higher up than the normal crossing. Late this season it was easy. Right now (mid September) it was pretty cool in the early afternoon, and zero bugs. Tom Harrison map says it is 11.2 miles round trip from the lodge to the lake. It used to say 7 something miles here. Now it says 8.3. Not sure what is correct, felt hard, but we got a late start and had to hike quickly.

Definitely a difficult hike for me. I didn’t know what to expect from this hike and completely underestimated it. For starters, we did not bring enough food or water, as it took us nearly 3 1/2 hours to get to the lake. We drank from the fast-moving river and were fine.
Uphill climbing most of the way. It was about 85°-90° and once you start the climb up the face of the mountain, it is all direct sunlight so bring sunscreen.
From the top, it was another 30 minutes to the lake. I was beat! My husband was a great motivator and kept us moving. We made it to willow lake and it was beautiful. Marshy and spotted pools of water as the water level was fairly low. Were there Labor Day weekend and there was barely anyone else there which was nice.
The way back took us about an hour and a half and got back at dusk. If I were to do it again, I’d definitely better prepare ourselves and it would make a huge difference.

The next day we did north fork trail to the seven lakes and it was absolutely stunning. We were much better prepared and although moderately challenging still, we enjoyed every step of it.

hiking
2 months ago

Wonderful hike! Moderate uphill climb to the lakes, about 5.5 miles (11-12 total). Heavily shaded in most areas. We were plenty prepared with food and water, although, we did drink from the stream at vigorous areas and were fine. Ton of fish in the lakes. The first two lakes were gorgeous and barely anyone around! We did this hike Labor Day weekend and expected it to be heavily trafficked. We want to go back and get an overnight pass—absolutely breathtaking.

hiking
2 months ago

Loved this hike as well. My husband and I hiked with two kids in backpacks (ages 1.5 + 3.5) - 2nd lake was our lunch and turn-around spot. Everyone loved it and had a great time. We clocked 12 miles in our RT and it was 4 up for our crew and a pretty quick 2 down. Definitely take a filter for more water if you take littles. For perspective - we are in good shape and live at 6000k, pack weights were probably 30 and 50 lbs respectively. It was a big day - but so worth it.

One of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done! The beginning is a little rough because of how exposed you are, so I’d start early! I hiked it alone and felt totally comfortable! I cannot wait to go back and do the loop again! I would say it’s 14 miles.

Just beautiful! I think the mileage for this loop may be seriously off. We only went to the 2nd Lake and turned back around to return to Glacier Lodge but recorded over 12 miles in doing just that. I recommend lots of sunscreen and taking a water filter. If you run out of water, there’s tons of water along the way. I would love to return and backpack the lakes.

Awesome! The first 3 lakes are the most beautiful with the blue green color. The black lake was also really nice and peaceful. If you have the time and energy, I think it’s worth it to do the whole loop, because at the end you get a really nice view of the first and second lakes. We made it an all day adventure, and spent 10 hours on the trail taking nice breaks and napping. Next time I’d get an overnight permit and camp up there!

Did this trail on September 7th and had a wonderful time. We weren’t sure we’d be able to do it, considering the creek crossing. We followed the trail to 2 possible places to cross, and felt that they were too deep and fast moving. We scrambled over some boulders a little further up and found a better place to cross. It was just over knee high deep. We took our shoes off and crossed pretty easily. There’s a really nice overlook about halfway through the hike, and brainerd lake is really nice as well. We took our time, and stopped for lots of pictures, and we got back to trailhead after about 9 hours. The trail itself is very beautiful and pretty shady. If you’re in the area doing the upper fork to the lakes, I think it’s worth spending a day to also do the south fork. Sorry I accidentally deleted my map, but it showed that it was 11 miles round trip, I don’t know where everyone is getting 8.5!

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike. We hiked this yesterday and didn’t start until noon. We only got to the second lake and turned back because rain was expected and we wanted to make it down before it got dark and started raining. The incline was steady and moderate. There is lots of water along the trail so you can refill your bottle. Can’t wait to go back.

nice easy hike. we just hiked to the first 2 lakes. it was well worth it.

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