Explore the most popular camping 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.

One of the most beautiful hikes/places Iv seen. It’s a must do, I recommend starting the hike no later than 6am. You’ll see sunrise and avoid any heat!

backpacking
3 days ago

Gorgeous!

The first couple of miles on this trail are fully exposed with little or no shade. Therefore, I suggest starting as early as possible to avoid the heat of the day. The lakes themselves are amazing - definitely worth the effort.

Started at 730am and finished the whole loop and were back to the car by 2:30pm. We took our time and had lunch at Black Lake. We went counter clockwise around the loop and saved the best for last but it was all so beautiful! Not an easy hike, especially in one day but totally worth it! Much warmer temps in the beginning and is cooler around the lakes. Lots of water and stunning views! Cant wait to go back and hike in and camp!

This trail is intense! Basically uphill the entire time, and at a pretty decent pitch. There is a creek crossing about 1.5 miles in- bring your water shoes. The water is about thigh deep, but definitely crossable this time of year. Smaller dogs should be carried or guided across with a leash and harness as they could be swept away. My 60 lb dog made it across with no issues... Once you get passed the switchbacks you come to Willow Lake, a nice lunch spot but that's about it. Lake Brainerd is a medium sized lake with beautiful water and surroundings and nice camping spots. Well worth the hike!

backpacking
7 days ago

My attempt at this trail ended with me returning before the lakes. Started late around 2pm and returned to the trail head by 8:30pm for a total of 1900+ feet elevation gain. My fault for not having altitude training before hand.

The trail is well defined and has spectacular views, this trail makes for a very nice swim location and starting point for the Palisades Peak.

I also tried this trail July 15. Gorgeous first part. No one on it. But then after 1.75 miles, you come to the raging South Fork of the creek. You can’t cross, so don’t even try.

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing. AMAZING. Moderately tough hike but not overly difficult. Adjusting to the elevation is probably what makes it hard. Started hike a little after 7am and reached the first and second Lakes around 9:15. The first and second lake are right next to each other. We decided to head back after that and only took us one hour to get down to the trailhead. Pretty quick hike but on the way up we had a steady pace. I recommend starting early (needless to say). It makes going up through the switchbacks way easier when the sun isn’t beating down on you. Weather was perfect. Great visibility for us, however, on the way down smoke from the Ferguson fire was blowing through. 100% recommend this hike :)))) absolutely breathtaking.

Jaw dropping trail. One of the bests I have ever done, but I would start the loop counter clockwise, as to know, from the black lake first, this way the scenery is going to keep been better and better every time as my favourite lakes where the 1st and 2nd lakes.

backpacking
22 days ago

Breathtaking views all around. We camped at the Second Lake and the view of Temple Crag from our tent was everything. There were some mad thunderstorms in the afternoon and we had to hunker down in our tent. But then as the skies opened up, we were greeted by a double rainbow. We will definitely be back very soon!

Best hike I've been on! The views are absolutely incredible!

Had a great attempt up Split Mountain 7/14/18, ended up turning around at 12,700 feet on the ridge line after the steep scree fields due to thunderstorms, but will be back! We wrote a trip report with current road conditions (with photos) to get to trailhead and gpx file of the trail. https://www.shedreamsofalpine.com/blog/split-mountain-hike

backpacking
26 days ago

Best trail we’ve even been on! We went July 15, pretty hot but luckily there’s a creek/ waterfall next to you the entire time. My dog loved getting his dips in to cool off here and there. Wildflowers were blooming this time of year. We set up our tent by lake 2 and enjoyed the most amazing views! By far the best place I’ve visited.

backpacking
26 days ago

The first ~1.5 miles are relatively exposed and hot, but it provides nice views of the river to your left. Then it is into the trees (pine, aspen, birch) that provide tons of shade and beauty. The trail is well traveled, even during the week, with day hikers. Once you get past Second Lake there are fewer folks on the trail. We set up camp at Third Lake and camped a couple of nights. The hike up to Palisades Glacier is well worth the ~3 mile RT. Beautiful views of the glacier and river that drains the valley. We had thundershowers all three days there. But by 6 pm, the skies cleared and we could watch the sunlight off the tall peaks around. First rate Eastern Sierra hike.

Have had my eyes on this trail for a while. Will definitely hike it within one year, if not within the next few months before it gets too cold.

About 1.32 miles up the trail there is a creek crossing that is nearly impossible. The water has washed away the tree trunk that used to serve as a bridge and now it’s impassable. We watched as one backpacking couple attempted to walk across, the current was so strong the man fell and cut his foot and leg in his struggle to get out. Wouldn’t recommend this hike unless you have some plan to navigate across safely.

The wildflowers along the trail were spectacular and swimming in second lake was very, very wonderful.

Loved this hike! We went to the second lake and back from big pine campground- was about 5 miles there and 5 back. It was a hot day but that glacial lake was WORTH IT. The second lake is a 5 minute walk from the first- make sure you go to at least that:)

Great hike! Pictures don’t do the view justice at all! It was hot and there were a ton of mosquitoes past the waterfall so be prepared! Definitely would recommend!!

Probably better for backpackers, but we hiked it in one day. Went all the way to the third lake and it was incredible. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful breathtaking views! It was great to hike next to the creek in order for us and the dogs to stay cool. Only reason I’m giving only 4 stars is because there are several mini detour trails that do no have proper signs and we got lost towards the end. Took us an extra 3.5-4 miles to get out.

Fabulous view of the first and second lakes with temple Craig in the backdrop. Highly recommending Take a detour between lake 1 and 2 to find the perfect spot for lunch break right by the waterfall before heading back down!

backpacking
1 month ago

Nice hike, but is very hot this time of year. It is approximately 5.5 miles to the third lake. Also, mosquitos are brutal right now so hiking in the early AM is a must! Overall, great views and nice trail.

Great hike. Still plenty of snow all the way up the route starting about 11.5-12K but melting fast. No need for any technical gear as it can almost all be bypassed... 1-2 months ago likely not the case. Tons of scree/talus and was 80-100 degrees depending on altitude.

totally worth the hike. My dog and I hiked to second lake, it was breath taking. also make sure you drink plenty of water with high altitude. if you have a dog the ground gets very hot so make sure to check their paws.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked all the way up to Seventh Lake. After the Third Lake, it was pretty un-crowded. Trail is snow-free but a bit muddy crossing the meadows on way to the Sixth and Seventh Lakes.

hiking
2 months ago

Camped at Big Pine Creek campground and hiked to the second lake on June 1st. The entire hike is absolutely beautiful and the view of the second lake with Temple Crag on the back is just breathtaking. Words can't describe how beautiful this place is. We are definitely coming back for an overnight camp by the lake.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked on May 29, to the 3rd lake, trail till which is relatively snow free. Attempted to continue up to the Glacier trail but was unsuccessful; pretty much covered in snow, and I lost the trail fairly early and had to turn around. Perhaps doable with ice axe, crampons and good route finding skills

hiking
2 months ago

5/28/18

Started at the trailhead parking lot and hiked to the third lake. It was warmer than expected but very pleasant. The trail was very well maintained and there was no snow/ice. The hike was almost entirely uphill with decent tree coverage once you pass the cabin. We (couple) were comfortable with a backpack, water bladder, and some breakfast bars. This is a great day hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Have hiked this trail many times. Absolutely one of a kind. You’ll be hiking parallel to a creek nearly the entire hike with waterfalls on the way up. If you’re a fisherman, bring a compact rod.
Don’t miss out on this one of a kind trail.

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