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

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backpacking
12 hours ago

Successfully tackled this adventure as a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip with three great friends. We took the clockwise route around the loop trail. Note that the total distance was longer than indicated in the description of this hike. The National Parks Service web site indicates that the loop trail distance is 41.4 miles long. Our hike was just over 46 miles in all. The difference in distance is likely a combination of GPS accuracy and some side treks along the way. Camping at Charlotte Lake for our second night did add 2.6 miles to the overall distance. Our hiking itinerary was as follows (distances as indicated by GPS tracking):
Day 1 - Road's End to Woods Creek Crossing (16 miles)
Day 2 - Woods Creek Crossing to Charlotte Lake (14 miles)
Day 3 - Charlotte Lake to Road's End (16.07 miles)

Overall this is an epic hike! One of my new favorites. Completing it in 3 days is a physical challenge, which may be easier for some than others. Climbing to the summit of Glenn Pass from either direction is taxing. Have plenty of water, electrolytes, energy gels, or whatever else may give you the strength to persevere.

The scenery is fantastic, wildlife encounters are memorable (deer, marmot, pika, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, lizards, and bear). We didn't fish but we did talk with a few others who were fishing along the way and they all reported great success.

backpacking
8 days ago

Hiking this trail was an amazing experience. We went with a clockwise three night plan. Camped at upper paradise, middle Rae, and junction meadow. All three were great camps. You will travel through thick shady woods, grassy open meadows, and rocky alpine trails, all surrounded by gorgeous peaks. We saw a bear .5 mile past upper paradise, a family of deer at Rae, a marmot, a snake (not rattler), fish, chipmunks. The nights are much colder past 10,000ft elev. There is lots of water along the trail, but from Rae over glen pass to lake Charlotte, there isn’t much. You do get swarmed with gnats in the lower miles to start and finish the loop. Luckily, I brought my mosquito head net. The crossing was only lower shin deep. The suspension bridge was awesome. Had to walk across a second time just for fun. Also, a good time chatting with the JMT hikers from woods creek crossing to over glen pass. A friendly trail crew were blasting rock above vidette meadow, so we got held up for about 20 minutes, but it was nice talking to them and cool to hear the explosion. I definitely recommend this adventure.

Beautiful falls but not really a hike.

hiking
9 days ago

Camped at the Sentinel campground the night before our permit date for Rae Lakes. Was able to secure a counter-clockwise loop. To get an early morning start, got to the Road's End permit station around 8AM. There were a couple of people ahead of us. Fro being outside the peak season, the trail was still quite busy.

IMPORTANT: bring a bug net, mosquitoes are in full force the first 3-5 miles in either direction.

Saw 1 bear near the Road's end station and 1 rattler about 1/4 before the first bridge (Bailey?).

Really enjoyed the CCW direction. You work hard the first 2 days and the 3rd/4th day should be a breeze. Camped at Vidette Meadow Day 1, and Middle/Upper Rae Day 2...near bear box 3. Planned on camping at Lower Paradise for Day 4, but had the energy and daylight to finish on Day 3.(big miles but mostly downhill).

Short walk from the parking lot, paved trail with slight elevation gain. Nice looking fall, you can scramble down the rocks to get to the waters edge. There were some bugs flying around depending on where you were, but not bad.

backpacking
19 days ago

Can't say we completed the entire loop unfortunately. We entered at Roads End on 8/24/18 where we prepared for the clockwise loop starting on the woods creek trail. We were told about a "small" fire at Bubbs Creek and told not to report it as it was less than 1/2 an acre and the park crew were fully aware. We were told it wouldn't impede us and it was "insignificant". Unfortunately we got turned around at the Bubbs Creek Trail/JMT-PCT junction and had to back track and exit over Kearsarge pass into Onion Valley because the fire had spread and the trail was closed.
The trail up to Bubbs Creek was very well maintained and the scenery breath taking. We ran into a trail crew along the JMT/PCT and thanked them for their upkeep of the trail. They really do a stellar job at keeping the trail well maintained.
Upper Paradise Valley and Rae Lakes are both very busy for camping areas so plan to get there early to ensure a good spot. There were a lot of bugs until we reached Upper Paradise; they weren't a bother at all after that point. We had heard they were a nuisance at Arrowhead and Rae Lakes but we had no issue in late August.
Our planned itinerary:
Day 1 - Ranger Station to Upper Paradise
Day 2 - Upper Paradise to Arrowhead Lake
Day 3 - Arrowhead Lake to Rae Lakes (short day to ensure time at Rae Lakes)
Day 4 - Rae Lakes to Sphinx Junction. This ended up being Rae Lakes to Bubbs Creek, back to Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley
Day 5 - Sphinx to Ranger station

i would have rated this trail as hard today. I think the air quality was the main culprit. it is all incline on the first half and it got so bad that I was having to stop every 30 feet or so to catch my breath the last mile. the viees were obstructed once at the top by all the smoke so I left unimpressed. then to top it off my knee started to hurt lol. bad day on the mountain

Easy paved trail, very beautiful and definitely would go back but during spring time.

23 days ago

A 1988 Anuerism/Major Stroke Survivior completed the trail 4 days in 2000, and 6 days in 2018. The latest was a lot more difficult and exhausting but just as beautiful and exciting. Except the 2 encounters with Ratters.

23 days ago

The Rae Lakes trail is awesome! Varied, difficult, and breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes a little scary! Saw bears twice on the trail in the middle of the afternoon a bit too close for comfort, but survived. My favorite heavenly spot was first encountering the reflection of Finn Dome in Rae Lakes in that gorgeous valley.

Great hike. We spent 6 days doing the loop with a zero day near Rae lakes.

backpacking
29 days ago

This is an absolutely spectacular backpacking trip in the Sierras. Old growth forests, massive granite walls, alpine lakes, mountain pass, rivers....everything. We just completed the counter clockwise loop in 4 days. We spend the first night at Vidette meadow.
We started around 9am, got to Junction meadow at 4ish, decided it was worth it to push up to Vidette (after a bit of rain in Junction). So glad we did that, made day 2 a lot shorter and more time at Rae lake, which we arrived on the second day at noonish. Glen pass is tough either way you go. Rae Lakes is stunning and I found out why so many people told me this is one of their favorite places on the JMT.
The hike out of Rae descends into the canyon, and you will be exposed to the hot sun, nearly the entire way to upper paradise. We didn't leave Rae until 9am because we were drying out our gear in the sun from the heavy morning dew. I wish we left earlier and just packed a wet tent.
Upper paradise is shaded, heavily treed and beautiful. We had a small bear waltz through camp that evening. We got up early on day 4 and made it to the car by 1030.

I prefer to CCW direction, however many said they prefer the CW route. I like to get the elevation out of the way and then rest at Rae and head down hill, instead of climbing out of Rae lakes, just my take.
Few things:
-The bugs are swarming along the first 5 or so miles in each direction. GET A BUG NET...Seriously.....
-Start hiking early each day to avoid afternoon monsoons or HOT sunny weather.
-no issues with any crossings (the water is shin deep where the bridge is out)

I have been on dozens of backpacking trips throughout the sierras and this is one of my favorites.

Like others have said, it is a hot, sunny, steep hike, but the view at the overlook makes it worth it. After I got to the overlook I decided to do the whole loop by connecting with the Lewis trail and then back. It was challenging but good if you're up for the distance! I only saw two other hikers the whole time. The eight mile loop took me three hours to complete.

backpacking
1 month ago

One of the greatest Sierra hikes I have ever done. We took 7 days to complete the CW loop so we could take our time while on the JMT portion. It was well worth it and highly encourage anyone with the time to do the same. We saw 2 Bears at middle paradise but they never messed with us, however the squirrels at middle Rae Lake did. They attempted to eat into our snack bags within minutes of us taking a break! The trail was in good shape with the exception of the bridge being out at upper paradise (feet wet crossing) and another one just before Bubbs ands Woods creek meet up (easy bolder hop).

Short walk to waterfall, easy to do and some nice views.

backpacking
1 month ago

Made this Clockwise hike with Dan M (previous review). I’d like to emphasize our selection of camp sights as I felt ours was a great way to enjoy the best part of this loop. If you’re hiking the Rae Lakes Loop why not spend some time at Rae Lakes?

Day 1 - Ranger Station to Upper Paradise

Day 2 - Upper to Dollar Lake. Sure, with an early start, you can make it Rae Lakes, but this would be a tough ~14 mile day with ~3,600’ of elevation gain putting you at Rae late afternoon when most of the better Camp sites are taken. And then since you can only stay 1 night at Rae you’re out the next morning having only spent the evening and night at the best part of this trail.

Day 3 - Dollar to Rae Lakes. This is a short 4 mile hike. The crown jewel of this hike is Rae Lakes. The Dollar Lake stop puts you at Rae before noon, with your choice of any Campsite. We selected the little peninsula in the NW corner of Upper Rae just to the east of the little strait or stream connecting Upper and Middle. We were able to relax here all day, swimming in both Upper and Middle, fishing, talking with the exhausted clockwise hikers coming from Upper and the counterclockwise hikers coming thru the pass. Also enjoyed talking with all the JMT’ers and PCT’ers. This was an awesome, relaxing, well-needed restful day for some Hikers from Louisiana (elevation 12 feet).

Day 4 - Rae to Sphinx - up early to enjoy the views from Glen pass at dawn. It’s all down hill (stairs) from here. This is about 14 miles. You can make it all the way but for us it would’ve been late and we didn’t want to drive the 2 hours back to Fresno on that winding mountain road at dusk.

Day 5 - Sphinx back to the Ranger Station.

If you have 4 nights I recommend this itinerary. If we had to do it over again we perhaps make Day 4 shorter and Day 5 longer.

All in all a great hike! Enjoy.

hiking
1 month ago

We were a group consisting of two 50 year old boys and three 20ish year old men. We did the loop clockwise camping 4 nights. Camping spots were Upper Paradise, Dollar Lake, Upper Rae Lake, and Spynx.
River crossing at Upper was fine as we utilized a log jam roughly 200 yards downstream from the bridge location. The only issues we had was with water filtration due to our filter choices but it did slow us down to enjoy the views and catch our breath. We carried each one liter and I would recommend 2 liters for the pass as its a long haul over to the next fill up area. I would also recommend an early start for the pass as it does get warm fast. We started at 6 A.M. to cross over Glen. Saw bears at upper and spynx.

A short walk to a pretty waterfall. Nothing to go out of your way for but worth stopping if you happen to be driving by. I'm sure we would have been more impressed if not for the fact that we had just finished the stunning Rae Lakes hike, which made everything else pale in comparison.

backpacking
1 month ago

I've read somewhere that this is the most often done hike in the High Sierra and it is easy to see why. You really get the taste of just about everything here - from lush meadows, pleasant forests and swift rivers with waterfalls to snowy mountain passes and crystal lakes, and all that beauty in a loop that can be done in a couple of days! You really can't go any better than this.
We did our hike in the clockwise direction in 3 and a 1/2 days and it wouldn't be that difficult to do it in 3 if needed.
On the first day, we started from the permit station at around 10am and reached the Upper Paradise by mid-afternoon. The bridge over the river is still out and we met several groups of people who turned back at the sight of the river that needs to be forded. That said, with hiking poles for extra support and sandals or water-shoes to give you some grip, we didn't really feel that it would be quite that bad. Mid-June, the water reached to just around the upper part of my thighs (I'm 6'1") and I'm sure that later in summer, it will be lower than that (if you're not unlucky with rain).
On the second day, first thing in the morning, we forded the river and hiked up to where the trail meets the PCT/JMT (in the upper right "corner" on the map) and followed those to the Upper Rae Lake where we set up camp at around 5 or 6pm. This was by far the most strenuous day of the hike with 3600+ feet of elevation gain and quite a few up-and-down bits, especially in the first part, which added some extra feet to boot. Nevertheless, the views along this section are just spectacular as you slowly ascend above the treeline, and the lakes themselves are simply breath-taking.
On the third day, we started with the first light in order to reach Glen pass before the sun would soften the snow, making it more difficult and dangerous to walk on. Especially since we didn't have any micro-spikes or snow-axes, we were a bit worried but, as it turns out, with hiking poles and sturdy boots, the pass was nowhere near as bad as we had feared. Later in summer, things are bound to get even easier, but I would definitely think twice about doing this when there is a lot of snow. After you reach the pass, it's all downhill from there and there was no snow at all on the southern side, making the descent a walk in the park. We reached Charlotte Meadows by around 3:30pm and for a moment we debated whether to stick to the plan and set up camp there or hike all the way back to the car. In the end, we decided to take it easy and spent the rest of the afternoon bird-watching, but it's easy to see how one could make it from the Lakes back to the permit station in a day, albeit a fairly hard one.
On the fourth day, it only took a couple of hours to get to the end.
So, in summary, this hike is definitely right there in the top best hikes that I've ever done and I can happily recommend it to anyone who likes the outdoors and is not afraid of backpacking.
As other have said, the clockwise direction seemed easier with the ascent being more gradual, and I also felt that it worked better in terms of dividing the trail into manageable sections in a way that you get to camp by the lakes, which I can't recommend enough.
Finally, while on the trail, particularly in the lower sections, keep an eye out for rattlesnakes - we encountered two, and one of them let us get within striking distance before it started rattling, all coiled up and scary as hell. We froze and it slithered backwards off the trail while still coiled (I didn't even know that they can do that!) never once taking it's eyes off us, so no harm done, but it did scare me a lot. We haven't seen any bears but plenty of deer, a variety of lizards, birds, some marmots and a pika at the top of Glen Pass.

Highly recommend clockwise. Took me 4-1/2 days— hiked out the morning of the fifth day. There was a flash flood at the washed-out (former) Paradise Bridge- I heard some people got stranded for hours on an island in the middle of the river. A couple guys went out to rescue them— was touch-and-go. It was a little scary and also inconvenient, with rushing brown water you could not filter because it would clog/ jam up your water filter.

No-one told any of us there is a log jam- not even 1/8 of a mile downstream- which features a huge tree you can waltz across the river on. This info would have come in handy for a lot of people that day.

This is one of the most stunning hikes you will ever experience... but you’ll have to work for it.

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing and beautiful place to backpack! So glad I was able to do this one! I did a four night loop with my son’s scout troop. Other reviews have covered most of the info, but I would emphasize that you watch out for bears and rattlesnakes (we encountered a Mom and cub on trail and two rattlers during our hike.). I’d also emphasize that it seems like people are not exaggerating when they say counter clockwise is tougher: we did clockwise and as we went along I was grateful every step toward the end that I was descending that section and not ascending. There’s plenty of water everywhere and a lot of space to camp and the main sites and those have bear boxes for stuff that may not fit in your bear can. Also, be prepared for the oft encountered Sierra thunderstorms and rain. Lastly, please pack out your trash and toilet paper. It’s not that tough.

we did this with a small modification, going from Zumwalt Meadows trailhead to roaring river falls. luckily we had someone that was willing to drive the car back to the Roaring River Falls Trail head and meet us at the falls. from RRF trail head the trail is paved and a gentle incline, super easy.

the longer walk (1.8 mi) from Zumwalt Meadows at points we had to stop to make sure we were still on the trail. this was still an easy hike. Stroll along the Kings River, amazing views of the canyon walls. we were lucky enough to see a bear along the lightly trafficed trail. I would do this again, especially in the spring when the river and falls are really Roaring.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great loop gets a little busy at the suspension bridge but you get a great mix of loop hikers and through hikers that can chat around a campfire

1 month ago

Loved this loop. We did it in 3 days and saw a few black bears. Bring bug spray.

backpacking
1 month ago

We are the “Intrepids” - a group of women aged 40-74 that love the outdoors and we embrace physical challenges. This hike is not for the timid nor those who are not in shape. We saw some frightening human behavior this past week.

We started out our counterclockwise hike up Bubb’s Creek last Thursday only to be turned around about 3 miles in by torrential rainfall and a lighting storm about noon. Since we planned for weather and wanted a layover day, the 24 hour layover in the Car Campground w a beer was an ok way to spend the night. Lesson: Do NOT let the early morning blue skies lull you into late starts. Get on the trail by 9am after you get your permit. On the bright side, the rain is a blessing. It’s predictable from about 1pm to 5pm and lasts about 3 hours. Our skies were very clear from any smoke from fires about 40 miles away in Yosemite. There was little to no dust to contend with. And be prepared for more visitors than normal. Yosemite is on fire and vacationers turned south to Kings Canyon it appears.

And let me add that I cannot imagine hiking this adventure clockwise. We loved our expanding approaches each day and the way down was painless and gradual compared to other places we’ve ended on a descent.

So we began again on Friday, July 20th. Early. 7:30am. We were greeted by a young black bear we saw the day before. She is about 75-100lbs and as cute as a button. She will do her bear thing and get out of your way; we watched her about 10-15 min each day. Once over the bridge the trail heads up and up to Sphinx Creek. This trek was much easier than anticipated as it’s short and the switchbacks are kind. We reached Sphinx campsite about 10am for a 45 min water and snack break. Not a cloud in the sky.... the way from here starts out flat and gradually ascends. As we would learn the whole trip, clouds would begin to build about 1130am. By about noon the group was tired and hot and the clouds were a blessing. There is a rattlesnake in this story I just don’t recall if it was Friday or Saturday that it slinked across the trail rattling at the forward group as they stepped by. Anyway the goal was Charlotte Creek and we arrived just in time to put up a 10x10ft tarp to stand under (there were 10 of us) while lightening struck all around us as we huddled beneath some shorter trees. The rains came like a monsoon about 1:30pm. We spent the next three hours singing and snacking while creating systems to keep our packs dry. We sat on bear vaults and took turns clearing the puddles of rain from the tarp. A small river formed under our feet it rained so hard. We watched drenched hikers all afternoon move up the trail non-plussed and others run down stating they were DONE w this weather. We felt a bit smug under the tiny tarp which we usually bring to create shade in the high country. About 430pm the rains subsided and the thunder grew more distant. Time to set up camp! We surveyed the area and noted that the rushing water had created flood patterns so we could pick good drier tent sites by reading the ground and debris deposits. Dinner was a special gyro recipe I’ve put together after years of hunting and gathering and drying veggies. Basically plain freeze-dried ground beef seasoned w oregano and mint and a dash of Lawrey’s over rice. Lots of rice. And topped w reconstituted sheep feta, tomatoes, olives, and red onions further enhanced w tzatziki sauce (yogurt, cucumbers and dill). We inhaled every bit and we were in bed by 830pm. Early start Saturday to Vidette Meadow. We agreed to wake up at 530am.

This is a very steep and very hot hike, but it gets you right on the ridge of the canyon for one of the best overlooks in the area! It's not very long so should only take a few hours, but is definitely a MODERATE hike, not an easy one! It's extremely steep and is essentially steep switchbacks the entire way up!

Would probably just be a quick stop for most, but is definitely worth it. A couple years back a group of me and my friends decided to hike to the back of the falls. There's no trail, we just followed the river back, but there's a natural bridge back there and has a lot of beautiful cascades and falls! Do not attempt unless you are good at climbing/swimming/navigating!!

2 months ago

The most beautiful and varied scenery in the Sierra’s. Would recommend a 3-5 day loop. There is plenty of water, bugs surprisingly light despite all reports for July, plenty of hikers and backpackers but quiet places are easy to find. Our group of four packed lightly for a planned single night stay at the Lakes but decided to push the whole route in a single go. Loop mileage varies but according to our 3 GPS devices and totaling mileage markers we felt it was closer to 44-46 miles, not 41 and certainly not 37.

Simply amazing backpacking trip.

backpacking
2 months ago

By and far the best and most thorough overview of the Sierras. If you check this and Yosemite Valley backpacking off your list, the rest is beautiful details. We took 5 days, 4 nights and did it counter-clockwise. We camped as follows: Junction Meadow, Middle Rae Lake, Woods Creek, and Lower Paradise Valley. The gain to Junction Meadow (Day 1) and Middle Rae (Day 2) was an ass-kicker, about 7,500’ total. All trails are clearly marked and moderately trafficked. We never went more than an hour or two without seeing someone. Especially on the John Muir/PCT portions of the hike, the east and north side of the loop, there are lots of PCTers this time of year with great information. Bear boxes are easy to spot and plentiful, and we never carried more than 2L of water at a time. We had two different filter systems: a Katadyn flex bottle for on-the-move filters when we came across creeks, and a Platypus 2L gravity system for camp. The water crossings are fine if you’re careful. Out of maybe two dozen creek crossings, there are only 3 or 4 that are truly worrisome. Log jams and rocks are plentiful though, and careful treading and good trekking poles will get you across. PLAN FOR MOSQUITOS. The mosquitos are relentless this time of year. Especially on the south side and in the Rae Lakes area. We had less trouble in Woods Creek and Paradise Valley. Bring several modes of mosquito repellent and perhaps a face net if you’re sensitive. The water is chilly but refreshing after a long day. We took dips every day and rinsed clothes. If you fly-fish, bring a set up. Brookes and browns are everywhere and they’re ready to feed. We will definitely be doing this loop again!

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