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


3 months ago

Gorgeous views and relentless climbing to reach the high Sierra backcountry, but absolutely worth the work. Parking is safe at the Rush Creek Trailhead near Silver Lake. Did this as a four day thru-hike to Tuolumne Meadows in June 2018, using the JMT/PCT over Donohue Pass. This was the most beautiful and committing backpack trip I've done, and is a must-do. Arrange for a ride back from T Meadows via YART, a private shuttle service or hitch a ride. This is a friendly area of California.

4 months ago

We stayed the night at Garnet lake VIA the JMT back in 2017. when we came up on Thousand Island and we knew we had to come back someday. We will be hiking back up from Silver lake this July. Can anyone tell us where is a good safe place to park for the trip? Thanks.

6 months ago

The first time I did this hike, I was 10 years old and I never forgot it. It remains branded in my head. Now, I’m in my 50’s and its beauty hasn’t changed.

7 months ago

One of the most rewarding views ever!

Spent a rest day here. Beautiful area and great fishing.

9 months ago

I’ve backpacked Thousand island lakes so many times it never gets old. The views and hike in and out are amazing.

10 months ago

One of the prettiest Alpine Lakes I've seen on the west coast. I went during the height of summer and expected a lot of traffic on the trail, because the town was packed however it was quiet and peaceful. I would recommend once getting near the lake to hike to a view point above the lake and take in a 360 view of the surrounding area. 6 hrs or so would be enough time for most people to hike and spend time by the lake swimming etc.

11 months ago

Beautiful hike, back country camped right by the minaret lakes, no one around , the scenery and the gorgeous Minarets make this hike one of my favorites, it's better to camp and enjoy the shining moon on the lake, watch for mosquitoes they were way too aggressive throughout the whole hike !

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

From Silver Lake, following the Rush Creek trailhead it looks deceptive on the map. Do not be fooled. This is a relentless climb to the lake. If you are back packing I strongly suggest an early start. If they have closed the south route around Agnew you have hard climbing. I recommend spending the night at the larger of Clark Lake where you can also catch dinner.

There are two brutal switchbacks before Clark. They will help make up your mind whether to push on or camp.

Thousand Island is worth the pain to get there. If you are camping you are limited to the west side. We day holed from Clark so we swam around the islands. Great fun. The downside is that because of the spectacular scenery it is well travelled. You will not be alone.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Great hike but didn't quite make it to Minaret Lake. Probably spent to much time enjoying the meadows, creeks etc and didn't leave enough time to make it to the lake. It's the journey not the destination that counts and it was a great journey.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I've hiked 1,000 miles of the PCT and JMT and I would rate this trail as difficult. There is a closure around Agnew lake because of dam repair so you have to take the north side detour which adds about 4 miles. It's a full day to get to 1,000 island. Enjoy!

Monday, September 04, 2017

trail is closed as of June 30th where it turns into spooky meadow trail. The detour adds about 5 miles

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This was a spectacular trail and we LOVED camping on the peninsula. Bring lots of bug spray and nets.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Be advised, as of now 7/5/17 the latter part of the trail is covered in snow. I day hiked this trail from silver lake to Gem Lake, across Rush creek to Clark lakes up to Thousand Island lake. The scenery was amazing. I did not run into a single soul until the PCT section of the trail. The trail can be tough in certain sections due to steep elevation climb but the end result will be worth it. I would not recommend this trail for a day hike to anyone as I caught slight elevation sickness from going up and coming down too fast. Maybe I'm a little green but I trained for this for a year. If you're gonna be in the June Lake area for a hike bring a tent and bug spray and do this amazing trip in two days. My only regret was not stopping to enjoy all the scenery that God made for us to see. John Muir was right saying "Banner Peak was the noblest of all mountains". If you choose this trail, you'll always remember the sights to be seen. I can't wait to go back someday!!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Do people really go back there or is it just you and Tom Harrison? I plan to hike from Mammoth Lakes to either the valley or Wawona via Fernandez Pass

Monday, April 24, 2017

I've done a lot of backpacking throughout the years and this hike is on top of my list for most scenic and was not that difficult to get to. Definitely highly recommended.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Can others clarify - is this hike hikeable at this time of year already? Are the trails clear?

Friday, September 02, 2016

Great hike and amazing views. I've wanted to come here for quite sometime.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

It took us 6 days to do the 40 miles with 4 passes. The trail was in excellent condition, thanks to NPS and NFS trail crews. We especially enjoyed trail from Merced Pass to Fernandez Pass. Nice views of Banner, Ritter and Minarets from Post Peak Pass. NFS in Oakhurst has wilderness permits and rents bear canisters, call them for availability, and they have maps to Quartz Mountain trailhead (almost 2 hrs of driving on dirt roads)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Awesome!!!! Well worth the hike. Solid ground is a rare commodity if you are backpacking and looked to camp overnight. So the Early bird gets the worm. The trail is poorly marked and it's easy to get off track and end up at Lake Shirley. Just remember to stay to the left once you start the climb up from where the trail splits from the Lillian Trail Loop. Look for the markers on the left...

Thursday, January 07, 2016

This hike was unbelievable... I did it with myself and my bestfriend over the summer and we were planning to go to garnet lake from Devils postpile but we took the wrong trail and ended up at thousand island lake. we took the river trail there and it was amazingly beautiful walking through the meadows but at the same time sad because of how bad our drought is in California. when we got to thousand island the views were unbelievable I felt like I was in another world but we started our hike at 8am and were planning on being back by 7pm but when we looked at the time when we got to thousand island we noticed it was 2 in the afternoon and we had to get back to Devils postpile before 7 so we had to literally run back. we went and passed garnet lake and then up a mountain and passed shadow and down shadow falls which is extremely steep and all down hill on rocks and when we got back to the river trail we sprinted the whole way back from the end of shadow falls to Devils postpile. even though we had a long detour it was a very long hike 20+ miles and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys to hike and be in nature just to maybe spend the night at thousand island so you can enjoy the hike more.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spectacular and majestic.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

We hiked the PCT high trail to Thousand Island Lake in August 2014. The views were phenomenal, you are basically hiking through a hillside wildflower meadow for over 5 miles with constant views of the Ritter Range. Stunning. The first few miles from Agnew Meadows are steep but once you get to the heart of the high trail there's not a lot of elevation change.

We camped at Thousand Island Lake and followed the John Muir Trail south to the turnoff for Ediza Lake. This lake is truly a magical place, with the most docile wildlife we've encountered in the Sierra Nevada. Deer came and grazed right around our tent, and we saw numerous marmots just hanging out, as well as a long-tailed weasel.

Third day we hiked down to Shadow Lake and all the way down to the River trail back to Agnew Meadows. Beautiful views following Shadow Falls down down down. All in all one of the best hikes in the Sierras for unequivocal beauty.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I drove up to Mammoth straight from school on Friday 9/12 and arrived at the New Shady Rest Campground at 930pm. I got this campground because Old Shady Rest was closed and I wasn't sure I would get a spot at Agnew Meadows and any farther down the road because they were first come first served. Now I know I could have just parked and slept in my car at the trailhead or camped at Minaret as many of the others did. At 630am I drove out of the campsite and went to breakfast at "The Stove," my favorite breakfast place in Mammoth. Then I drove to the Agnew Meadows trailhead and was ready to go at 830am. The leaders and others got breakfast at Red's Meadow (I heard it was ok). The mandatory shuttle was not running so we didn't have to worry about getting in by 7am or leaving after 7pm.

We took the River Trail (JMT) out of Agnew Meadows to Thousand Island Lake. The first 1. 6 miles was downhill 528 ft. From there it was about a 2,000 ft elevation gain with a total of 9.6 miles to the campsite. It was a pretty easy back pack in. I carried a 47 lb pack, which is still too heavy. It got hard once we had reached Thousand Island lake (about 8 miles in) but we still had to hike another 1.6 miles to the preferred campsite on the SW end of the lake. It was hard to find a group of established campsites together for a group of 15. We had a potluck or "happy hour" after a few of us got in the lake, it was quite cold (understatement).

The next morning the leaders woke everyone up at 530am to prepare for our off-trail day trip to Mt Davis. It took 3.15 miles and 2,357 ft elevation gain to reach the summit of Mt Davis. It was all boulder hopping and walking on small rocks. On the way to Mt Davis we passed by Lake Catherine which sits at the bottom between Mt Ritter and Mt Banner. It was a gorgeous lake with multiple small lakes surrounding it. Mt Davis is 12,325 ft tall, we signed the register and took pictures at the summit. It was quite cold so we didn't stay too long. I neglected to bring a beanie or gloves (I wasn't thinking how cold the summit would be), so Nikki let me borrow an extra pair of gloves. My hands were swollen, red, and frozen, so that helped immensely. My feet were really hurting the last mile and a half. Before that I was having a great time boulder hopping, I'm quite fast at it, and it's super fun. However, 6.86 miles of boulder hopping and walking across scree was not a great idea. My feet were dead back in camp. We had left 715am that morning and didn't return until 538pm, so it was a 10.5 hour hike! We did another dip in the lake after we got back right before dinner and another "happy hour."

The next morning my feet were dead but we still had to hike out. We decided to take the High trail (PCT) out because the leader said it had good views and that the up would be at the beginning and the down at the end to the cars. It ended up being a total of 10.08 miles with an overall drop of 1553 ft but the first 7 miles was either flat, down, or up and the last 3 miles was all down (a drop of 1300 ft). So my dead quit on me for the last 3 miles. They became numb. I loosened my laces and then they just hurt a LOT!!! They were rushing us on the way back because one of the hikers held us up for 45 minutes that morning. We didn't get out of camp until 930am! Then that hiker decided to run/hike the way out. So our pace was way too fast, especially on the down hill. That did not help my feet whatsoever. We got back to the cars at 242pm. The way in was fine, the day hike was too crazy but awesome, and the hike out was not paced well at all. Instead of a leader leading, they let an inexperienced hiker lead because she wanted to get out to margaritas. I was quite pissed.

Even though the hike pace and length was not to my liking, the trip itself was beyond gorgeous!! Thousand Island Lakes was amazing, and the views on the way to and on top of Mt Davis were incredible. I would love to go the area again but at my own pace and schedule.

on Minaret Lake

Monday, September 09, 2013

Amazing views and a great place to get away. went last summer. The hike over to Iceberg Lake is rather difficult but enjoyed touching snow in August!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A hidden gem, one of the prettiest lakes scenery wise with all of the smaller pools creating an amazing place to hike or camp at. We left Reds Meadow on a 9 day hike over to Yosemite. We planned on hiking up and over Minaret to Iceburg and Ediza the next day, but the North facing bowls were still packed with snow even though it was late June. All that aside, the hike wasn't too grueling, but summer time mosquitoes left us looking like pigpen from the peanuts comic, but instead of clouds of dirt, it was blood thirsty skeeds. Other than that, epic trail with a pot of gold in the form of Minaret Lake. Fishing was great as well. Look for the highest triangular point in the range as you head up. That is where you'll end up.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My new favorite area of exploration. We decided after years of Sequoia and Yosemite, to take to new unknown areas and Mammoth was the answer I was looking for. We started in Agnew Meadows and hiked the river trail up to the cutoff for Shadow Lake. The scenery was amazing and the time of the year had every color you could imagine in the surrounding foliage. We had lunch at Shadow and continued on in search of Clarice and Laura lakes. Unfortunately we had tracked our hike and the gps was dead with no time for the solar panel to do its thing, so we called it a night in a nice meadow just before the hump before Garnet. Lesson learned. The next day we headed towards Garnet and cut off to Altha lake which was a dream come true. An amazing spot for seclusion and beauty. Spent the next few days there because it had everything we could ask for. On day 6 our trip was cut short by a snow storm moving in so Thousand Island lake was never reached. Leaves the perfect excuse to head back this summer. lol. Gonna start in Minaret Falls campground this next trip and try to hit Ediza along with around 10 other lakes on the way to Thousand Island lake. The hike was pretty demanding, but water sources were plentiful. Can't wait for that snow to melt...

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Saturday, August 25, 2012

This was an amazing trek. We started at Agnew Meadow and took the PCT to 1000 Island lake where we spent our first night. The loop we took traversed us by Ruby Lake, Emerald Lake and Garnet lake, all extremely beautiful. We spent the next night at Shadow Creek. The next day we hiked to Shadow lake and out the Shadow Creek trail to the San Joaquin River and took the River Trail back up to Agnew Meadow.

The hike was moderate in difficulty but very beautiful. The rain each afternoon kept us from having a nice hot meal for dinner, but the mornings were wonderful. We had an great time despite the rain and would recommend this hike to any avid hiker.

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