Explore the most popular camping 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.

Great group hike. Fair amount of boulder hopping, thankful for those dreaded squats!

The trail was relatively easy to follow, with a few strenuous parts along the way. Fishing was great along Norris creek (Brook and German Brown trout) and in Jackass lake (Rainbow trout).

1 month 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.

We went up a couple of weeks ago, it was my first overnight backpacking trip in 30 years. The dirt road to the trailhead was really rutted up (doable in a Subaru Outback), but the trail was well worth it. We stayed at the middle lake and I caught two rainbows.

2 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.

5 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.

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

8 months ago

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

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.

11 months ago

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!

A few steep climbs that are a bit tough if carrying heavy packs, but gorgeous views along the way. There are some beautiful, forested sections that feel magical, with a few meadows off the trail filled with wild flowers. Go a mile or so further to lady lake and there are lots of glacial waterfalls coming down the granite walls. There was some smoke from the nearby forest fires ty far affected the air quality last weekend, but a thunderstorm blew some of the haze out. Some mosquitos near the water, but not as many as anticipated.

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

Can some advise on overnight permits and how to obtain?

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?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Arriving at Jackass Lakes was so rewarding. It had such a beautiful serenity after traipsing through the forest. The first part of the trail was easily marked, but it wasn't the most obvious spotting the creek bend you had to make a first left at - that if you didn't would take you to another trail. Beyond this point, the trail was helpfully marked with a combination of twig arrows on the ground and two stacked rocks (we contributed to a few on the return to help other novices like ourselves and felt like forest elves). When we arrived at the first little lake, we had thought it was Jackass but too small, then recalled the map and realised it was a pond-like distraction just a touch too early, so we continued on. Arriving at the bare rock face was confusing, the path upwards was a bit of guesswork because there wasn't one necessarily but the view from the top was amazing. We eventually heard water and ventured forward to find the lake beyond some trees. It felt like such a discovery and it was simply beautiful. Definitely a moderate hike for a newbie like me - my heart rate maintained a good cardio rate and at times soared during the long stretches of gradual uphill. So worth it.

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.

Would definitely not classify this hike as "easy!" Very rocky, uneven, quite steep in places, but a nice hike and destination.

I did this trail with my dad when I was 16 and loved every minute of it.
Going back at 26 with my best friend we had to take the Jackass 4wd road which is now a trailhead because my sedan couldn't make it down the dirt road to the Norris Creek Trailhead.
The Jackass trailhead is about 2 miles before Norris and is a much more difficult trail to take in. The entire hike is uphill and not always clearly marked going up to the lower lake. Once past the lower lake there is no longer a trail and you are scaling mountain faces to get up to Middle and Upper Jackass. Pay attention to the rock stacks to lead you in and out of the lake areas.
If you can, make it to Burro, the views looking down on Upper Jackass are stunning.

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.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Fairly abrupt greeting from the Norris TH, as it gets steep right off the get-go. Flat in the middle and then a bit more up towards the end. Vanderburgh Lake is a very nice, smaller sized lake. The setting is beautiful though. Very quiet and great lake to set up camp at. Day hikes to various destinations are available (we chose to hike to Lillian Lake and surrounding areas).

Monday, August 04, 2014

At first junction near the creek go LEFT! Otherwise you'll end up on the Fernandez trail, and an extra 1.5MI hike ....After you pass Norris Lake you have to carve your own trail up the granite face. Locals spot, so if you're a clueless tourist or a #jackass, don't bother. Cheers!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Backpacked in for 2 nights to Lower Jackass Lake. Lake is beautiful. There's rocks on the back corner of the lake you can jump off of into the lake. Water feels good.

Fishing was pretty good and everyone caught some fish even if they weren't fishing much. I caught 9, 10, 10, 12 inch trout. Most of the trout were pretty small being that 10 inch was a larger one on average. We did see some that looked like 14 inches jumping but we didn't catch that those. Maybe next time.

The hike up is tough when you're carrying a 40 lb pack. Took us 3.5 hours up. Down took us 1.5 hours. If you're just doing a day hike without a pack, you can probably do 1.5 hours up and 45 minutes down without too much effort.

It was not too cold at night so you can probably bring a lighter sleeping bag. You will need a jacket of sweatshirt for the evenings, but probably not something super heavy. During the day it was sunny when you're out from underneath the trees. The wind would pick up for about 15 minutes then die back down for 45 minutes about all day so bring chap-stick.

We will probably make this trip and annual thing for our family.

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...

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