Explore the most popular dog friendly 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.

2 months ago

8/7 - 8/11 hiked from Fernandez TH to Vandeberg 1st day then to Lillian 2nd day. Hike was moderately challenging with our heavy packs - training was key. All creeks were dry but lake water levels only couple feet down. Day hiked to Rainbow and Chittenden for fishing. Air quality pretty good considering Ferguson and Lyons fires were pretty close - blue skys most of the time with haze for couple hours at a time. Smoke seemed to settle down hill from us. BTW no campfires allowed except at Lillian. Overall the area is gorgeous and I recommend you go see for yourself!

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).

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.

9 months ago

Great reviews for an awesome trail helped me choose this as a 1st backpacking trip for my 9 yr old son. Beautiful views at a couple places along the way. Saw some deer on the trail. About half way up, there are some perfect picnic spots. The lake was peaceful and had a ton of good camping spots nearby with fire rings.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Can some advise on overnight permits and how to obtain?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hiked up last weekend for a three day night trip. Left at midnight from the trail head and arrived around 4:30 a.m Saturday morning. Great fishing caught over 40 trout in the total of three days. Definitely going back.

Monday, July 10, 2017

I've done this loop twice now. Most recently I went on July 7th, 2017. It's one of the most beautiful trails I've ever been on. However, at this particular time of year, especially given the amount of snow the Sierras received this year, the mosquitoes were relentless. They're are especially bad up near the lakes were there's a lot of standing water.

I would recommend this trail in September/October. The fall colors are really breath taking and there's plenty of fresh water in these lakes.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Went 4th of July weekend. Weather was clutch. Wake up at 4am for your long exposure Milky Way photo. Snow made trail difficult to find at times. Pack thick thermals and your winter sleeping bag, it's still cold up there this time of year and prep for mosquitoes in the day.

on Lillian Lake Trail

Monday, July 03, 2017

Was a snow covered wonderland in June-July. Getting up it the first day is unexpecting and could feel a little exhausting if novious, but the view and scenaries are beautiful. Also, watch out for elevation sickness if not used to it, like I was. Ibuprofin or other anti-inflammatory may be beneficial. Lots of marshland and pure snowmelt water was available. Colder at nights, 45-40 degrees, and warmer by day, around 70-75. Pack in, and go check it out!

Monday, March 06, 2017

The reviews you see here are pretty accurate. Mosquitoes will be worse earlier in the season. However, I have no idea why they say the season is from March. There is far too much snow on Minarets Rd to get up there that early in the year. In a heavy snow year, you'd be lucky to be able to access this trail even in early June.

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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We took the clockwise direction for the Lillian Lake loop. Ended up finding a nice campsite on the north side of the lake. As others have mentioned there is a lot of ups and downs getting to this lake and it is one of the more difficult days that we have done. It took us about 4 hours on the hike in and 3 on the way out (on the Walton trail). The lake was warm enough for a comfortable swim, and there were very few mosquitoes. There were quite a few bees and flies... and they had a wonderful ability of getting between the tent and the rainfly. We did a couple of day hikes, and the scenery is really breathtaking. A good destination for this time of year.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The photo above is of Chittenden Lake, not Lillian lake.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Great hike for young backpackers. Brought two of my kiddos (6 and 9) for an overnight stay - they rocked it in style. Beware that there is a river crossing (earlier in the season), so you might pack sandals... something we keep forgetting to do. Beautiful vistas of Mammoth along the way. The trailhead is a bear to get to, but the hike is great.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Great, but short hikes

on Chiquito Pass Trail

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Our family took this hike to enjoy an outdoor activity on a very hot day. The trailhead was easy to find: 20 miles on the paved Beasore Road from Bass Lake, then a left at 5So4 for 3 more miles on dirt road (approx an hour drive from Bass Lake). The trail was easy to follow and well shaded, and I would say it was 15 degrees cooler than Bass Lake (30 degrees cooler than Fresno), so it served the purpose. It was very scenic even under extreme drought conditions: there was some water in the creek that we saw/crossed a couple times and the lake appeared to be full, however uninviting for a dip as it was covered in debris (redwood droppings?). It was mostly uphill toward the lake and mostly downhill coming back. I wasn't quite acclimated to the elevation and had to take it slow on the way up. The quality of the trail is what you would expect hiking in the Sierras; You have to watch your footing especially downhill on the way back, and the trail is pretty dusty/dirty which comes with the territory.

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

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Nice trail. Lots of up and down. More challenging than we thought it would be, but a beautiful little lake and nice camp group. There was a fair amount of traffic because it's one of the first sites from the trailhead. Fishing was not great but I heard that rainbow is much better.

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.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

We are beginners and this was our first overnight backpacking trip. We had a great time, the lake is beautiful and a great payoff for the hike.

Friday, July 10, 2015

This was my first backpacking trip so it proved difficult for me. However, the views are spectacular from the green marshy trails to the stunning blue lake. I couldn't get enough of this trip.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This is a gorgeous hike. During the loop, there are several lakes to see, beautiful panoramic sights of Sierra mountain tops, meadows, wildlife, etc. The loop can be completed in 2-3 days (I would recommend 3 to see all the area has to offer.) I went in June 2015 and low temp was about 40 high was around 75. I would recommend taking the Fernandez trail head and head clockwise.

Other information:
The trail can be accessed by car if you're very, very careful. I would recommend a truck or suv if possible.

The only reason why I would not rate this hike 5/5 stars is due to the massive amount of mosquitoes. I have been camping and doing all various out door activities all my life, and I am not one to complain about mosquitoes. The mosquitoes here were so bad, we ended up cutting our trip one day short just out of pure frustration.

Monday, April 20, 2015

This was my first backpack trip in 15 years, this trail was a great way to get back into it. The weather was perfect and the whole weekend was peaceful. I will be doing this one again.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just took this trail today sounded very adventurous the trail was marked and well in the beginning in the upper parts of the trail we found patches of snow which made it hard to follow the trail but were able to look on the map and find the lake the lake was beautiful partially frozen but just excellent to look at and well worth the hike recommend this hike for any skill level although beginners should take their time and take several rest stops I would recommend this and plan on doing this trail several times

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.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hiked this trail to get to the French Trail. It got hard to follow near the French Trail junction. There was one small brook with water to cross. We were not sure where the trail got its name. The portion that we did, between Minarets Rd and French Trail, was unremarkable. Mostly downhill towards the San Joaquin River Gorge.

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