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

Bring lots of insect repellant, the mosquitoes are ruthless and have carried off small pets

14 days ago

Hi. We thinking of hiking to buck lake from crabtree trailhead around June 8, 2018... Is this too early? Is the road open to the trailhead? Is there still a lot of snow? Thanks for your time*

It is a beautiful hike with lots of breathtaking views. There is still quite a bit of snow which makes the trail a little hard to find but one can still find their way with the maps and gps. The rivers are at peak capacity since the snow has started to melt so crossing them (mainly 2, along with several small rivulets) can be a little hazardous. So if it has been a snowy winter then I would recommend waiting till May end or June end to do this hike.

Also there is no way to drive to the trailhead (or we were just lousy at finding the way) so we had to hike an additional > 5 miles to get to the trailhead but those additional miles don't come with a whole lot of elevation change so no big deal.

2 months ago

Packed this hike, plus the extra loop out to Buck Lake into 3 days/2 nights. Bit off way more then was necessary. The hike is beautiful and a ton of fun, but plan extra days if you want to make it all the way to Buck. We did the north trail on the way out, and the south trail on the way back which ends up finishing with a brutal 1.5 mile trek straight up so beware. Fantastic hike overall though.

Emigrant is my favorite place to hike for all around scenery and terrain changes.
This loop is stunning at every turn. And the lakes...come on!! Wow!!
Starts out at the always busy Crabtree parking lot/trailhead. But, as is the norm, you get more than 1.5miles out, and it the herds thin drastically.
Not sure I’d qualify this as a “hard” trail. Three, maybe four good steep climbs. But nothing horrible. Just depends on your fitness level...and/or your pack weight.

Very scenic trail. We had great weather during the day, but temps did drop below freezing at night. Lots of places to camp around the lake.

We went out for backpacking and fishing for 2 nights, 3 days. Fun trail, seen some wildlife. Beautiful views and lakes. Not too successful with the fish tho. lol

7 months ago

Great hike, just backpacked it Sept. 29 - october 1st, fun hike for all levels of hiking experience

8 months ago

south trail has larger and more creek crossings than north trail

We were originally going to do the full loop with an end destination of Gem Lake. The ranger told us that she had written a ton of permits for Gem Lake and made a different suggestion. We look the loop trail and went right (south) at the fork. Our first night we camped at Grouse Lake. Insider tip: only 2 non-marshy access points on this lake so we suggest not camping near one of them unless you want a lot of foot traffic through your campsite.

Day 2, we hiked south towards chain lakes. There is no trail to get here so you have to forge your way over a pretty high ridge. But we traversed and got over it with ease. Chain lakes were beautiful. Only one is a swimming lake (the largest one). The other two are mostly marsh.

This was a fun, easy 3 day/2 night trip with shorter hikes. We had our little puppy so the 18 mile loop would have been too much for the little guy.

Follow the sign at camp lake carefully else you'll end up at bear lake like we did - but it was a gorgeous huge lake and a worthy detour.
Very well marked trail with plenty of water (carry a filter). Thunderstorms are unpredictable and we encountered one at Pieut lake.

Lost my camera between Wood lake and Pine Valley trail head message me if you found it jennmurphy@sbcglobal.net

Great hike. Lost my camera if you find it message me at jennmurphy@sbcglobal.net

9 months ago

Beautiful hike. Took our first family backpacking trip here from a Sunday-Tuesday. The kids (15, 13, and almost 7 years) and my husband did great- although 6 y/o didn't carry his pack the whole way. :) A nice mix of uphill/downhill both ways, although a little more uphill on way in. Moderate seems about the right rating. FYI- There is a 1-night camping restriction at Camp Lake and Bear Lake... and not really good water sources to camp anywhere between the two lakes. Lots of great campsites at Bear Lake with fire pits. We only saw 2 other parties camping- felt like we had the place to ourselves. We had a great time jumping off rocks into Bear Lake on Monday. A little weather- rain, thunder and lightning on the hike in, thunder and lightning on Monday afternoon but the storm blew over us. A friend told me the mosquitos would be bad but we had no problems at all (a few- no need for bug spray even!). Also, the Mi-Wuk ranger station is closed except for Fridays now, so you have to get your wilderness pass at the Summit Ranger station. Large parking lot with pit toilets at the Crabtree trailhead.

Great hiking.

Strenuous but incredible terrain. Good opportunities to scramble throughout and excellent swimming holes along the return trail. Recommend staying at Gem Lake.

Nice trail, fairly easy. Not too exposed. Went during the week and only ran into a handful of people. Very dusty and lots of horse poop though.

Beautiful hike

Absolutely beautiful. I would recommend this to everyone!

The most beautidul hike I have been on so far! Lots of scenery. I went during the week in September in 2014 and there was little to no one there.

We left SF on Friday after work and drove to Mi-Wuk Village and spent the night at an Airbnb. In the morning we headed to the Summit Rangers Station to pick up the permit waiting for us in the mailbox and then had a short drive to the Crabtree Trailhead. The actual trailhead was closed due to hazardous tree removal, but we were able to park (along with maybe 20 other cars) along the side of the road. We hiked in to Bear Lake with beautiful weather. Along the way we stopped at Camp Lake for dip. After setting up camp at Bear Lake we scrambled up the slope towards the Gianelli trail (which was covered in snow) and looped back around. The next morning we hiked out with another relaxing stop at Camp Lake. When we got back to the road side parking, the amount of cars had probably quadrupled.

11 months ago

Great hike, we did it this weekend, no problems in terms of snow. Camped at bear lake. Also, if you plan to go further: it was hard to get to Piute meadows. Some people made the river crossings, but was a bit too much water for us.

Emigrant Wilderness is great, but at the moment (June 21st 2017) the road to Crabtree is closed at Aspen Meadows. Apparently due to fallen trees. Check the website or call the ranger stations to check ahead. I suppose one could hike in from Aspen Meadows to Crabtree. Overall, the trails are great, and nice to see what is basically upper upper Yosemite.

Beautiful. Breathtaking views. A lot of granite to camp around the lake. Worth the hike.

11 months ago

Great scenery, but the hike between Mud and Grouse lake is a sea of downed logs and flooded trail - in need of maintenance.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

nice trail trail. Quickest way into the Emigrant Wilderness. Bear lake is a nice little lake with decent fishing. Popular camp sites , so it gets crowded at times.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Wonderful hike. I loved the rolling granite hills. Lots of sun exposure but there were trees all around; the lakes were great respites. What I liked most was that you could just keep going and connect through to other routes. The trail is fairly obvious but there weren't many markers. The most ambiguous area is between Camp and Bear Lakes where the sandy trail criss-crosses with a stream. It's hard to tell what is the stream bank and what is the trail (I'd say to follow your gut, the stream leads the way).
Nov 5/2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beautiful! trail Plenty of camping spot.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I love this trail! One my all time favorites. Camp lake is breathtakingly beautifully!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I've hiked out of the Crabtree Trailhead a few times, typically following the Crabtree trail east to Gem, Jewelry and Deer lakes and crossing down to a parallel trail to the south (trailhead at the Pine Valley horse camp) for the return trip, usually camping at Grouse Lake the last night before hiking out. I don't recommend the reverse journey, as there is a pretty long ascent from Grouse lake to the upper Lakes without many water sources.

Deer lake is absolutely stunning.

Mosquitoes can be pretty gnarly early in the summer, though they typically fall off pretty dramatically late in the season.

Also, if taking the lower trail back out to Crabtree (heading west), the "official" trail back has you climb 500ft in less than a mile - there is a much easier (though slightly longer) way back if you keep heading towards the Pine Valley horse hamp.

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