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

hiking
1 day ago

A nice trail that I’d rate between easy to moderate. Saw a young buck during the hike and that was special. Well-marked path that ends in a natural, non-touristy grove of giant Sequoias. Views from the granite dome at the mid-point were beautiful. Although the trail ends with an ascent, this uphill climb wasn’t difficult at all. 8/19/2018.

This trail has a little bit of everything. I especially enjoyed the numerous fly fishing opportunities along the way. We saw nine black bears on our trip.

backpacking
2 days ago

Beautiful lake, and definitely hike up to the pass and see the view!
The altitude was a bit tough for our group, had to stop and catch our breath a few times on the way up, but well worth the effort. The lake was pristine and we had a great swim after setting up camp.

This is a beautiful loop! We went clockwise and I would certainly recommend that direction; first day camping spots are better and scree skiing down Sawtooth is much better than trying to scramble up it from Monarch Lakes. I agree with others that noted the All Trails distances are off. Red numbers on map are more accurate than the All Trails lines and better match the trail signs. Rangers were still recommending marmot precautions as of 8/1/18. Trail crews did a good job of addressing the washout west of Pinto Lake and were actively fixing the one east of Pinto. Water was available pretty much throughout the loop. The only real tough patch was from Pinto to Little 5 Lakes. There's a stream at about 10,200 feet right before some switchbacks. Next water is 3+ miles away, over Big Rock Pass and down at Little 5 (the last lake is the cleanest). Mosquitoes were out around both Little and Big 5 Lakes but weren't really a problem. Caught trout all around the loop, but they were small and only good for the story. Nymphs seemed to be key. Hope this helps! Have a great trip!

Took the Crystal Cave Tour and it surpassed my expectations. The trail has great views and you're treated with a waterfall at the end while you wait for tour to start. Highly recommend the tour!

hiking
5 days ago

Came here on a weekday when we could park at the trailhead. It's a short but steep hike up to the top. The views were still amazing despite some of the haziness from the nearby fires. Definitely plan to come back when the sky clears and to go to stargazing.

Stunning caves not to be missed, trial itself has a bit of steps, otherwise it is pretty easy. There are pretty streams and falls along the trial.

It was a great trip! I did see a bear and a rattlesnake. I do recommend stopping my Bearpaw Meadows to buy a brownie for $5.

hiking
8 days ago

The views are spectacular and second to none. The parking is limited. The crowds are dangerously overwhelming. Be extra careful when going up there.

The reason this hike only gets 4 stars is the lack supervision from park rangers. I saw a lot of people careless on trail that doesn't give second chances.

15 days ago

Hiked it 8-4-18. It is a pretty hard hike, but the views are incredible! A steady climb all the way there but worth it. Took Us 4 hrs up an 3 down with taking alot of pics along the way. Flowers almost all the way up with plenty of deer to spot. Trail path is good, but watch ankles towards the top the rocks get rough. Next time we're spending the night to explore the lake more.

Really great hike! Definitely a challenge, but certainly doable if you're in decent shape. We took 7 days (7/14-7/20) and found that to be a good sweet spot for a challenging but not too aggressive pace. Our itinerary was: Bearpaw Meadow, Hamilton Lake, Big Arroyo, Kern Hot Springs, JMT Junction, Guitar Lake, and Whitney-Whitney Portal. There was absolutely no snow and it was easy going the whole way through. There are plenty of spots for water throughout, but bringing a bladder is recommended for those draining sunny days. A few things to note: 1) Highly recommend that you bring bug spray as mosquitoes are all over this trail. They're not unbearable, but it can be very annoying at times. 2) We ran into a couple rattlesnakes along the way, so watch your step during the day as they sunbathe on the trail or in campsites 3) Trekking poles are highly recommended for stability across all the various river crossings, slowing down for steep descents, and helping up the long ascents.

Not really a hike but the view is breathtaking

hiking
29 days ago

Awesome views!

hiking
29 days ago

Short climb up to the top for views of the Sierra's and the Valley floor. Gets crowded at sunset. Pro Tip: Go right after the sun goes down - everyone leaves, you still get soft light and usually you have the top of yourself to view the city lights below and stars above. On a full moon, the mountain range behind you really light up!

backpacking
1 month ago

The trail was very strenuous but easy to follow and well worth it. The views going up the trail and at the lake were amazing, and the Brook trout fishing in the main lake was excellent.

nature trips
1 month ago

Grateful to those who crafted this amazing feat with stairs, bars, etc. so that generations can climb and enjoy the beautiful views! A definite must if you're in the Sequioa Forest!

Nice, short hike. The views are awesome.

Beautiful!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail, and we were the only ones on it. But even with long sleeves and bug spray, we were walking in a cloud of gnats, esp the first mile, which took a lot of enjoyment away, especially for my kids (6 and 10)

Also you really can't access the creek except at crossings as the embankment is pretty steep

Nice and quick hike up with some beautiful views at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

went this week and enjoyed these amazing large trees. if you walk out onto the granite face with all the stones you can see the rounded tops towering across the small valley of the Muir Grove.

The views are just stunning. And the trail is well supported with handrails and rock walls so it’s doable even for someone like myself who’s not great with heights. I’d suggest doing it in the early evening, to avoid the worst of the crowds. We were there about 6pm on a weekday during late June and there were still lots of people on the trail, but not too many.

Spectacular. Went late June. Saw 12 people in four days (including a kind ranger). Did the loop counterclockwise, which is recommended unless you are otherwise itching to crawl/scramble/struggle up the skree of Sawtooth Pass. Camped Cliff Creek, Middle Lower Five Lakes, and Upper-Middle Lost Canyon. Mosquitos were out and about, but with the year’s lighter snowpack, we may have faced the worst of it. To be safe, bring ample Deet and invest in mosquito resistant clothing (including face netting). With some long stretches out of tree-cover, also bring ample sunscreen (though 3oz was more than enough for two of us).

If you’re young and/or in tip-top shape (and, more importantly, very prepared and carrying a light pack), you could do this in two days, though take caution with altitude sickness over some of these passes. Otherwise, take your time and enjoy this underappreciated escape.

Hard, but not overly painfully so. I have asthma and had to stop many times for air, but there was no need for a fast pace. Even with my slowness, we planned for four days but did it in there. Aside from normal backcountry gear, bring A LOT of sunscreen and zinc and GOOD mosquito repellant. Our GPS recorder logged significantly more miles than as posted on this and other trail sites. This map has the trail going in straight lines that do not exist. Expect closer to 35 miles maybe.

Day 1: Timber Gap Trail to Timber Gap. The trail is moderately steep out of the parking lot and continues so for some time. Reaching the top of Timber Gap has nice views with plenty of shade. Descend fast to the junction with Cliff Creek. This is the most psychologically challenging parts of the trip—to descend to below where you started and then have to climb for miles with a tall pass at the end of it. At the junction with Cliff Creek there is the most beautiful creek passing with several little pools. I wish it wouldn’t have been a waste to camp there, otherwise we would have. Have lunch. Walk along the creek and through the dry bed (which can be confusing—some cairns arranged; alternatively look for mule poop) as you pass epic waterfalls as you approach the switchbacks to climb to the Pinto Lake Area. At Pinto Lake, full water in stream that is clearly audible. Several campsites in front of and across the path from the bear box area. Choose a site on the rocks above the bear box—the breeze up there keeps the mosquitos away and the sunset is incredible.

Day 2: Fill your water. Then have fun figuring out how to get across the marsh and connect with the trail. Once you find it, begin the 3000 vertical feet in 3 miles to the top of Blackrock Pass. You’ll pass a steam going down the side of the mountain near the beginning of the climb up the switchbacks. Fill water here as it is the last water on this side and there won’t be mosquito free water for a bit on the other side. Then get ready—if you look straight up the mountain, slightly behind the stream, you can see the pass. It looks forever away. It sucked. I had to stop often (every 20-30 steps) to catch my breath. The grade is steep most of the way. But the views are the best views of the trip, as you see Columbine Lake and Spring Lake and the other lake across the valley. Take your time getting to the top and then enjoy the pass. The views are also quite good, as you look down on Little 5 lakes below. As you descend, turn around and look at the pass and you’ll understand why it’s called Blackrock—all of the rock to the right off the pass is sand colored. Get down, enjoy the view of the first couple of Little 5 lakes from above, but then put on your turbo boosters and get past them as fast as possible—horrible mosquitos. There is a creek draining from one of the lakes at the trail junction that takes you to the ranger station. Bugs were slightly less horrible there if you need water. Continue onto Big 5. You’ll hit a junction for Lower or Upper Big 5. Just know that if you choose Lower Big 5, you likely won’t come back to see Upper Big 5–there are quite a few switchbacks on the one mile trail to lower Big 5 and elevation to get back up to Upper Big 5 would suck. Lower Big 5 has some nice camping spots near the bear box and other spots across the lake on a small shoulder above where we were told there was a nice pond. AND YOU CAN HAVE FIRES HERE! Remember—no wood larger than you’re forearm.

Day 3: We had a leisurely morning of breakfast, a couple of swims, cards, and snacks. We slowly packed up, departed at 1230, and began the moderate climb to start, then mostly easy going hike to the end of Upper Lost Canyon. The creek and valley are absolutely stunning with Sawtooth and a couple other peaks in the background. We camped at a small, cleared area just a few switchbacks up the trail at the start of the climb to Columbine. We were directly next to one stream with another up the side of the mountain. Take your time along here—you’re in no rush and the valley is picturesque.

Day 4: after sleep, the hike up to Columbine from the base of the switchbacks wasn’t too bad—took maybe 45 minutes. The views are incredible; you can see the switchbacks up Blackrock Pass Trail. Contrary to what the rangers say, there are plenty of camping spots up there. When you reach the lake, follow the trail to the right, over the stream and you’ll find over a dozen great spots. The hike up to the pass is steep and challenging in sections, but the views are top notch and scree skiing down the mountain is so, so fun. Gaters and poles are a must for the descent. There isn’t really a trail for a while, so just choose a good skiing spot and keep your eyes open for the use trail toward the bottom on the way to monarch lake.

hiking
1 month ago

perfect trail conditions, wildflower in full bloom great moderate climb and 2 miles of pure bliss at the lakes

hiking
1 month ago

I loved this trail!! There were so many bugs and mosquitoes so taking bug spray is a must!!! The end of the trail is amazing, their is so many ladybugs, it was pretty cool seeing that.... overall pretty good trail. The only thing i wanna say is, when driving up to the the trailhead like the last 2 miles in order to get their you gotta drive through this unpaved road and its pretty rocky!!! I don’t advice to take a low vehicle

hiking
1 month ago

not long but amazing views on the way to the top!

Beautiful and worth the effort!

1 month ago

Nice bit of engineering to create a path to the top. But views are meh!

Beautiful hike, trail well marked, love the ferns with the sunlight shining through.

Load More