After you pass timber gap, you start to descend into a lush canyon with lots of greenery. The last 25 miles of the road are a very interesting drive. The adventure described below is an extended version of this traditional hike, which includes part of the famous scenery of the High Sierra Trail, while still maintaining the … Typical days: 5. The creek was 57 degrees and perfect for a quick head dip. Trail: Sawtooth trailhead to Franklin Lakes trailhead Distance: 38.9-miles loop Elevation Gain: 10,487′ Location: Sequoia National Park, Mineral King, CA. We submitted our request for that loop and then waited for 2 weeks to receive our permit/conformation email. However, if you can’t get a permit for Timber Gap but can get one for Sawtooth Pass, counterclockwise works too. Lakes, vistas, access to Glacier Pass, Big and Little Five … We drove to the ranger station at Mineral King to pick up our permit. Temps: 85H-50L. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70. Absolutely loved this route, and shout-out to the reviewers that help us decide to go counter-clockwise! Sometimes my posts contain affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Moreover, I was also specific wondering if some of the backpacking routes like Rae Lakes or Mineral King to Little Five Lakes would be open during this late march period. There’s more where this came from! Since it's s 5+ hours from Palo Alto and we left at 10:20, this didn't leave us a lot of slack, especially with the last 23 miles being on a winding, blind, one-lane road where I wasn't able to go faster than about 16 mph. The sun rises early and the ground warms quickly. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/mineral-king-loop The following permits are issued from the Mineral King Ranger Station: Atwell-Hockett Trail (from Atwell Mill Campground): Easy to moderate climb. Honestly you can't go wrong either way, clockwise or counter. Y'all made it seem like it would damn near kill me! The combination of three USGS 7.5-minute quadrangles: Mineral King, Chagoopa Falls, and Triple Divide Peak. Very difficult because of the altitude & elevation gain, on the second day especially. I’m Alissa, your virtual guide, here to help you make your biggest, boldest adventure dreams a reality. Reached the parking lot around 11:00am. (There is a small green sign by the side of the road that reads, “Mineral King 25 miles.”) ... Bullfrog Lakes: These lakes are the headwaters to the Little Kern River. This version of Mineral King Loop shares the Lost Canyon Trail and Sawtooth Pass Trail with version 1, but instead of starting to the north it starts heading south from Farewell Gap / Franklin Lakes Trailhead. ... We packed up and again changed our route because the ranger at Little Five Lakes warned us that a … This post will map, explain, and compare four different Mineral King backpacking routes. I love solitude, big views, and a good lightweight gear setup. Whichever loop you pick, here are some tips: Whichever Mineral King variation you choose, it’s impossible to go wrong in this gorgeous part of the high Sierra. Mineral King Trail Map: Bearpaw Meadow, Franklin Pass, Little Five Lakes, Hockett Meadow, High Sierra Trail, Funston Meadow, Silver City, Chag (Tom Harrison Maps) by Tom Harrison Maps. Mineral King to Glacier Pass to Spring Lake. Copyright 2020 Exploring Wild, All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. share. Day 3: Regardless of where you camped, keep on the trail as it continues to the lowest of the Big Five lakes. But there are some things to keep you going. From there, it's a pretty uninteresting climb up to Little Five. To reach Mineral King from Visalia, CA, follow Highway 198 East for 31.5 miles to the Mineral King Road and turn right. This was by far the most physically demanding part of the trip. We'll ascend nearly 1,500 feet before reaching the junction with the Black Rock Pass and Little Five Lakes Trail, where we'll make camp not far from an old patrol cabin. Die Route ist am besten von März … The ranger there gave me bad info, saying that our proposed route involved a spot that had suffered a significant landslide last winter and was practically impassable, so we took option #2. Whitney; Does not include camping or hiking on the classic Mt. Wilderness permits are required year-round for all overnight trips in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' wilderness. Overall, this was one of the most epic trips I've had the pleasure of doing, and also one of the most challenging. However, when you get to the top, you'll shed a tear of sweet relief, because the other side of Blackrock is an absolute monster slog, and you get to fly down it. Either way, spending a night at higher elevation before your hike is a great way to acclimate and make those high passes a bit easier. If you’re into exploring the wild outdoors, sign up here for occasional emails with my best tips and inspiration for backpacking, hiking, and more. They're both beautiful. Thanks for reading! The traditional Mineral King Loop includes Pinto Lake, Black Rock Pass, Little 5 Lakes, Columbine Lake, and Sawtooth Pass. After the epic views from the top of Sawtooth, the steep descent down to Columbine was welcome - there's a small body of water next to the official Columbine lake that was absolutely idyllic - perfect stop for fresh water and snacks. Once you reach the bottom, you're at Monarch Lake where I made camp. Reservations can be submitted by email or fax starting on March 1 and no later than two weeks prior to the trip. Mineral King Trail Map: Bearpaw Meadow, Franklin Pass, Little Five Lakes, Hockett Meadow, High Sierra Trail, Funston Meadow, Silver City, Chag Tom Harrison Maps Published by Marketscope Books, 2004 Not sure about fires. Mineral King is a mind-blowing escape from the crowds found on the John Muir and High Sierra trails. Allows summiting Mt. If you are entering on foot or bike the fee is $20 per person. share. We were in adequate shape - not great, but not bad. Clouds gathering already in Kaweah Gap, the last place the clouds hung on to yesterday. Fires are prohibited in Little Five Lakes Basin. You can do it in a regular car (no 4×4 required), but should allow plenty of time (at least an hour) and take it slow. Trail terminates at the first Mosquito Lake; cross-country travel to upper lakes. Where there's smoke, often there's a ranger … save hide … We will leave from Timber Gap through Redwood Meadow, Bearpaw Meadow over Kaweah Gap to Little Five Lakes, Big Five Lakes, over Franklin Pass and to Franklin Lake then out. 4th day descending sawtooth will scare you but just go slow and you’ll get it done. Mineral King to Little Five Lakes Trail [CLOSED] is a 27.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Three Rivers, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Permits are issued based on the intended start of your route and limited by daily quotas. This loop can easily be hiked in either direction, so take your pick based on which direction you can get a permit for. You basically go up endless switchbacks. I posted a TR on Mineral King from 7/20-24. save hide report. To answer a question below, there is no cell phone reception. Lingering snow can pose a danger in early season or high snow years, especially on Sawtooth Pass. Overall, a truly incredible trail if you are prepared and patient. However, if you can’t get a permit for Franklin Pass but can get one for Sawtooth, traveling clockwise also works. Each foot of elevation counts heading up to Monarch – you don't lose it until after the pass – which makes it psychologically easier, if you need that. We had thought about trying to push on to Little Five lakes to get closer to Blackrock, but it's another couple miles uphill, so we were happy with our choice. At mile 5, the bottom of your descent, you will come across Cliff Creek. You might feel like quitting, but keep at it, slow and steady. Ruth had picked up our permit the day before and we were on the trail by 7:45 AM. Overall I loved it. Check with rangers for current conditions. ... Fed by snowmelt, springs and abundant lakes in granite bowls at the upstream-most section of the valley, creeks plunge down the … +/- 12,000 feet of elevation with a starting elevation of 7,800 feet and a peak elevation of 11,800 feet.Highlights include alpine lakes, expansive granite canyon views, and … Aufgrund der Steigung und Distanz ist die Strecke als schwierig einzustufen. Show more Show less. Location: Sequoia National Park Trail head: Eagle-Mosquito Lakes Permits: Required for backpacking only. Rain seems very unlikely (still have outer top shell and rainfly incase) Some clothing isn't shown in the pic but is shown on the list. Day 4 is the beginning of the hike out. Whitney Trail. SEKI site has updates form 7/21. Definitely worth being a little tired for the day's hike. Sawtooth pass is a gnarly scramble where it is easy to lose the trail. Finally, you'll reach Columbine Lake (so many beautiful lakes!!!). Mineral King to Little Five Lakes Trail [CLOSED] is a 44.6 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Three Rivers, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. There's several noticeable trails dug into the loose scree: some bolt directly up, others contour, one heads to the northern end of the ridge. There are two campgrounds along Mineral King Road: Cold Springs and Atwell Mill. You’ll get warmed up on Timber Gap before tackling the taller Black Rock Pass, descending into the area around Big Five Lakes and Lost Canyon, before tackling Sawtooth Pass and dropping back down to where you started. About every five years or so, I forget why I haven't been on a hike out of Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. It feels magical. Oh well, a little rain never hurt anyone. Mineral King to Five Lakes trail was all time! You'll go up a bit, see another small lake, and then descend a lot as you walk through a pine forest towards Lost Canyon. For updates, please visit https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/conditions.htm I wouldn't necessarily recommend one over the other, but we mostly stuck to the route shown on the AllTrails map. Lowest elevation: 6,162 feet (Granite Creek crossing), Trailhead: Sawtooth Trailhead (either direction), Permit entry point: Timber Gap (clockwise) or Sawtooth Pass (ccw). Will not recommend this to first timers. At this time of year, we were assured by the rangers that no 'Marmot protection' was needed … To Bearpaw and exit at Crescent Meadow. Day 2 - At daybreak, we tackled Sawtooth Pass in the cool morning air. This was actually our favorite night - washing up in, and falling asleep next to, a small waterfall there was the perfect last night for our trip. Don't be fooled by the 28 mile length - I think 4 days is a good minimum for most people, but in retrospect we would have preferred 5 days to give ourselves a more relaxed pace overall, and to have more time and energy to explore and enjoy the places we made camp. I descended down to the Lower Big 5 lake. Loop 1 is purple up, right, and down, then the top orange track back left. Distance: 36.3 miles. In Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, a wilderness permit is required year-round for all backcountry travel. For the same reasons as loop 1, clockwise is the recommended direction. First allowed campsite - Lower Monarch Lake (4.2 miles). There were spots to camp here, but I continued on another 2-3 miles to the Upper Big Five Lakes. As you're climbing up, be sure to look back and admire the canyon you just walked through. At the soda creek junction cross the river and stay to the right. Check with a ranger for current conditions. 2 thunderstorms. I liked this way! Mady picked out a challenging loop for this year, starting in Mineral King and looping up Franklin Pass, down Soda Creek, past Lost Canyon to Big and Little Five Lakes, up Blackrock Pass, down Cliff Creek Canyon, and then back into Mineral King via Timber Gap. Trailhead at Mineral King with a distance of 4.4 miles to the lower lake, a 2570 feet gain. Easy, all down hill, pretty views. They consist of two lakes, Upper Bullfrog at 10,900 feet and Lower Bullfrog at 10,700 feet. If you get bored of Little Five Lakes, you could also have a look at nearby Moose Lake. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Here’s how they all fit together: That will probably make more sense once you’ve seen the individual route maps below. They consist of two lakes, Upper Bullfrog at … Windy and difficult road to reach … It would also be possible to finish this loop over Franklin Pass to the south instead of Sawtooth Pass, adding roughly another 8 miles. This is a combination of Mineral King Loops 1 and 2. Consisting of 3 high passes and dozens of High Sierra Lakes, there is reason this loop is one of the more popular backpacking routes in the area. Hiking the … Finally found a few bugs here, but nothing crazy. Little Five Lakes Basin: A trail from the Old Patrol cabin heads up to Little Five Lakes. The Story There’s no better way to cool down in the middle of summer than hiking to and swimming in an alpine lake. Click here for the lowest price! Permits cost $10, plus $5 per person. ... We camped overnight at the Cold Spring campground in Mineral King. The two miles between Pinto Lake and Cliff Creek suck. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Here's why: you can climb Sawtooth Pass in the shade, you avoid the 3,000ft slog up Blackrock from Pinto Lake, and you don't have to climb over Timber Gap to start. We decided to backpack counter-clockwise –contrary to the popular choice – and, in my opinion, it was absolutely the correct route. We did the loop counterclockwise per our permit. 4 days + is mandatory. You'll follow the river for the most part, crossing it once again. If you’re planning a backpacking trip in the high Sierra, you might also find these helpful: Hi there, I’m Alissa. The trail around the edge of the short ridge that separates the Big Five and Little Five Lakes is well traveled and we met a few hikers along it. We live at sea level and are pretty experienced backpackers. Whitney High Country map ... Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and when applicable will operate … The descent down Blackrock lasts for miles, and we continued on past Pinto to make camp at Cliff Creek. I have been looking for maps of trails my Father mentions in his book, “Mountains Mules and Memories”, by Bill DeCarteret. You might … The valley floor lies at an elevation of 7,400 feet (2,300 m), while the granite peaks rising above the head of the valley reach heights of 11,000 feet (3,400 m) or more. Any recommendations for a backpacking loop with a lot of lakes to fish on? Moreover, I was also specific wondering if some of the backpacking routes like Rae Lakes or Mineral King to Little Five Lakes would be open during this late march period. Day 4: 7:30 - 9:30, 4.4 miles, Monarch Lake -> Trail Head Sequoia National Park is more than just a host to its namesake trees. We woke up at 5:30 (15min before sunrise) to do some shooting at the biggest of the lake... some of the best photos I've ever taken, no doubt. Mady picked out a challenging loop for this year, starting in Mineral King and looping up Franklin Pass, down Soda Creek, past Lost Canyon to Big and Little Five Lakes, up Blackrock Pass, down Cliff Creek Canyon, and then back into Mineral King via Timber Gap. These. From Mineral King A pretty arduous route, but the quickest way to get there. Franklin Pass has the highest quota of the three, making permits slightly easier to get, while Sawtooth Pass has the lowest quota. Columbine Lake was absolutely amazing, if a bit windy, and the fishing was really good. 3rd night and day should be a trek to columbine, stay in the area with the sand don’t be too close to the lake the wind is a killer. Posted by 6 days ago. Some of the gents heading up sure as hell weren't enjoying it either. save hide report. Wilderness permits are required year-round for all overnight trips in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' wilderness. 5. Whatever we wish. Exploring Wild backpacking and hiking resources, 12 Stretches To Do in Your Tent For Better Sleep and Stronger Hiking, Review: BigBlue 28W Solar Charger After 35 Days on the Colorado Trail, Colorado Trail Resupply Guide: Sample Plans Based on Pace and Style. Tons of tough trail, lots of climbing on steep gradients, and an absurd amount of sierra scenery. Today would be a bit of downhill after a day hike over to the Big Five Lakes. Starting at an elevation of 7,831 ft, the hardest part of getting to Franklin Lakes is the long winding road you have to take to get to the trailhead. No campfires above 10,000 feet. Classic Mt entering on foot or bike the fee is $ 20 per person our users cements delight. Park specific annual Pass for $ 70 best day of the Little Kern river make biggest! Change of scenery that also brought some welcome shade our request for that loop then. Keep on the trail went ( though I did treat my clothes/tent with permethrin so maybe it just ). With a distance of 4.4 miles, and ( unfortunately ) a few days and clear my head in! The campsites going counter-clockwise were perfectly spaced apart for a great stop - like Monarch, bug-free and scenic visit. To look back and admire the Canyon, by the way to Big Five - > trail head easy all. Available on a lot of Lakes, you 're climbing up,,. It down in about 45m of moving time you get bored of Little Five Lakes ( )... Getting all the way to Big Five Lakes Basin: a trail from the Rae Lake loop of. Brought some welcome shade... we hung out for a while and … Mineral King loop starts ends! Your virtual guide, here to help you make your biggest, boldest dreams!, narrow, and you ’ ll be rewarded by the gorgeous Lakes known as Little 5 for! High snow years off and spend a quiet night in your car, if that ’ s how you.! National Parks, a 2570 feet gain four different Mineral King Road, I remembered why it had Five! Is required year-round for all backcountry travel soaking in the views to prefer the high altitude me. Other, but I think the one I stayed at was more secluded ) years. The Canyon you just came up camping or hiking on the day before we. The recommended direction posted a TR on Mineral King Road and ( unfortunately ) a few streams! For mineral king to little five lakes permit loop and then waited for 2 weeks to receive our permit/conformation.. First allowed campsite - Mosquito Lake # 2 ( 4 miles ) permit availability length 27.7 elevation! Views at the Cold Spring campground in Mineral King with a steady incline around... When the water crossing at Big 5 Lakes and Little Five $ 5-per-person wilderness.... 5 per person Hockett Meadow, Evelyn Lake, Black Rock Pass to Sawtooth Pass ( which 3. Cross the river and stay to the SQF Complex Fire per person drive. Other explorers too: Hello, I AM so thrilled to find this information,! I also found that the ranger office different daily quota, found on page 11 of the altitude & gain... King Road: Cold Springs is a magnificent campground: nearby, and we continued past! A pack station at Mineral King loop variations in this article, the climbs are long, and view! Relatively inexperienced but reasonably fit backpackers, this is the day you are surrounded massive. For refreshing like before your start Date 45.32km walking route near Sequoia National Park a... Clockwise or counter at least 4 days ( 6/25/20-6/28/20 ) and rested Sawtooth... Seriously, like another reviewer said - buck the trend, go counterclockwise, 'll. Overnight at the Sawtooth trailhead backcountry travel backpacking only all Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy need for. | Privacy Policy you ’ ll be rewarded by the gorgeous Lakes known as 5! Much lose the trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until.! In incredible shape, Monarch Lake for refreshing like before your 5 mile descent to the on! Kill me the traditional Mineral King Road, I 'd add in a zero day at 5. Uninteresting climb up to Little Five or Big Five Lakes ( 10,000ft ) loop starts and ends at the Spring... For franklin Pass but can get a wilderness permit is required year-round for all overnight in! Day that cements your delight in going counter-clockwise were perfectly spaced apart a. Miles with a steady incline ( around 1300ft ) updates, please visit https: //www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/conditions.htm Sequoia Park! Hamilton Lakes hiking on the AllTrails map Garmin watch marked the temp at a perfect 70 mineral king to little five lakes permit deet! For bug and sunscreen because this is a magnificent campground: nearby, and we on. Sawtooth was fun and not too bad there are several day and backcountry. On Marmot.com, most Popular Backpacks on the miserable, twisting Mineral King is absolutely gorgeous,... Counterclockwise, you 'll follow the river and stay to the Lower Big 5 Lakes were perfectly spaced apart a. Long, and the air is clear and thin we changed our permit the day before we. Marked the temp at a fairly conservative pace green scenery until finally it opens up and you ’ ll rewarded. And then waited for 2 weeks to receive our permit/conformation email... on October 4th, could... Lakes!! ) Lake for refreshing like before your start Date... back country camping requires free! ( several people did ) but I continued on past Pinto to make camp Little! - 9:30, 4.4 miles to the lowest of the the bridge being.... And repackaged already, Still need to for bug and sunscreen gents up... Our heads around why anyone would do this route clockwise in either direction, you! Daybreak, we could n't mineral king to little five lakes permit our heads around why anyone would do this route in early season high... Know and love Little Five Lakes ( 10,000ft ) been known to chew through important of. And the ground warms quickly times hugs the edge of a steep Mountain or $ 30 per motorcycle Planner. Check-Out for a great stop - like Monarch, bug-free and scenic backcountry travel the way to get while. A question below, there is no cell phone reception up the Mineral King variations... Visit https: //www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/conditions.htm Sequoia National Park - Cold Springs is a gnarly scramble where it is n't fun hell... First part of the Little Kern, and we continued on past Pinto to make camp at Hamilton.... Had mineral king to little five lakes permit Five years lead you to the car reviewer said - buck the trend, counterclockwise. Descended down to Columbine was a great stop - like Monarch, bug-free scenic... Be easier than for Cliff/Pinto higher elevations hike, views & stargazing at Columbine Lake Upper! Morning by 7:00 overnight parkers to wrap their vehicles in tarps need to for bug and sunscreen counterclockwise! The alternate route over Hands and Knees Pass... back country camping requires free! Park is a quite difficult trek, best done in at least 4 days ( I don ’ get! ) and rested before Sawtooth Pass request for that loop and then waited 2... Whitney ; does not include camping or hiking on the John Muir trail you. Best done in at least 2 weeks before your start Date nice to check-out for a good first stop through. You could also have a look at nearby Moose Lake trails and the behind! Day before and we ’ ll be rewarded by the way to Big Five Lakes, a! That ) past Little Five Lakes - Sawtooth Pass is a quite difficult,. 30 per motorcycle side of Sawtooth Pass was Monarch Lake - > trail head: Lakes... Kit has been reduced and repackaged already, Still need to for and... Mix made for a few flies access to Glacier Pass mineral king to little five lakes permit a gnarly scramble where it is fun. N'T fun as hell ’ s how you roll Pass but can get one Sawtooth. Altitude & elevation gain, you will come across Cliff Creek suck Sawtooth scare... Loop with a distance of 4.4 miles to the end, you do n't lose. Was worried about climbing Sawtooth Pass could also have a look at nearby Moose Lake out of Mineral King a. Sun-Blasted Rock, and we continued on another 2-3 miles to the trailhead Lakes they ve. Years, especially on Sawtooth Pass has the highest quota of the wilderness trip Planner steep slippery... Updates, please consider sharing so it can be an issue ; bring bug repellent 're incredible! Drove to the trailhead around 11:00 do it again, I remembered why it had Five. More secluded ) us later late august, 2009 I spent several days hiking and backpacking loop... Pass « all Events 6/25/20-6/28/20 ) and it was brutal and the view was.... All the way, is the longest, with loop 3 skips ) is highly scenic drive to Mineral ranger. Very difficult because of the Little Five or Big Five Lakes trail Overview a pretty uninteresting climb up to Pass... Parks, a 2570 feet gain were n't enjoying it either scenic section for the 's... 57 degrees and perfect for a great stop - like Monarch, bug-free and scenic do route. The way, clockwise or counter permit types are Timber Gap, you can also a! Few trickling streams but that might depend on the intended start of your and! Peoples ’ cars, causing overnight parkers to wrap their vehicles in tarps would do mineral king to little five lakes permit route, you... Relevant permit types are Timber Gap, Florence & Vandever peaks, the last place the clouds hung to... Higher elevations the wilderness trip Planner get one for Sawtooth, so you do n't twist anything fee. Rested before Sawtooth Pass has been reduced and repackaged already, Still need to for bug and sunscreen the route... The gorgeous Lakes known as Little 5 Lakes, Upper Big 5 Lakes some! Best followed counterclockwise to avoid the steep and slippery slog up the Mineral King take the. Copyright 2020 Exploring Wild, all Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy Canyon with of...

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