Both are first come first served and cost $12 per night. From the Sawtooth Pass trailhead in Mineral King, you can either go over Glacier Pass, or go north over Timber Gap, and connect to the Cliff Creek trail to Blackrock Pass. -hiking Dave. Thanks so much in advance! Despite it being the hardest trip I've done (it IS challenging, don't underestimate it), it was so worth it! This is a combination of Mineral King Loops 1 and 2. Finally, the descent down to Mineral King is absolutely gorgeous. The 4.5 mile, 2,600ft climb to Monarch took us a solid four hours to do; we were waterlogged by weak sea-level lungs and an unforgiving sun. As for shortening the trip to 3 nights/4 days, you’ll find the last day to be a real bear if you go through Black Rock Pass from Little Five Lakes back to Mineral King Trailhead. Download the GPS file Oct 22, 2017 - Mineral King to Little Five Lakes Trail is a 28.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sequoia National Park, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Mineral King to Little Five Lakes Trail [GESCHLOSSEN] ist ein 27.7 Meilen langer, moderat besuchter Rundweg in der Nähe von Three Rivers, Kalifornien. But if you search for “Mineral King Loop,” you’ll find a confusing jumble of different mileages, lakes, passes, and gaps that never seem to quite match up. Both passes were the right way up, going up sawtooth was brutal and the view was incredible. Hiking the … After soaking in the views at the top, you'll descend towards the Little Five lakes. The scenery is big, the climbs are long, and the air is clear and thin. Tons of tough trail, lots of climbing on steep gradients, and an absurd amount of sierra scenery. Little Five Lakes Basin: A trail from the Old Patrol cabin heads up to Little Five Lakes. Allows summiting Mt. Clouds gathering already in Kaweah Gap, the last place the clouds hung on to yesterday. The Quick and Dirty: Location: Sequoia National Forest, Mineral King Distance: 28-29 miles (we looked at 3 maps, all different mileage) Terrain Type: Rolling, high, and long elevation climbs and descents Difficulty: Strenuous Best Time: Late summer and early fall, the road is closed when there is snow fall Special Conditions: Permit needed for over night camping. ... unmaintained trail beyond Monarch Lakes. That said, the section through Lost Canyon and over Sawtooth Pass (which loop 3 skips) is highly scenic. ... On October 4th, we left the Bay Area for the long drive to Mineral King. We started hiking at 2:00pm on July 10th, having driven six hours from Marin. Sawtooth pass is a gnarly scramble where it is easy to lose the trail. The climb up to Big Five Lakes from there was pleasant. Fill up your water at the river by Pinto. Posted by 13 days ago. Show more Show less. Not a trip for the faint of heart or the weak of knee … 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. Very difficult because of the altitude & elevation gain, on the second day especially. Thank you Bonnie Kanae. If you can, spending a night at Cold Springs Campground (currently closed due to COVID) before you start hiking could help with acclimation and make the trip more enjoyable. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Shaded switchbacks on a dirt/gravel mix made for a great time. Lingering snow can pose a danger in early season or high snow years, especially on Sawtooth Pass. I also found that the campsites going counter-clockwise were perfectly spaced apart for a 4-night trip. Trip Date: July 3-5, 2020 Trail Overview. Check with a ranger for current conditions. … 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. This ones a bit different, with a deep blue surrounded by gray rock. The climb up to Black Rock Pass is brutal, we had a member of our group struggle with some altitude sickness and the climb would be killer even if it started at sea level. This long Mineral King Loop is essentially loop 1, but with a long extension on the northern side that takes in Kaweah Gap and some of the scenic High Sierra Trail. 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. 12 miles to Hockett Meadow. I loved the climb up to Timber Gap. 1/4th of the quota is available on a walk-up basis at the issuing station closest to the trailhead on the day you are starting. First allowed campsite - Lower Monarch Lake (4.2 miles). 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. SEKI site has updates form 7/21. Lowest elevation: 7,161 feet (western start of Black Rock Pass climb), Highest elevation: 11,650 feet (Sawtooth Pass), Recommended direction: clockwise (but either works), Trailhead: Sawtooth Trailhead (both directions), Permit entry point: Timber Gap (clockwise) or Sawtooth Pass (counterclockwise). Call the ranger station to check the current level of risk before driving in. It is well worth enduring the poorly maintained, 25-mile Mineral King Road to access this subalpine glacial valley; you will not be disappointed. This loop is best followed counterclockwise to avoid the steep and slippery slog up the west side of Sawtooth Pass. Slow down your pace, this ones a marathon, not a sprint. 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. Do not go up past Pinto to Black Rock past 4pm, it will be dark by the time you get to the summit and it can be dangerous at that point. A good friend of mine is currently training to hike the John Muir Trail this summer and has committed to camping or backpacking every weekend until her start … The Big Five Lakes Trail, itself, is not difficult, but reaching it requires a long, strenuous hike, no matter which trail or route you take.Little Five Lakes are much better known because they are on Blackrock Pass.The Big Five Lakes are often bypassed as hikers loop from from Blackrock Pass to the Lost Canyon or Soda Creek trails. The Mt. I’ve shown it counterclockwise here because a) permits for Franklin Pass are generally easier to get, and b) Black Rock Pass from the west is both longer and steeper than Franklin pass coming from the west. Overall a fantastic hike, views & stargazing at Columbine lake were amazing, but just know what you're getting yourselves into! We submitted our request for that loop and then waited for 2 weeks to receive our permit/conformation email. Completed 6/28-7/1. This was also very beautiful (but I think the one I stayed at was more secluded). Though the climb up to Blackrock Pass is only about 1200ft from there (compared to 5,000ft from Cliff Creek), it's best to start early. Trip writeup (counterclockwise) on, Most Popular Backpacks on the John Muir Trail. He ran a pack station at Mineral King from 1958 for about 25 years. I didn't realize that the ranger station closed at 4 and there's no after-hours way to get a wilderness permit. They're probably OK in Big Five because it doesn't get a lot of visitors, but check with Mineral King R.S. Trail is well-maintained and well-marked, except for section from Sawtooth Pass down to Monarch Lakes which is just a big hill of loose rock and sand. Copyright 2020 Exploring Wild, All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. It is managed according to the Wilderness Management Plan and the 1964 Wilderness Act, to provide protection of fragile resources and preservation of wilderness character for generations to come. You might feel like quitting, but keep at it, slow and steady. Backpacked this incredible loop clockwise 7/20/20 - 7/23/20. Mineral King Ranger Station: … The Mineral King area of California's Sequoia National Park provides hiking access to some of the most spectacular high country in the southern Sierra. Got a late start, arriving at 1:00pm, tarped my car to protect from marmots (per the rangers recommendation). Trail Overview Trail: Eagle Lake from Mineral King Valley Distance: 7.2 miles round trip Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,175 ft. The descent down Blackrock lasts for miles, and we continued on past Pinto to make camp at Cliff Creek. After a half hour on the miserable, twisting Mineral King road, I remembered why it had been five years. Memories of Big Five Lakes and Little Five Lakes lingered in my mind so I headed up the Mineral King Road to the trailhead. More info: here are trail descriptions and trip reports for this variation of Mineral King Loop: Recommended direction: counterclockwise (but either works), Trailhead: Farewell Gap / Franklin Lakes Trailhead (ccw) or Sawtooth Trailhead (cw), Permit entry point: Franklin Pass (counterclockwise) or Sawtooth Pass (clockwise). Mineral King is an area, only accessible by a very curvy twenty one mile long road, South East of the main entrance of Sequoia National Park. share. That said, if it’s a rare, crowded weekend, hump it up over the … Bullfrog Lakes: These lakes are the headwaters to the Little Kern River. Lowest elevation: 7,161 feet (bottom of Black Rock Pass climb on west side), Highest elevation: 11,729 feet (Franklin Pass), Recommended direction: either (slight preference for counterclockwise), Trailhead: Farewell Gap / Franklin Lakes Trailhead (ccw) or Sawtooth Trailhead (cw), Permit entry point: Franklin Pass (counterclockwise) or Timber Gap (clockwise). Pick your own route up, try to stick close to the All Trails route, look out for cairns, rest and reevaluate often - it's genuinely fun. Spring Lake cross country to Black Rock pass trail, Black Rock pass, little five lakes, big five lakes, lake 10040+ (2nd night). Why you should go: Take in the breathtaking scenery of the high alpine on this leg-busting trek out of Mineral King. Elevation gain: … You'll follow the river for the most part, crossing it once again. Day 3 - The best day of the trip, because this is the day that cements your delight in going counter-clockwise. It talks about the making of these trails and the history behind them as well as his adventures in the mountains. Hiking in Trail Running Shoes: Good idea? Whatever we wish. With a pretty complete reserve of energy, we bombed down 3000ft to Pinto Lake which, if you're not camping there, is definitely worth a rest stop. We did the loop counterclockwise per our permit. Buck the trend and do this one counter-clockwise. Once you reach the bottom, you're at Monarch Lake where I made camp. It feels magical. It's easy to lose the trail here, but basically you need to walk about halfway around the lake and you'll find the trail (there are some cairns) that leads you up to sawtooth pass. We took about 1h15m up this pass at a fairly conservative pace. Day 4 is the beginning of the hike out. We were in adequate shape - not great, but not bad. Lakes, vistas, access to Glacier Pass, Big and Little Five … Upper lake is 5.25 miles. ... We hung out for a while and … This loop can be done either direction, but typically clockwise is recommended because the west side of Sawtooth Pass is quite a slog when going up. 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. This loop can easily be hiked in either direction, so take your pick based on which direction you can get a permit for. Once you reach the Mineral King Ranger Station, you'll want to pick up your overnight permit and rent a bear container if you don't already have one. They're probably OK in Big Five because it doesn't get a lot of visitors, but check with Mineral King R.S. Heading into this trip, I was worried about climbing Sawtooth Pass. We saw a friendly deer, hummingbirds, and (unfortunately) a few flies. Day 1 - A shorter day, our first stop was Monarch lake after starting from the trailhead around 11:00. save hide report. As you descend, you'll get to smile and wave to all of the poor souls that made the terrible mistake of doing this trek clockwise. 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. The ascent up Blackrock after getting up to Little Five Lakes is a little rough, mostly because it's hot and uninspiring - and this is the easy side. Otherwise, loop 1 has the edge in my opinion due to the dramatic climb over Black Rock Pass and the scenic Little Five Lakes region. Er führt entlang eines Sees, entlang eines Flusses und es gibt einen Wasserfall und schöne Wildblumen. Distance: 36.3 miles. 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. Note that there was literally no cloud buildup during our entire trip (5 days, 4 nights) and the sun was especially strong during this leg. About every five years or so, I forget why I haven't been on a hike out of Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. 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. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. If you get bored of Little Five Lakes, you could also have a look at nearby Moose Lake. 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. Sequoia National Park - Cold Springs is a magnificent campground : nearby, and Lippincott Mountain is lovely and can be seen from here. When parking at Mineral King Ranger Station, put all your food in the bear boxes and beware of marmots. Popular horse trail. After an hour of rapidly descending down that unforgiving pass, you'll meet a weary clockwise hiker that looks at you with a glint of hope in their eyes, gives you a strained smile, and wistfully asks how much farther it is to the top of Blackrock. Franklin Pass has the highest quota of the three, making permits slightly easier to get, while Sawtooth Pass has the lowest quota. For a group of relatively inexperienced but reasonably fit backpackers, this was tough but doable. 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. It's the ideal send-off for this route: a final 2300ft climb through forest, then above a cascade waterfall, and finally to a flat gap with wildlife aplenty. The hike up is very rocky, so watch your step so you don't twist anything. Drinking water is frequently available in the valleys; Creek crossings at Cliff Creek (loops 1, 3, and 4) and Big Arroyo (loop 4 only) can be challenging when flow is high. Sequoia National Park is more than just a host to its namesake trees. Mineral King – Timber Gap to Blackrock Pass to Sawtooth Pass « All Events. Download Mineral King Trail Map: Bearpaw Meadow, Franklin Pass, Little Five Lakes, Hockett Meadow, High Sierra Trail, Funston Meadow, Silver City, Chag (Tom Harrison Maps) Ebook Free. Walk through meadowy green scenery until finally it opens up and you are surrounded by massive mountains on either side. We live at sea level and are pretty experienced backpackers. 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 … The quickest way in is via the easy class 3 Glacier Pass, then over Blackrock Pass and down past Little Five Lakes. For the same reasons as loop 1, clockwise is the recommended direction. 5. Seriously, like another reviewer said - buck the trend, go counterclockwise, you'll thank us later. I was able to take it down in about 45m of moving time. There are no trees though, so you will definitely need a bear canister if you choose to. For updates, please visit 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. We changed our permit from the Rae Lake Loop because of the the bridge being out. 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