Best time to travel to California

Big Pine Lakes in California

Seven dazzlingly beautiful lakes in a single-day hike..let's go?

Best time: early May–October

Big Pine Lakes
Big Pine Lakes
Big Pine Lakes

Big Pine Lakes are seven beautiful glacial reservoirs located near Big Pine, California, high up the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Nestled among 14,000-ft peaks, the lakes can be reached by a trail along North Fork of Pine Creek.

Big Pine Lakes Trail is 21.7 km (13.5 mi) long. It starts at the Big Pine Creek Campground and goes past a waterfall, then starts a loop around seven of the lakes. Hikers pass Mt. Alice and then enter the John Muir Trail Wilderness of Inyo National Forest. The first three lakes are believed to be the most beautiful with the backdrop of the stunning Temple Crag. After the loop, the path leads to the other lakes and the base of Palisade Glacier. The best time to hike this trail is from early May to October when the campground is open. In the summer the path can be quite busy.

Camping is also a popular option on this trail. Big Pine Creek Campground is located next to the Glacier Lodge at the head of Glacier Lodge Road. The campground has 30 campsites. Also, a few cabins are available for rent, and a store is open for visitors. Anglers can go fishing in Big Pine Creek, while climbers get attracted to the rigged picks surrounding the glacier. The maximum length of stay at the campground is 14 days.

Practical info

When is the best time to hike Big Pine Lakes Trail?

Hiking Big Pine Lakes Trail is best done between May and October, during the period when the campground is open. Hiking in summer is a popular activity, and the trail often gets congested as a result. Show more

Where is Big Pine Lakes Trail located?

Big Pine Lakes Trail is situated in Big Pine, California, towards the east of Sierra Nevada Mountains. The trail starts at the Big Pine Creek Campground and goes by a waterfall, proceeding up to the seven lake loop. Show more

What are the popular activities to do in Big Pine Lakes?

Hiking, camping, fishing and climbing are some of the famous activities carried out in Big Pine Lakes. Seven pristine glacial reservoirs surround the area, making it a paradise for those who love nature and hiking. Show more

How long does it usually take to hike the entire trail?

Normally, it takes between six and eight hours to complete the 13.5-mile-long Big Pine Lakes Trail. Since the trail has an elevation gain of 2,815 ft, fitness is vital for anyone attempting to hike this route. The hiking time may vary depending on the hiker's physical fitness. Show more

Are there any restrictions on camping in Big Pine Creek Campground?

Camping reservations have to be made in advance, and the maximum stay is 14 days in Big Pine Creek Campground. Thirty campsites and a few cabins are available for rent, and the general store stocks basic supplies to cater to visitors' needs. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin