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Pear Lake Trail in California

A popular hiking destination in Sequoia National Park

Best time: May–October

Pear Lake Trail
Pear Lake Trail
Pear Lake Trail

Pear Lake that got its name due to its shape is the final destination of the magnificent Lake Trail, a 14-mi (23-km) route that features picturesque granite landscape studded with glacially-formed lakes near Three Rivers, California. All three major water basins on this route—Pear Lake, Emerald Lake, and Heather Lake—are surrounded by stunning alpine scenery. Pear Lake is located in about 4-mi (6.4-km) from the Wolverton trailhead in Sequoia National Park.

Hiking season in Sequoia’s National Park lasts from May/June through October. The Watchtower Trail leading to the lakes is usually closed in the winter and can have some snow even during the early summer till July.

The trail to Pear Lake starts at the Wolverton parking lot and steeply goes up through the woods right away until hikers reach a small meadow. From there, the trail turns left to Pear Lake, climbing through a pine forest. Hikers can pick the Watchtower route to the left or the Hump route to the right to reach the lake. Both are quite difficult and steep. However, you will be awarded beautiful views of granite outcroppings along the Tokopah Valley.

Pear Lake Backcountry Campsite is located on the northeast side of the lake, at the base of 13,176-ft (4,016-m) Copeland Mountain. It is quite popular in the summer so make a reservation in advance.

Practical info

When is the best time to hike the Pear Lake Trail?

The hiking season begins in May/June and lasts until October in Sequoia's National Park. Weather conditions are favorable for hiking during this time, and the trail is open. However, the Watchtower Trail is closed in winters, and some snow may persist until July, making it unsuitable for hiking. Show more

Where is Pear Lake located within Sequoia National Park?

Situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range, Pear Lake is about 4 miles away from the Wolverton trailhead in Sequoia National Park. Hikers must traverse the famous Pear Lake Trail, a 14-mile route that offers scenic beauty, including three glacially-formed lakes, including Emerald Lake, Heather Lake, and Peal lake, along with beautiful alpine views of granite outcroppings. Show more

How difficult is the Watchtower Trail compared to the Hump Route?

The hike to Pear Lake can be challenging, regardless of the trail you choose. Both the Watchtower Trail and the Hump Route trail finish at Pear Lake and are steep and challenging. The Watchtower Trail features a steep incline, narrow sections of trails, and steep descent and is more arduous than the Hump Route. Irrespective of the route, hikers enjoy splendid views of granite outcroppings along the Tokopah Valley. Show more

What should I expect to see during the hike, besides the glacially-formed lakes?

The Pear Lake Trail is a beautiful hike famous for its stunning views and wildlife. You can witness the towering pines and granite outcroppings along the Tokopah Valley. Besides the glacially-formed lakes, visitors may spot black bears, deer, coyotes, and gray foxes during their hike. The Pear Lake Backcountry Campsite offers visitors a fantastic camping experience. Show more

Can I camp at the Pear Lake Backcountry Campsite year-round, or are there specific reservation times?

Visitors can camp on designated spots at the Pear Lake Backcountry Campsite year-round. However, reserving a campsite is a must and is advisable to do so to avoid the last-minute rush. The Pear Lake Backcountry Campsite is highly popular during the summer, and reservations during peak hiking seasons are essential. Every hiker must obtain a wilderness permit before commencing the hike, available at the Lodgepole or Foothills Visitor Centers. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva