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Best time to visit California

Rae Lakes Loop

Beautiful lakes nestled in scenic High Sierra mountains


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Rae Lakes is a series of lakes located in the Kings Canyon National Park, Fresno County, California. With incredible lake basins, foaming waterfalls, and scenic canyons no wonder it's a popular hiking destination. The lakes have an elevation of 10,544 ft (3,214 m) and are surrounded by the scenic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The Rae Lakes Trail is a 41.4-mile (66.6 km) loop trail head, and is just a few miles away from Cedar Grove, California. The trail can usually be completed in three days, provided that you can walk about 20 miles per day with a backpack.

The clockwise hike starts at Road’s End in King’s Canyon. The major highlight of the first part of the hike is Mist Falls and Paradise Valley, where hikers can find a few campsites. Next, you'll have to cross a suspension bridge before getting to the Rae Lakes Basin with scenic campsites surrounding the three lakes. From there you can take the trail to the alpine Sixty Lake Basin and conquer Glen Pass. Glen Pass may be impassable until mid-late July. However, the best time to hike the Rae Lakes Loop runs from June through September.

The Rae Lakes Loop is one of the most popular hikes in the Sierra region. Thus, if you plan to do this hike during the summer month, you need to make reservations in advance. You can obtain wilderness permits for the Rae Lakes Loop at the Roads End station. If you have a reservation already, you still need to check in and pick up your permit before starting your trip.

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