North Fork Big Pine Creek Trailhead to Big Pine Lakes Backpack
August 14 - 20, 2022.
To apply for this backpack, you must click I’m interested. Please be aware that the trip leader will determine who is eligible for this trip. He will then send out a registration form. If you change your mind before receiving that registration form, please cancel on Wild Apricot. That form needs to be returned to him and payment made of the $40.00 fee. You need to return the fee and submit payment within 7 days of receiving the registration form or he will contact the next person on the waiting list, and you will forfeit your spot. No refunds after July 15, 2022.
As summer in Los Angeles and environs heats up, this is an opportunity to escape to the High Sierra. You‘ll notice stunning vistas along the way. Beautiful alpine flowers, tumbling waterfalls and serene lakes await you. In the evenings, you can watch the sunset wash the peaks with Alpenglow. We will hike up Big Pine Canyon to the Big Pine Lakes basin and establish a bae camp at Sixth lake, from where we will spend days exploring. Since this is a base camp style trip, people can shorten their stay as they see fit.
This trip is limited to 7 hikers plus the leader.
Although not part of the official trip, it is recommended to drive up on 8/14 and camp near the trailhead, Big Pine Creek Campground, to better acclimatize to the altitude of about 8,000 feet and rest up for the hike the next day.
8/15: Hike from the trailhead near the Big Pine Creek Campground to the shores of First Lake; 5 miles & 2350 ft gain. The trail goes up Big Pine Lakes Canyon, which was arved by the glaciers so is narrow and steep sided, passes the historic Lon Chaney cabin and 2 sets of waterfalls. This is likely to be a moderately strenuous day due to the altitude effects, so we will pause at First Lake to allow us to acclimatize.
8/16: Hike from First Lake to Summit Lake; 2.5 miles, 930 ft. gain. This will be our base camp. We will pass along 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Lakes enroute which are milky turquoise in color from the glacial powder carried down from the glacier.
8/17 – 8/19: Various day hikes to explore the Big Pine Lakes basin and the Palisade Glacier. We will have spectacular views of the Glacier and the Palisade Crest which averages 14,000 feet, and is the southernmost glacier in the United States. It is estimated to be about two miles in length and several hundred feet thick. The trip to the glacier tops out at about 13,000 feet.
8/20: Return to the trailhead via Black Lake.
You will need your ten essentials and appropriate backpacking gear. Please request a list if needed. Carpooling is recommended to reduce fuel costs and vehicle emissions.
Location Approx. Altitude
Big Pine Campground 7,700 ft
First Lake 10,033
Summit Lake 10,960
Third Lake 10,293
Fourth Lake 10,778
Fifth Lake 10,806
Sixth Lake 11,191