High Sierra Lakes Tour

Tim Valentine

May 24, 2015
This summer I hiked with one of my daughters thru some of the Sierras most scenic high altitude lakes. We started by driving up from the southern part of the state to the Mammoth lakes area. We stayed overnight in the Alabama hills hoping to see a good sunrise with some of the arches. It was a clear sunrise with glow on the mountains.

Mt Whitney on far right.


After picking up our permit in Bishop we did a day hike out of Rock Creek. This is one of the higher trailheads in the range, the car was parked at 10,300 feet, so we were into some great scenery without much effort.

The calendar said last day of July but up high it felt like it was still Spring.
Pussywillow blooms.

Fun at the Lakeshore

The next morning we got started on our backpack trip. We caught the Mammoth shuttle to Agnew meadows and headed North on the River trail . As we went by Thousand Island Lake we passed a family with pack Llamas toting their gear going South.




Mt Banner was a great backdrop for the many vistas we would encounter our first few days.


Sunset was very clear and quite pleasant.

The Milky Way came out a little later.


Sunrise found us surrounded by an ever-changing colored landscape and sky.


It was easy to go crazy with the camera.


The sunrise in the other direction was colorful too.

Early sunrise panorama

Paintbrush Reflections

There was a cool rock at camp with a big white stripe.

Once the sun was fully up we tore down the tent in search of more lakes.

The next destination was Lake Catherine. Along the way we saw some nice high meadows


A Clarks Nutcracker feasting on pine nuts.


The snow fields were very thin.

As our hiking continued Mt Banner was again the backdrop for more great scenery.

Holly found a great lounge chair rock at this little swimming lake.

Some of the lakes were remote enough that the endangered Sierra Yellow Legged frog was resident. They were nearly wiped out by the introduction of stocked trout to many of the lakes that nature had kept fishless.


More sierra mountain color.

Once we got up high the lakes were more accessible.

Here is Nydiver lake were we had lunch.


Garnet Lake

We spotted a garter snake swimming along the shoreline.


It was quite predictable so I ran ahead and videoed it swimming towards the camera.

This was Lake Ediza.


This was before the sun came up.


All of our camps were really nice. The Ansel Adams Wilderness requires bear canisters. We had no issues with any of our food preparation areas.


We left the views of Lake Ediza and Mount Ritter and Banner

Next up were the Minarets


Iceberg Lake view.

This shows how little snow was on the trail to Cecile Lake from Iceberg lake. We did run into a couple of parties traveling the other direction that had difficulty with the cross country up from Minaret Lake. One group had a fall that drew blood but otherwise made it through.

Descending from Cecile Lake

Our final camp was at Minaret Lake.


Another great sunset looking toward Mammoth Mountain

The hike out on the next day .

A pair of Pine Martens crossed the trail oblivious to our presence as they played amongst the deadfall.

The weather was clear and warm the entire trip. Not even a thunderstorm day or night.
Thanks for joining us.

Tim and Holly


  • _73A6673.jpg
    96.3 KB · Views: 37
  • _73A6676.jpg
    87.4 KB · Views: 36
  • _73A6896.jpg
    125.7 KB · Views: 38
  • _73A6980.jpg
    161.3 KB · Views: 40
  • _73A6921.jpg
    103.9 KB · Views: 39
  • _73A6965.jpg
    142.9 KB · Views: 38
  • IMG_3846.jpg
    68.9 KB · Views: 37
  • _73A7072.jpg
    128.2 KB · Views: 36
  • _73A7114.jpg
    132.9 KB · Views: 35
  • _73A7154.jpg
    150.6 KB · Views: 36
Last edited:


Jul 22, 2016
Great report. Makes me want to start planning for next year's adventure.

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Jan 4, 2014
Beautiful pictures Tim. Makes me wish that the Sierras worked better with my schedule. They looks like a great experience.

Tim Valentine

May 24, 2015
Thanks folks. I am hoping we get another winter of good storms in the Sierra to keep things normal for next hiking season.



Oct 30, 2016
Awesome views. Surprised a snake would find the temps at elevation livable!
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
fossana Bear Lakes > Royce Lakes overnighter (High Sierra) Backpacking 12
Timber High Sierra - North Lake to South Lake Loop - Layover Day Trip Planning 8
NorthwestWanderer 8 Day High Sierra trek : Humphreys Basin, Star Col, Granite Park, Lake Italy & Piute Canyon 6/25-7/2/22 Backpacking 7
balzaccom My second mystery novel set in the High Sierra is now out! General Discussion 6
balzaccom Gibbs Lake, High Sierra Backpacking 2
fossana Palisades Roundabout (High Sierra) Backpacking 12
fossana Evolution Loop (High Sierra) Hiking & Camping 10
balzaccom Mystery set in the High Sierra General Discussion 4
Tarp Boy High Sierra Camp Loop, Yosemite, CA Trip Reports 5
J Cali: Cinder Cones, High Sierra Rambles, Famous Domes Oct 26-31, 2018 Hiking & Camping 3
fossana Pine Creek/Granite Park fall excursion (High Sierra) Hiking & Camping 14
Boognish Four days in the High Sierra Backpacking 10
scatman High Sierra Trail Backpacking 23
Perry Sierra Designs High Route 1FL Tent - Looks interesting Gear 6
Mike Jones High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney through hike Backpacking 11
Mike Jones High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney Trip Planning 11
TheMountainRabbit Dana Meadows to Twin Lakes via the High Route (Yosemite/Hoover Wilderness) - August 2023 Backpacking 8
meowtaingal Wind river high route mid september Trip Planning 7
Kullaberg63 Gore high traverse Backpacking 11
Parma Camping with a double high air mattress? General Discussion 3
travel2walk preventing high altitude (khumbu) cough techniques? Resource Discussions 2
NorthwestWanderer First time in the High Uintas | Red Castle SNEAK Loop | I give these mountains 5 out of 5 stars Backpacking 7
TheMountainRabbit Red's Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows via the High Route (Ansel Adams/Yosemite Wilderness) - August 2022 Backpacking 5
Bob Teton Wilderness - 50 miles of High Country - Aug 2022 Backpacking 45
TrailScot "I'll take the High Road ..." - A Loop Hike around the Canyons of Needles - May 2022 Trip Reports 14
N Gilbert Meadows- High Uintas Trip Planning 0
norwegianxplorer Backpacking Norway, Lysefjorden/Kjerag/Kjerag Waterfall/Kjeragbolten, 4 days Solo Hiking high above the Norwegian Fjords Trip Reports 2
WasatchWill The High Uintas 4-4-4: Four Basins, Four Passes, Four Days Backpacking 20
C High Uintas Wilderness - Last minute plans Trip Planning 4
Mountain Wanderer High Uintas Wilderness - Granddaddy Basin Backpacking 4
fossana A taste of the GR11: 6 Days on the Travesía Pirenaica (High Pyrenees, Spain) Backpacking 18
Born to Hike Mountain Solitude: Reconnaissance Lake, High Uintas, early Sept 2019 Backpacking 9
DrNed Plan B to High Uintas Backpacking Trip Planning 20
Dave High Uinta sheep grazing EIS General Discussion 2
R Psuedoephedrine at high altitude General Discussion 6
David Rule High Peaks Wilderness-August 2018 Backpacking 1
Born to Hike Clements Lake and East Basin in the High Uintas, mid-July 2018 Backpacking 6
D Wind River High Route Trip Planning 4
LarryBoy Absarokas Fun Route - 12 Days of High Adventure Backpacking 21
Ross High Spur and North Wash Canyoneering 5
westy High Uintas - West Basin Backpacking 0
George_Washington_Hayduke High Uintas: Allen Lake and Thunderstorms Backpacking 0
westy High Uintas - Henry's, Painter, Yellowstone, Smith's Backpacking 5
westy High Uintas - Middle Basin Backpacking 5
Luke High elevation uinta campgrounds/lakes General Discussion 9
S Central Utah high alpine suggestions Trip Planning 2
N Which High Uintas overnight hike? Trip Planning 2
mattvogt7 High Water Bruneau On The Water 8
S High alpine in central Utah Trip Planning 4
Devin Ashby Ostler Peak - Amethyst Basin - High Uinta Wilderness Backpacking 0

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.