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Hiking & Walking: California > Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park

Quick Facts

The Lakes Trail

Beginning Elevation: 7,250 Feet (2260.0 Meters) Wolverton Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult Strenuous
Elevation Gain, One-way: 2,250 Feet (701.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,500 Feet (2961.3 Meters) Pear Lake
Length, One-way: 6.7 Miles (11.17 Kilometers) Pear Lake
Point of Interest: Watchtower formation
Recommended Season: Early Fall
Usage: Heavy
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Lakes Trail begins from the Wolverton Trailhead. It is the most popular backpacking trail in Sequoia National Park. So, if solitude is what your seeking this isn't the trail for you. Despite the crowds its a beautifully scenic tromp through a sequoia grove and outcropping granite to a series of alpine lakes.

The trail begins by climbing from the 7,250 foot trailhead. Follow the trail eastward from the trailhead on the northern bank of Wolverton Creek. You'll reach a trail junction two miles from the trailhead. Take the left fork, the right side leads to Panther Gap.

Approximately a quarter mile from this trail junction the trail splits. This is the beginning of the loop that leads past the Watchtower rock formation to Heather Lake. Either side of the fork will bring you back to this point. The left side has a more gradual ascent and leads past the Watchtower and along a granite shelf that provides great views of the valley to the east.

The loop is approximately two miles on each side. Heather Lake lies at the far end of the loop about four miles from the trailhead. There is no camping permitted at Heather Lake. Continue walking eastward from Heather Lake to reach Aster and Emerald Lakes. The one mile trek to these lakes is relatively flat and too easy to miss these alpine lakes. Backpackers will want to continue hiking another half mile and 400 feet to Pear Lake and the backcountry campsites. To return to the trailhead simply turn around and follow the trail westward.

Directions from Big Stump Entrance: Follow Highway 180 northward to Generals Highway. Turn right on to Generals Highway and follow it approximately 27 miles to the turn off for Wolverton. Turn left and drive two miles to the trailhead.

Directions from Ash Mountain Entrance: Follow Generals Highway northward 20 miles to the turn off for Wolverton. Turn right and drive two miles to the trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through Mid-October (NOTE: Snow may be found on the trail during the Early Summer and Fall.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Trailhead Parking Wolverton
ICON Backpacking Lakes Trail
ICON Dispersed Camping Lakes Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking The Lakes Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Lakes Trail
ICON Bird Identification Lakes Trail
ICON Plant Identification Lakes Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Lakes Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Lakes Trail

Related Activities
Alta Trail - This is a steady climb to Alta Peak providing some of the best views and high-country scenery within day-hiking distance of the Lodgepole/Wolverton area.

Pear Lake Trail - This trail ascends steeply to a chain of glacial lakes. Heather Lake, the first lake on the trail, is four miles from Wolverton Trailhead.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, 47050 Generals Highway , Three Rivers, CA, 93271-9651, Phone: 559-565-3341, Fax: 559-565-3730, TTY: 559-565-3196


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