Long Lake Lollipop

Challenging hike in the Lakes Basin.

Hiking Severe

Distance
11 km
Ascent
557 m
Descent
558 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
2.1 km
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Long Lake Lollipop Map

Description

The Lakes Basin region offers an unexpected haven filled with beautiful recreation and views, deep in the Sierras. This basin is filled with crystal-clear alpine lakes flanked by towering walls of granite. The exposed rock walls rise up to form towering mountains, with the spine of the Sierras soaring high above the entire milieu.

The lollipop loop mapped here circumnavigating Long Lake is one of the longer lake hike options in the Lakes Basin Area. While you can access Long Lake from a variety of trails, the route mapped here begins directly off of Gold Lake Highway.

The hike begins by descending through dry terrain into a lush, verdant valley. Then, you’ll slowly hike up the valley floor before turning right to work up the side of the valley, making for Long Lake.

This route loops around the entirety of the lake, including portions of singletrack that skirt the flanks of Mt. Elwell. You’ll also swing by the shores of Silver Lake along this before returning to Long Lake. Once done with the circumnavigation, you'll retrace your steps back to your car.

In addition to the almost 7 miles of hiking and over 1,800 feet of climbing, the trail tread itself makes this hike quite challenging. The trails in the Lakes Basin are generally very rocky and filled with boulders. While the path before you is always clear, the trail tread is filled with rock gardens, rock steps, boulders, roots, and all manner of roughness. While you won’t find any serious scrambling or mountaineering, you must be prepared to travel on a little-maintained backcountry trail. Of special note, the section of singletrack that ascends partway up the flanks of Mt. Elwell can be challenging and sometimes a little overgrown.

Difficulty

Severe

Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

July, August, September

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area