3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
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.
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.