7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
Big Pine Lakes is a spectacular region in the heart of California's Eastern Sierras.
This mountain valley is filled with crystal-clear lakes flanked by the Sierras' quintessential towering granite domes and spires. The route shown here is one of the most popular ways to see most of these beautiful lakes in one logical route.
At 15.3 miles long and with almost 4,200 feet of elevation gain, it's definitely possible to complete this route as a long day hike or trail run, but it is most popular as an overnight (or casual multi-day) backpacking trip.
However, you'll need to secure camping permits in advance to enjoy the backcountry campsites in the basin.
If you choose to camp overnight in the basin, be sure to follow all Leave No Trace guidelines. If you can't secure a camping permit, you can also shorten this route by simply hiking to Second Lake—one of the most popular destinations—and then turning around. Sources: https://www.bontraveler.com/a-guide-to-californias-most-epic-day-hike-to-big-pine-lakes/ https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea/?recid=20328&actid=50