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South Sierra 2 Day loop?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:24 pm
by Russ
Hi all. Can anyone recommend a short 2 day loop in the South Sierras? I'm taking my wife for the first time and would like to do something that we can both enjoy that's not to taxing. I was thinking Horseshoe Meadow from the East side or Lodge Pole from the West, but I haven't done either. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:27 pm
by Trekker
Lakes Trail from Lodgepole; it's a semiloop trail to Heather Lake, and one of the loops goes past the Watchtower, a rocky pinnacle with an incredible view of the canyon of the Marble Fork Kaweah. About 4 miles each way with a little less than 2000 ft. of elevation gain, less if you don't do the loop. You can make it longer and go to Emerald Lake and Pear Lake.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:40 am
by Snow Nymph
Big Pine North Fork to 3rd or 4th Lake, around to Black Lake, reconnect with the trail below First Lake and out. Lots of options for hiking: Sam Mack Mdw, Sixth & Seventh Lake, Palisade Glacier Guessing 10-12 mi r/t

Horseshoe Mdw to Chicken Spring Lake, not a loop trip, but its only 5 mi each way.

Cottonwood Lakes, lots of lakes to go to. I just went to Muir Lake Sunday and only saw 2 guys in the afternoon. The other lakes get crowded. I'm sure you can make a loop out of it, maybe South Fork Lakes? (working on photos right now)

Onion Valley, go over Kearsarge Pass, not a loop trip.

Out of Bishop, Sabrina Basin has a loop option but you retrace your steps coming out. ... qt?start=0

Mosquito Flats you can make a loop trip, I think

Not a loop trip, but maybe Convict Lake?

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:10 am
by markskor
I second Onion Valley - but instead of all the way to Kearsarge Pass (a bit of a freeway) and a bit strenuous, try a short trip to Matlock and Flower Lakes and back. This is a great "entry level" into backpacking trip...short and scenic. Fishing is good to fair depending...and she will be hooked!
See : ... &layer=DRG

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:13 pm
by Trailtrekker06
Yes, Onion Valley. I often think it would be the perfect short trip for a newbie to experience the beauty of the Sierra in a relatively short distance, like Markskor said, just to Matlock or Flower. You could always day hike to the Pass to see the view. Have fun.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:40 pm
by wingding
I agree with everyone about Onion Valley being a really nice area.

If you're going this time of year, the Bishop are would be really nice due to the fall colors that should be coming soon. You could start at the South Lake Trailhead and do a lollipop loop by taking the Chocolate Lakes Trail and camping at Chocolate Lake or Ruwau Lake and then the next day you could loop around to Long Lake and back out. If you have extra time after you set up camp the first day you could day hike toward Bishop Pass or up to the top of Chocolate Peak without all the weight on your backs. The roundtrip without any side trips would be only 7.1 miles.

Another nice trip would be out to Treasure Lakes - not a hard trip, but also very beautiful.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:10 pm
by quentinc
All of those are great places, but I tend to dislike the hike in, until you get to the lakes. With most, if not all of those, on an easy 2 day trip much of your time will be spent on the "getting there" part, on a crowded, less than thrilling approach trail. I personally dislike the east side of Kearsarge Pass (the west side is wonderful).

For my money, either McGee Creek or Convict Canyon has the nicest "approach" part. They are both incredibly colorful, and also pretty easy. If you do this trip around the first week of October, the aspens will be absolutely spectacular on the McGee trail. If you do that one, there are lots of places to camp before getting to McGee Lake itself, but Big McGee Lake is still a fairly easy two day'er.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:34 pm
by krudler
If she is a beginner and you are looking for maximum eye candy with minimum effort, you cant beat Little Lakes Valley (Rock Creek) from the Mosquito Flat trailhead like Snowy mentioned. You can go as far/short as you want, great views all the way, easy hike, and this time of year not too much in the way of traffic (relative to the way it would be in, say, early August).
It's a slam dunk. It's "easy", but if you're trying to get her to like it I think its a sure bet. This is all over 10K feet, so it will be chilly at night but I suppose that goes without saying.

Check out You conceivably do Hilton Lakes out of the same area if you like, its a little more of a challenging hike but not by much.

If you're thinking further south, Horseshoe is not a bad idea also like Snowy said and you could go over Cottonwood Pass down to Big Whitney Meadow and then loop back for more of a "loop", although the Cottonwood Lakes are hard to beat for being just a 5 mile hike.

Thank You

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:25 pm
by Russ
Thank you all so much for the great advice. I think I'm going to use it for a trip for me and my guy friend. My wife and I are going to do a weekend trip to San Gorgonio....close, beautiful in it's own right and a So Cal feat.

Thank you all!