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Backpacking to Emerald Lake – Sequoia National Park

We set up our base camp at Dorst Creek and then hiked out all over the park.  As a group, we got in over 30 miles in the four days we were in Sequoia National Park.

One of our most favorite trails was our backpacking trip to Emerald Lake on the Lakes Trail.

Emerald Lake - Sequoia National Park
Emerald Lake – Sequoia National Park

Step one, we went to Lodgepole Visitor Center and put in for a Wilderness Permit.  Step two, we packed our packs and headed out on the trail.
The Lakes Trail is about 15-17 miles depending how much wandering you do.  We wandered all over and got in about 15 miles.
Elevation change for Emerald lake is about 5000 feet.  You start at 6800 and go up to 9200 or so.  It is a tough hike to the lakes.  The trail gets very steep at times and it is quite challenging.
Our group consisted of one old man [our dad], our mom, and us – 13, 11, and 5 years of age.
Yes, a 5-year-old did backpack the entire trail with a pack.

Loaded packs
Loaded packs


Starting off was pretty easy.   The Wilverine had to stop for gummy bears quite a few times.


We stopped for lunch on the way up at the watchtower.  Take the watchtower trail; do not take the hump trail.  The views on the watchtower trail were spectacular and the elevation was not nearly as extreme.



After the watchtower, the trail gets very rocky and narrow.  If you look over the edge of the trail, the valley bottom is a long way down.



The first lake you encounter is Heather Lake.  Next up is Aster Lake and then Emerald.  The last lake is Pear Lake.

Heather Lake
Heather Lake


Getting water from the stream
Getting water from the stream

We camped at Emerald Lake and were the only people in the camp.   We saw only a few people the entire time on the mountain and it was awesome.

IMG_7202 IMG_7203 IMG_7233

If you are in the area and have a chance to hike or backpack the Lakes Trail, we encourage you to do it.  It was a really cool trip.

Sunset over Aster Lake
Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake

What a cool lake with spectacular views.