Saddlebag Lake Hiking Trail Pictures

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Yosemite National Park
White Mountain
Mount Dana
Saddlebag Lake hiking

Land of 20 lakes: above Yosemite, Saddlebag Lake is a launchpad into hiking and fishing paradise.

High Sierra hiking

Saddlebag Lake is approximately 4 miles north of Tioga Pass off State 120 (the last 2 miles are unpaved but well maintained); the drive and the hike can be done in an easy day trip from Lee Vining or Yosemite. The area is generally accessible mid-June through October. Anglers will need a state fishing license (around $30; available at sporting-goods stores).

Yosemite National Park Saddlebag Lake Picture

Note: Elevations here surpass 11,000 feet; don't overexert yourself. Even in summer, weather is very unpredictable. Rocky portions of trails are not well marked.

Yosemite National Park pdf map

Click On All Of The Pictures And The pdf Locator Map Above To Enlarge Them
For maps and wilderness permits (required for backcountry overnights, not day hikes), contact the Mono Basin Visitor Information Center of the Inyo National Forest (760/647-3044 or For road conditions, call (209) 372-0200.

When California trout imagine a heavenly afterlife, they probably picture a place a lot like the Twenty Lakes Basin in the High Sierra. In the quiet here above Yosemite National Park, countless sparkling streams skip past wildflower meadows and hidden canyons to gather in dozens of jewel-colored lakes. With the abundance of 20 lakes within a day-hike range, the region is a summer paradise for anglers and hikers. Located in the Hoover Wilderness area of Inyo National Forest, north of Tioga Pass, the Twenty Lakes Basin doesn't get the same crowds as Yosemite.

The main trailhead for the basin is at Saddlebag Lake, which offers camping and limited lodging and food nearby. At 10,066 feet, this is the gateway to a landscape of postcard views, dramatic granite peaks, clear streams, and small glaciers. Though the whitebark pines and junipers are a little scrubby at this elevation, you'll find Sierra daisy and alpine goldenrod in the meadows. Anglers boast of catching (and carefully releasing) more than 40 trout-including brook and rainbow-in a single day in the basin.

You can view at least a dozen waterways on a loop hike through Twenty Lakes Basin. Hop on a water taxi across Saddlebag to its north edge (book a round trip), then start hiking. The 4 1/4-Mile trail passes Lake Helen as well as jagged Z Lake and four-pronged Shamrock Lake. Add about 3 to 4 miles to the total distance if you choose to skip the water taxi and take the easy hike around Saddlebag to the trailhead.

After a long day of hiking, you'll appreciate the lakes anew as you cool your toes in them. Bipeds may not be included in a trout's vision of heaven, but for some hikers, this is as close to paradise as it gets.

Camping and lodging

Saddlebag Lake Campground. Twenty sites at the lake's edge. $15. Water-taxi rides across Saddlebag Lake depart from boat dock; $9 round trip. Inyo Nat ional Forest; or (760) 647-3044.

Tioga Pass Resort. The resort dates to 1914, with 10 cabins and four motel rooms, The cabins tend to fill up for July and August up to two years in advance, but you may find some vacancies this month. The resort also has a cafe, a restaurant, and a general store. Cabins from $875 a week, rooms from $100 a night. www.tiogapassresort .com or (209) 372-4471.

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Saddlebag Lake Hiking Trail Pictures