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Rae Lakes Loop Trail
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mini location map2014-08-18
140 by photographer avatarLucyan
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Rae Lakes Loop TrailSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Backpack avatar Aug 18 2014
Lucyan
Backpack64.00 Miles 14,780 AEG
Backpack64.00 Miles6 Days         
14,780 ft AEG28 LBS Pack
 
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The Rae Lakes Loop is a classic High Sierra trek and offers stunning granite peaks, alpine meadows, pounding waterfalls, raging creeks, and breath-taking mountain lakes to see and explore. This hike deserves its reputation as one of the premier hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, if not in the entire Sierra.

On Sunday, we picked up our entry permit and camped near the Onion Valley trailhead (9185') Sunday night. Monday morning we entered Kings Canyon National Park from the east climbing Kearsarge Pass (11845') before meeting up briefly with the JMT and PCT trails and then following Bubbs Creek further east before heading north into Paradise Valley and Woods Creek to the west. Then we turned south near Castle Domes and joined up with the John Muir Trail into the Rae Lakes area. Over 6 days, we hiked approximately 64 miles and climb over 10,000' - including a number of 12,000' passes. We came out on Saturday (one day early as the original plan was to hike out on Sunday) at Onion Valley again and drove back late that night.

We were going at a moderate pace with some tough elevation changes and average about 10 miles a day with some additional miles from day hikes. We visited the Sixty Lakes Basin (11,000') - a plateau above Rae Lakes & Baxter Peak (12,300').

Expect some very real challenges like steep precarious snow fields, dangerous creek crossing, high altitude, sudden storms, hungry bears, and swarms of mosquito.

Bears are active in this area and you will need to purchase or rent a bear canister to store ALL your food and be 'bear aware' at all times. There are no campfires above 10000' and you will need to pack out all trash.

We had 3 encounters with bears on this trip:

1. Fist day the bear walked into out camp right before we were getting ready for dinner. We grouped together with bear spray in our hands and shouted loudly at him. He walked away after a little while. Little before he entered the camp, a deer came across and we were joking that a bear might be after this little guy. I guess we were right.

2. I came across a bear as I was hiking from Bubbs Creek to Paradise Valley. I fell behind on the trail due to taking several pictures of flowers and also taking several breaks (this was our longest day, 17 miles). As I was hiking by the creek I noticed some movement across the water and surely enough there was a bear bathing and later munching on something. I tried to take several pictures without being noticed.

3. Near Arrowhead lake, a bear was scared off by my friend who was fishing on the lake. No harm done, bear run away.


Trail Schedule:

First Day: Monday 10.4 miles
Onion Valley - Kearsarge Pass - Kearsarge Lakes - Bullfrog lake - Trail (JMT/PCT) Jct. - Vidette Meadow - Junction Meadow
SIDE TRIP: East Lake - Junction Meadow 5 miles

Second Day: Tuesday 16.9 miles
Junction Meadow - Charlotte Creek - Sphinx Juction - Bubbs Creek Bridge/trail fork - Lower Paradise Valley - Middle Paradise Valley - Upper Paradise Valley

Third Day: Wednesday 10.9 miles
Upper Paradise Valley - Castle Domes Meadow - JMT Junction - Baxter Ck. trail Jct./Dollar Lake

Fourth Day: Thursday 0.7 miles
Dollar lake - Arrowhead lake

SIDE TRIP: Dollar Lake to Baxter lakes/Pass 13.6/15.6 miles

Fifth Day: Friday 2 miles
Arrowhead Lake - Rae Lake

SIDE TRIP: Arrowhead lake to Sixty Lakes Basin 5 miles

Sixth Day: Saturday 11.3 miles
Rae lakes - Glen Pass - Charlotte Lake Jct. - Kearsarge lakes - Kearsarge Pass - Onion Valley




Great write up from my friend Jeff: http://socalhiker.net/thru-hiking-the-j ... rae-lakes/
Flora
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Sunrise
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Arrowhead Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Baxter Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bubbs Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bullfrog Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Dollar Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Heart Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Kearsarge Lakes 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mist Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rae Lakes 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Sphinx Creek Light flow Light flow
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