20 Lakes Basin

Distance: 4.9 - 9.1 miles (loop)

Hoover Wilderness Area, Inyo National Forest, near Lee Vining in California's Southeastern Sierra

North Peak dominates the skyline above beautiful Shamrock Lake

North Peak dominates the skyline above beautiful Shamrock Lake

 

The loop around the 20 Lakes Basin travels through breathtaking alpine scenery, visiting nine stunning lakes surrounded by dramatic peaks and ridges. The glorious scenery and relative ease of the trail make this a very popular hike. (full description)

Why Hike 20 Lakes Basin

If I only had time for one hike in the Lee Vining area I’d choose the 20 Lakes Basin. Fabulous scenery accompanies almost every step of this classic loop hike, located just east of Yosemite National Park. Starting above 10,000-ft., the hike follows gentle to moderate grades, visiting nine scenic lakes set amid an every changing backdrop of stunning peak and ridges.

North Peak, Mount Conness, the Shepherd Crest and the Tioga Crest dominate the views along much of the hike. Pretty meadows dotted with wildflowers, colorful crags, lovely waterfalls and cascading streams add to the scenic delights.

The gorgeous setting and relative ease of the hike, with elevation gains and losses of just a few hundred feet, make this trail popular with hikers, fishermen and backpackers of all ages. Do not let the crowds deter you. Pick a day full of promise and get an early start so you can spend as much time as possible in this special place.

Note that during the summer months a water taxi travels from the Saddlebag Resort to the head of the lake, allowing hikers to shorten the trip by taking the boat in one or both directions.

Read the full trail description

Elevation Profile

20 Lakes Basin Elevation Profile

Trail Resources