Hiking Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
by Laurel Scheidt (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Laurel Scheidt/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
Upper Hamilton Lake is beautiful. The alpine glow on the enormous mountains surrounding you on three sides as the sun sets is woth making this your base camp. Bearpaw Meadow is the usaul base camp for people who take day hikes to Hamilton. Scratch that,I recommend a day hike from Upper Hamilton to Kaweah Gap. I saw deer every evening and a black bear while traveling early one morning. Have your camera at the ready for you will be taking alot of photos. No campfires at Hamilton, but it's worth it. Trust me, Bearpaw isn't bad but it's no Upper Hamilton Lake.
From Bearpaw Meadow you pass through an arch cut into the steep granite cliff. From here the trail starts increasing in grade. The trails hugs the cliff with splendid views of a river far below. In front you have views of snow-capped peaks and ribbons of waterfalls. The hike to Hamilton Lakes is one of the most beautiful intermediate hikes in the Sierras. As you progress closer to your destination the grade picks up again. I was noticing the steep grade in my calves, due to carrying an 85lb pack. Stop and take little breaks along the trail and enjoy the green western side of the sierras. First you come to lower Hamilton Lake it is smaller than the Upper Lake. After another mile or two, you reach your destination of Upper Hamilton Lake. If you head up early in the summer, it often will still have snow and ice in the shadowed corners. Due to the difficulty (time involved and grade) you typically have the waterside camping area to yourself. Enjoy an exhilerating swim in the lake. I would have loved to have spent a couple of days exploring the area. There are many great hikes that could be done as day trips from here. This hike is a must! Happy hiking! :)
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