Twenty Lakes Basin

Lee Vining, California

Twenty Lakes Basin Professional Review and Guide

"This alpine basin studded with lakes and ringed by spectacular mountains should appeal to hikers seeking exceptional scenery without the stiff elevation gains required of most lakes in northern Yosemite. Even small children can enjoy a short segment of the route as far as Greenstone Lake, especially with the boat taxi ride across dazzling Saddlebag Lake."

Twenty Lakes Basin Reviews

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We crammed just a portion of this trail into the end of a long day: took the boat across the lake to the trailhead and walked to Steelhead lake: great scenery, wonderful flowers, rushing water and patches of snow. Since we missed the last boat back we walked along the eastern side of Saddlebag Lake and enjoyed new views to the south and west. Mosquitoes were definitely fierce (but adequately discouraged by DEET) and other hikers said were much worse further in.
Beautiful area, but at the time of this posting 8/02/05, there were so many mosquitos we opted to cut our stay a day early. This year has seen an intense population due to the major amounts of snow recieved this winter. I recommend face nets. Also, contrary to the published trail guides you cannot get your wilderness permit at saddlebag lake. You must get this at the Mono Basin Ranger Station just north of Lee Vining (there is no quota at this time).
Awsome views good fishing and a fairly easy hike for begining backpackers. Although most people were doing the hike in a few hours with nap sacs. We went in with full back packs and stayed overnight. It took about 2hours to get to the half way mark just below Shamrock lake. There we set camp and went fishing for dinner. My dad is 64 and he made it pretty well and I say he is not in the best of shape.I recomend this trail to someone that wants to learn about what its like to pack pack. At 10,500' just at the timber lineyou get a feel of the high Seirra close to the parking lot.
The Saddlebag Lake area isn't spectacular but the rest of area is terrific. In mid July we encountered quite a bit of snow down to Lake Helen. Because of the snow we did not complete the loop towards Shamrock Lake. Great scenery. It was one of my favorite dayhikes while camping at Tuolomne Meadows.

Twenty Lakes Basin Photos

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Trail Information

Lee Vining
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Trail Type
Skill Level
4 hours
Late June through early October. The Saddlebag Lake Resort boat taxi operates July through early September.
Additional Use
Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center
Local Contacts
USGS Tioga Pass, Dunderberg Peak.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jun 2018