Lillian Lake Loop Backpacking

Oakhurst, California

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4 Reviews
4 out of 5
If you make the basic loop, you encounter three lakes, which isn’t bad for a relatively easy 12-mile hike. However, if you visit Lady Lake, you’ll have a fourth lake with an easy mile of extra effort. Since many folks can hike 13 miles in a day, why backpack at all? The answer is that the country’s just too scenic—and several of its lakes too beautiful—to make a whirlwind trip through it. In addition to visiting Lady, I suggest you also visit Chittenden, Flat, and Rainbow. These four add about 7.2 miles to the trip and 50% more total elevation gain and loss. With a total of 19.3 miles it is a suitable 2-day hike: set up camp at the largest Staniford Lake, make an afternoon visit to Chittenden Lake, then return to camp. Still, I recommend a more leisurely 3 days, spending your first night at Lady Lake then your second at Flat Lake. Situated on a large flat bench, this lake has one of the largest camping areas bordering any Sierran lake, and makes an ideal base camp to reach one of my favorites, Rainbow, situated on a bench above it.

Lillian Lake Loop (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide

"If you make the basic loop, you encounter three lakes, which isn’t bad for a relatively easy 12-mile hike. However, if you visit Lady Lake, you’ll have a fourth lake with an easy mile of extra effort. Since many folks can hike 13 miles in a day, why backpack at all? The answer is that the country’s just too scenic—and several of its lakes too beautiful—to make a whirlwind trip through it. In addition to visiting Lady, I suggest you also visit Chittenden, Flat, and Rainbow. These four add about 7.2 miles to the trip and 50% more total elevation gain and loss. With a total of 19.3 miles it is a suitable 2-day hike: set up camp at the largest Staniford Lake, make an afternoon visit to Chittenden Lake, then return to camp. Still, I recommend a more leisurely 3 days, spending your first night at Lady Lake then your second at Flat Lake. Situated on a large flat bench, this lake has one of the largest camping areas bordering any Sierran lake, and makes an ideal base camp to reach one of my favorites, Rainbow, situated on a bench above it."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Oakhurst
Distance: 13.1
Elevation Gain: 2,440 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2-3 days
Season: Best mid-July through mid-September
Local Contacts: Ansel Adams Wildnerness - permit required
Local Maps: USGS 7.5-min Timber Knob
Driving Directions: Directions to Lillian Lake Loop (Backpacking)

Recent Trail Reviews

9/25/2010
0

the trail guide says this is an easy hike that can be done in a day???? Maybe by Lance Armstrong. I dont think that this loop was actually hiked by who ever wrote the guide. Certainly not a 1 day day hike. Moderately strenuous for 2 days but very worth the blisters and soreness for the experience.


7/24/2006
0

We didn't do the whole loop but camped at Lady Lake and day-hiked to some of the other lakes. Lady Lake is gorgeous and the views of Banner Peak and Minarets along the trail were very nice. Lots of mosquitoes, but that's to be expected for July.


8/25/2004
1

Fantastic trail if you are in the area. I'm not sure if it is worth the 6.5 hour drive from the Bay Area, but if you are going this direction, I strongly reccommend the trail. We camped at Vandeberg lake the first night, which had some first rate campsites. The next day we did Lady lake, Chittenden Lake (unless you are camping here, leave your pack at Staniford lakes, and just take food and water), Staniford lakes, and then camped at Lillian. The last day we went straight back to the car, knowing we had a long drive ahead of us. If you get an early start, I reccommend camping at Chittenden the first night. It is the highest lake at 9200 ft, and definetely the most beautiful, and surprisingly warm so you can actually swim in it.


9/28/2002
0

My first backpacking trip was done on this trail. Because it was late in the season, finding potable water was difficult. It was definitely a beautiful hike (yet difficult at times) and easy enough for a beginner like myself (with proper supervision, of course).



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May 2018