Alpine Trout Fishing in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas

Added by Alina Abramovich

Distance: 10 miles roundtripElevation gain: 3000 ftPeak elevation of up to 3500 ft!Breathtaking sceneryVariety of wildlifeAbility to increase difficulty of hike along the route by choosing to scale mountain faces(Ambitious) day-hike friendlyCrystal clear alpine lakesHike the tree-lineGreat trout fishing

The Big Pine Trail in the High Sierras offers a plethora of hikes for all skill levels and time restrictions - this particular hike lasts about 8 hours.

You will begin your hike at the foot of the North Fork Trail (located just past a small parking lot complete with rudimentary public restrooms) and begin ascending almost immediately after an initial introductory, 5 minute stretch of a lovely wooded path running alongside a creek. Along the way to the meatier section of the hike you'll pass by the first waterfall and a couple of picturesque man-made bridges.

After walking past a somewhat flat stretch of open trail in a valley, you'll leave most of the family day-hikers behind and begin the steep ascending trail up the first mountain face. Here you can chose to scale the mountain to cut some time and get a bit more difficulty into the hike. Be careful of brambles jutting from the rocks, and choose the trail on the way back down should you go this route initially - the rocks are usually slippery with rain by the end of the day. At the top of the cliff-face you'll find the second waterfall of the day - a great lookout spot for rainbows (and mountain lions) at the end of your hike.

The trail you continue down is a looping, 72-hour trail of roughly 15 miles in length; however, if you choose to bang out a day trip (and fish along the way), you're going to want to turn around once you hit Lake #2 (of 7). Both Lake #1 and #2 offer excellent trout fishing - the fish are small due to high elevations, but the population is so vast that you'll get a bite almost every time you cast out! The trout loved nightcrawlers but really went wild for trout-specific lures.

The lakes themselves are absolutely breathtaking, and at roughly 3500ft in elevation, you'll definitely notice snow and ice on the summits around you (even in July). The hike towards them is equally as gorgeous, ranging from densely forested areas, to mountain-face elevations next to the constant parallels of the downhill rapids and creeks.

It reportedly rains quite often around 7-8pm down in the valley portion of the hike, and our trip was not the exception. Make sure to bring rain protection, as well as take precautions to waterproof your bags and supplies. Also bring lots of warm layers, as well as sun protection, as you'll likely start in burning heat at the bottom of the trail.

Go slowly at first and allow your body to adjust to the elevation if you're a newer adventurer - my hiking buddy had trouble with the thin air, though I was fine. Know yourself and take rest, food and rehydration breaks if you have trouble breathing or feel dizzy and disoriented.

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Rock Climbing
Easy Parking
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole


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One of the most beautiful hikes I've been on in Southern California thus far.

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