This 12 mile round trip hike has it all. Mature growth pine forests, narrow switchbacks, approximately 2,200′ of elevation gain, picture perfect alpine lakes, and breathtakingly beautiful rocky and rugged mountain vistas.
If your planning to camp obtain your overnight permit at the Lodgepole Visitor Center. The trail head of this hike is not far from the Wolverton parking lot. (GPS 36.594722,-118.742222)
The trail eases you into this hike as it winds its way through the pines at an elevation of approximately 7,400′. The trail is very clearly marked and fairly easy to navigate.
The trail will begin to climb and narrow and you will find yourself on some fairly steep switch backs. Take it easy on this section you still have a ways to go but know that after you climb this section, the hard part is over and you will soon be rewarded when you reach crystal clear Heather Lake at approximately mile 4.
Continuing on, the trail will traverse the mountainside and reveal some stunning vistas to your left.
Views of Aster and Emerald Lakes Below are not easy to miss and are an indicator that your not far from Pear Lake.
There is camping near Pear Lake, but the park service limits it to 25 people per day.
When I did this trip with my good friends Matt and Adam, it was Early December. The trail was ice covered and slick in some spots and as you can see there was some snow on the ground. I have heard that this is a very popular trail in the summer and I can see why, but the only other people we came across on our tour was a couple who were day hiking to Heather Lake. We had our choice of campsites and complete solitude from both people as well as bears.
This was one of my first back country experiences in Sequoia National Park, and with the combination of diverse terrain and amazing scenic views, it certainly did not disappoint. So, next time your in Sequoia National Park, and whether your looking for a difficult but extremely rewarding day hike or a little more laid back and relaxing overnighter, this is one to put on the top of your list.
PS: Special Thanks to Matt and Adam for photo sharing!