Alpine Lakes Loop Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
18.8 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
830 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Alpine Lake Loop Trail is an amazing day-hike through the high country that guides intrepid explorers to not one, not two, not three, but over half a dozen shimmering alpine lakes. The breathtaking scenery along this excursion will overwhelm you as you wander.

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Route Description for Alpine Lakes Loop Trail

The Alpine Lakes Loop Trail covers a lot of ground, boasting awe-inspiring views of the High Sierra and the shimmering lakes nestled amongst the peaks. It is important to properly prepare and check the forecast to avoid getting caught in an afternoon storm when travelling into the high country. Additionally, we suggest dressing in layers and wearing a sturdy, comfortable pair of footwear. Reserved for experienced hikers and those acclimated to the area’s elevation, this trek demands stamina, so bring plenty of water! Note hikers are required to bring along a free Desolation hiking permit which is found at the trailhead.

Setting out from the Bayview Trailhead, the Alpine Lakes Loop Hike follows the Bayview Trail along the shoreline cliffs of Cascade Lake up to Granite Lake. At the next two intersections, take the leftmost Eagle Falls Trail onto the rightmost PCT, ultimately arriving at Dicks Lake. Enjoy the expansive views of the alpine terrain, then take the leftmost PCT to Fontanillis Lakes. Explore the shoreline the continue north along the PCT to the Upper and Middle Velma Lakes. From here, hook back onto the Eagle Falls Trail, heading east to the same intersection with Bayview Trail.

At this point, hikers will track the Eagle Falls Trail to Eagle Lake and Eagle Falls. At the trail’s end, turn right onto the Emerald Bay Road, hiking along the shoulder of the road before turning right into the Bayview Campground. Hike through the campground back to the trailhead, marking the end of your adventure.

Getting to the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail Trailhead

The Alpine Lakes Loop Trail departs from the Bayview Trailhead off Emerald Bay Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping, Wilderness Permit Required.

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type


Alpine Lakes Loop Trail Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Alpine Lakes Loop Trail Reviews

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