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    Columbine Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Hard
    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.
    20.8 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.
    1,432 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Columbine Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail is an incredible adventure reserved for experienced hikers. Get your heart rate up and challenge your limits when completing this demanding route as a day hike or take your time and tackle this trek as an overnight expedition.

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    Route Description for Columbine Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail

    Enjoy unrivaled alpine scenery along this high-country trek. Demanding a valiant effort, this trek will challenge even the fittest and fearless hikers. Climb above the treeline into the quintessential granite oasis of the Sierra Nevada, and revel in the crystalline lakes. Make sure to acclimate yourself before this hike and check the forecast for inclement weather. Dress in layers, pack a water filter and bring trekking poles. If you hope to tackle this trail in a day, head out before dawn to Note the park charges an entrance fee of $35USD per vehicle or $20USD per person for pedestrians or cyclists.

    Setting out from the Sawtooth Pass Trailhead, the Columbine Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail climbs up the Sawtooth Pass Trail. The initial stage of the trek ascends through mixed-conifer forest and montane meadows. Enjoy the lush vegetation and tree shade while you can because soon enough, the path graduate the timberline into the alpine. Eventually, you will reach the Monarch Lakes—this is a good spot to rest and rehydrate. Beyond this point, the terrain will increase in technicality—demanding the ascent of the rocky scree.

    Take your time navigating the never-ending set of switchbacks up the rocky path, and you will ultimately reach Columbine Lake. Revel in the beauty of the crystalline pool bound by craggy granite ridges and rejuvenate your tired feet in the chilly water. Marvel at the expansive views of the High Sierra, then head back the way you came.

    Getting to the Columbine Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail Trailhead

    Access this hike via the Sawtooth Trailhead off Mineral King Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Backcountry Camping, wilderness permits required.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Columbine Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Columbine Lake via Sawtooth Pass Trail Reviews

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