Heather Lake Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
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.
4-5.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
13.0 km
Elevation
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.
644 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead
Heather Lake Trail

Indulge in breathtaking alpine scenery along the Heather Lake Trail. This lovely path exhibits jaw-dropping views of the bounding granite crests that frame Tokopah Valley in addition to the beautiful glacial lake. This route is awaiting your exploration.

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Route Description for Heather Lake Trail

The Heather Lake Trail is a marvelous excursion ideal for experienced hikers and intrepid spirits. Explore the granite oasis and get a wicked workout in. Traveling at such high elevations, it is important to be mindful of afternoon storms as well as dress in layers as insurance against varying conditions as you hike. Much of the terrain to Heather Lake is rocky and uneven—so a pair of sturdy footwear is necessary.

Though accessible in the winter months, this route becomes increasingly dangerous after snowfall. If you are one of the few daring enough to trek, make sure you have the proper equipment, including microspikes, and know that the Watchtower Trail closes, so a detour up The Hump is required. Note entrance to the park costs $35USD per vehicle or $20USD per person for pedestrians or cyclists.

Experience the granite oasis first-hand and marvel at the beauty of grandeur of the mountainous terrain along the Heather Lakes Hike. Get outside into the fresh air and experience the great outdoors whilst enjoying motivating views along the way. When trekking on a warm day, you will be rewarded with a rejuvenating glacial pool at that path’s culmination.

As you wander through the beautiful high country be sure to keep an eye out for deer, marmots, pikas, and bears! Note the marmots here are famously confident and will not miss the opportunity to snag your snack bag when left unattended! Before heading out, make sure your camera is charged!

When your camera is charged, and your hiking boots are laced, you are set to begin your adventure along the Heather Lakes Trail. Setting out from the Lakes Trailhead, follow the Lakes Trail eastwardly. You will likely be in the company of fellow explorers hiking past Heather Lake to Pear Lake, so simply follow the crowds. Soon after your departure from the trailhead, the path will near Wolverton Creek guiding you through the mixed forestlands.

Enjoy the shade of the looming trees and keep an eye out for wildlife as you progress through the woodlands. Gradually climbing, the path will pass a montane meadow before reaching an intersection with The Hump. Keep left here, and you will be diverted onto the Watchtower Trail. Beyond this point, the tree shade becomes sparser and the terrain increasingly rocky.

Mind your footing as you make your way along the trail that traces the cliffside of Tokopah Valley. You will likely encounter intrepid adventurers climbing and slacklining near the Watchtower. Admire the views of the valley and continue along the path. Soon you will reach Heather Lake.

Appreciate the beauty of the crystal-clear alpine pool framed by the craggy cliffs anchored by Alta Peak. If weather and time permits, we encourage you to take a plunge in the frigid waters. Spend some time enjoying the alpine landscape, and when you are ready, retrace your footing along the path back to the trailhead.

Trail Highlights

The Watchtower

The Watchtower is a striking granite monolith that looming above Topokah Valley in Sequoia National Park. Standing at an elevation of 893ft, this impressive spire attracts intrepid climbers seeking a challenge, though its grandeur can be enjoyed from the Lakes Trail above Tokopah Valley.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Heather Lake Trail?

The Heather Lake Trail is an 13.0 km hike in the Sequoia National Park.

When is the Heather Lake Trail open?

The Heather Lake Trail is open year-round, though it is best enjoyed in the summer months.

Insider Hints for Heather Lake Trail

  • Head out in the early morning for a more secluded hike
  • Wear a pair of sturdy footwear to easily navigate the uneven and rocky terrain
  • Dress in layers as insurance against varying conditions
  • Be mindful of your footing near the Watchtower as the drop-offs are incredibly steep
  • Pack a swimsuit and towel to enjoy Heather Lake
  • Wear SPF and sun protection

Getting to the Heather Lake Trail Trailhead

The Heather Lake Hike begins from the Lakes Trailhead off Wolverton Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    April-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Heather Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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Heather Lake Trail Reviews

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