Monarch Lakes 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.
13.5 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.
808 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Monarch Lakes Trail uncovers the beauty of the alpine environment in the Sequoia National Park. Explore the picture-perfect setting of montane meadows and crystalline lakes framed by the granite peaks of the Sierra Nevada—this scenic adventure is unrivaled.

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Route Description for Monarch Lakes Trail

Though challenging, the Monarch Lakes Trail is well worth the effort. Reserved for experienced hikers and intrepid adventurers, this trek demands stamina and proper gear. Make sure to pack plenty of water or a water filter, and be sure to wear a sturdy pair of footwear as the terrain is very rocky! As much of the route travels above the timberline, it is important to be mindful of afternoon storms and dress in layers as insurance against changing conditions! Note entrance to the park costs $35USD per vehicle or $20USD per person for pedestrians or cyclists.

Setting out from the Sawtooth Trailhead, the Monarch Lakes Hike follows the Sawtooth Pass Trail up switchbacks to a junction located amid a lush meadow adorned with vibrant wildflowers. Here, veer right, and you will be directed over Monarch Creek and up another collection of tightly wound switchbacks. Here you will likely be in the company of marmots—so don’t leave your snacks out! At the following junction, keep left, and the increasingly exposed path offers views of Mineral Peak, Sawtooth Peak, and the valley below.

Continue along this route, and you will ultimately reach the Monarch Lakes. Mind your footing on the rocky terrain around the lakes and revel in the scene of the craggy ridges anchored by the Sierra Nevada summits. Admire the beauty of the high country, then head back the way you came.

Getting to the Monarch Lakes Trail Trailhead

The Monarch Lakes Trail is accessed 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

Monarch Lakes Trail Elevation Graph

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Monarch Lakes Trail Reviews

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