This is an absolutely gorgeous trail and well worth the sore legs at the end of the day!
From the Lodgepole campground it is about 15 miles there and back. If you drive to Wolverton there is another trailhead that shaves a bit over a mile each way from the journey.
I started from Lodgepole campground and you wind your way through some beautiful pine forest.The trail is steep almost straight away so you will find your heart rate starting to bump along and it never really slows again until you hit the lakes.
The first spectacular lookout is the Watchtower. This gives you a view of the Sierras. Silvery grey granite shining in the sun makes for quite a spectacle as does the nearly sheer drop off.
As you skirt along the ridge after the Watchtower, you get a great view of the mountains. As you curve back away from the ridge you come across the very pretty Heather lake. When I was there in late September the season was starting to change and i was lucky enough to catch some mist over the lake which soon cleared.
When the sun chased the mist away I got a completely different vista. The few moments that I was at the edge of the lake shrouded in mist were absolutely magical.
After Heather Lake you head into more lake territory: Emerald lake and Alta lake are quite close to each other and are set beautifully against the silver granite.
The trail then winds back up and gives your legs one last beating before ending at the stunning Pear lake. I took a dip in the lake which in late September was very crisp but revitalising. The sun was shining and I chilled out by the lake with a cup of tea and some mac and cheese cooked to perfection by my new MSR rocket burner that fits in the palm of my hand!
All in all an absolutely stunning hike. It’s got it all, forests, lakes, mountains, lookouts and chill zones!