These trails rank Bishop Creek as a premier entrance to the John Muir Wilderness, for either day-trips or extended treks along the Pacific Crest.
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 9,500 Feet
TRAILHEAD DIFFICULTY - Leisurely to moderate
SEASON: All hikers should be prepared for variable weather. Thunderstorms can appear suddenly without warning bringing cold rains and snow at any time of the year.
Due to the presence of Giardia, all drinking water should be treated or boiled at least 3 minutes.
NORTH FORK TRAILS
Follow trailhead directions for Lake
Sabrina, only turn right at North Lake turnoff. Trailhead
parking is by North Lake, near the pack station. The actual trailhead
is about 1/2 mile farther in the North Lake campground. NO PARKING
is allowed in the campground for hikers. (9500')
Paiute Pass - The Paiute Pass trail eases up through a forest of lodgepole pine and Quaking Aspens before following the North Fork of Bishop Creek. Paintbrush, Columbine and Penstemon, flank the trail as one climbs higher near the rusty cliffs of the Paiute Crags and Mt. Emerson. Entering the high country above Loch Leven, the glaciated canyon is floored with smooth granite small alpine meadows. Yellow-bellied Marmots can be seen sunning on rocks or dashing into the shadows. Over Paiute Pass (11,423') the trail drops into Humphreys Basin, loaded with many high alpine lakes.
Lamarck Lakes - The trail begins in the campground and heads south across 2 footbridges through a grove of Aspen trees. From the upper part of the trail, views of Mt. Emerson and the reddish Paiute Crags are seen. This country is rugged and rocky with sheer cliffs of granite and rough bolder slopes. Lower Lamarck Lake lies in a small granite basin. Cross the stream and outlet and follow the trail to the upper lake.
MIDDLE FORK TRAILS
The Sabrina Basin trail leads into a basin of 13,000 ft. granite peaks surrounding a number of alpine lakes. Wildflowers are abundant and fishing is good for rainbow, brown and brook trout, The trail is primarily a hiking trail but is also used by pack stock, Remember, stock have the right of way. Move off trail and stand quietly to avoid spooking stock.
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION -9,125 Feet to 10,700
TRAIL DIFFICULTY -Leisurely to moderate
From Hwy. 395 in Bishop, turn west on Line St. (Hwy. 168) and continue approx.
18 mi. to Lake Sabrina. Day use parking is at roads end. Overnight
parking is located at turnout near North Lake turnoff. (9,125')
Sabrina Basin Trailhead Map.
A 12 to 14 mile round-trip to the farthest lakes (Midnight and Hungry Packer. Intermediate destinations include Blue Lake at 3.3 miles (10400'), with fabulous views of the Thompson Ridge, and Dingleberry Lake at 5.0 miles (10490'). The main trail leads to Blue Lake at 3.3 miles (10400'), a beautiful spot for photography with the rugged Thompson Ridge reflecting in the clear waters of the lake.
The right fork beyond Blue Lake leads through a forest of Lodgepole Pine with glacial erratics scattered about (boulders carried by ice for a distance that came to rest where, ice has melted). It reaches Dingleberry Lake at 5.0 miles (10490'), then on to Hungry Packer and Midnight Lakes. The backdrop of these lakes is magnificent with the jagged peaks of the Sierra Crest being dominated by Mt. Darwin and Mt. Haeckel.
A path marked 'with Cairns beyond Blue Lake (left fork) will lead to Donkey and Baboon Lakes. These lakes are seated below the glaciated ramparts of Mnts. Powell (13,360') and Thompson (13,440').
A 6-mile round-trip, reaching 10700'. The trail switchbacks up a steep path off the main trail leads. You can continue up and over Table Mtn. to Tyee Lakes. The path over Table Mtn. is a bit obscure but the views are remarkable.
SOUTH FORK TRAILS
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 9,760 feet
TRAIL DIFFICULTY - Leisurely to moderate
From Hwy. 395 in Bishop, turn west on Line St. (Hwy.168 west) and continue approx. 23 mi. to South Lake. Day use and overnight parking is located at the roads end. (9,760'). Trails beginning at South Lake lead to Green Lake, Treasure Lakes, Chocolate Lakes, and Bishop Pass. Fishing enthusiasts enjoy the many lakes available within a few miles of the trailhead.
Brown and Green Lakes
A 6-mile trail round-trip, rising to 11050'. The Green Lake trail begins at the east end of the parking lot and follows a stock trail upward through a conifer forest where it joins with the main trail on up to Green Lake The trail levels off into a lush mountain meadow below Brown Lake. Above this lake the trail moves upward along a bench, where Green Lake lies amidst gnarled, old Whitebark Pines. Rainbow trout are found in these lakes.
An 11-mile trail to the top of the pass (11980'). Go another half-mile for the spectacular view of Dusy Basin (or keep going for miles and miles). The trailhead is at the south end of the parking lot. It ascends along the east side of South Lake, through a forest of Aspen Trees and Lodgepole Pines. Majestic views of Hurd Pk., Mt. Thompson, and Mt. Goode, can be seen from the trail. The area gives great opportunities to observe many effects of glacier activity such as glacial cirques, glaciated granite, and glacier 'erratics" - large boulders. Also evident are the effects of elevations on plant life, as Whitebark Pine replaces Lodgepole and then disappears above timberline, where only a few herbaceous annuals are seen. The trail reaches Long Lake at 2.0 miles and Saddle-rock at 3.5 miles, both outstanding destinations in themselves. It enters King's Canyon National Park at the pass, and then winds down through Dusy Basin to hit the Pacific Crest Trail at Le Conte Canyon in another 10 miles.
The trail branches off from the Bishop Pass trail, both above and below Long Lake (allowing you to avoid backtracking if you make a side trip to them). The lakes are located in a beautiful granite basin surrounded by high Sierra peaks. Fishing is good with Rainbow, Brown, and Golden Trout.
The trail branch off the Bishop Pass trail below Long Lake and rejoins it near Ruwau Lake. This trail is less maintained. Bull and Chocolate Lakes are along the base of the jagged Inconsolable Range. This loop offers interesting geology and fishing.
An 8-mile round-trip to Table Mountain at 11400'; miles to the lakes at 11000'. The trailhead for Tyee Lakes is located 4.4 miles up the South Lake road and begins at the footbridge that crosses Bishop Creek. The trail is named for a famed brand of salmon eggs. Although steep with many switchbacks, it offers good fishing (Rainbow and Brown trout) and highly scenic qualities. The trail becomes a bit indistinct over Table Mtn., before it drops down to George Lake' and Lake Sabrina. View of Mt. Thompson, Mt. Aggisiz, Mt. Gilbert and the Inconsolable Range can be seen from Table Mtn.
For More Information
White Mountain Ranger Station,
798 N. Main St. Bishop CA, 93514
(760) 873 2400