Tucked 10 miles into Rock Creek Canyon lies Little Lakes trailhead and my favourite hike in the Sierra. So far at least. From the very beginning of the 7.5-mile walk, the rewards felt endless.
The trail departs from a peaceful campground sat beside the babbling creek and slowly ascends 994 feet through the valley. As it does a handful of alpine lakes appear, happily nestled below rapidly melting snow-capped peaks.
The path that eventually ends at Gem Lake isn’t overly difficult and contains all the drama and beauty you could possibly want from a hike in the Sierra.
For some, the path to a closer Lake such as Long or Chicken Foot is enough. We pass by the odd angler peacefully fishing in crystal-clear waters. And here lies the charm of this trail – you don’t have to make it to the end to feel rewarded. You could spend 4 hours hiking all the way to Gem Lake like we did, or find yourselves happily lost in the views almost anywhere in between.
Not that you will get lost – very little navigation is required. The trailhead contained a map detailing the various lakes and 2 passes further along different splinter trails. Some brave people trek all the way to Mono Lake more than 50 miles north, but for those with little time to spare, this trail is still well worth the drive.
A frigidly cold breeze sometimes whipped us as we rambled the rocky path, hopping across stone water crossings. Yet at this elevation, the sun certainly left its mark. Bring mosquito spray, and even better – if you have the time – pack a tent and s’mores to spend the night under the endless sky. Happy trails.