Commonly Backpacked · Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Not too difficult hike to extraordinary lakes, creeks and mountain scenery.
Need to Know
Wilderness permits are required. They can be obtained online at recreation.gov/permits. The trail entrance is JM17. There are daily quotas. In 2020, no walk-in permits are available. No campfires are allowed.
The trail goes to Blue, Dingleberry, and Midnight lakes. Short side trips can be taken to Hungry Packer, Sailor, and Moonlight lakes. This combination of lakes is among the most beautiful in the Sierras. From Blue Lake on, the trail is in the timberline region between 10,000 to 11,000 feet, and it is surrounded by 12,000 to 13,000 foot peaks with shear granite cliffs everywhere. There are many cascading creeks, small waterfalls, unnamed lakes, and high meadows with wide-open views. The only reason this trail is not more well known is that the main hike and all of the side trips are out-and-back.
Overnight parking is along the side of the road, starting from 300 yards below the trailhead. The trail climbs through trees and flowers to pass the spillway and follow along the eastern side of the lake, 100 to 200 feet above the water. After about a mile, it begins a gradual climb up to meet the junction with the George Lake Trail at 1.3 miles. A little beyond this, it crosses the stream from George Lake, an excellent source for water. At 1.5 miles, the trail begins a fairly steep climb all the way to Blue Lake at 3.0 miles. About half of this is under a tree cover, while the rest is fully exposed. It can be a hot climb. Just before you reach Blue Lake, I recommend a climb up the rocky hill south of the lake for a sweeping panorama of Blue Lake, the surrounding area, and the main Sierra crest from Mt. Thompson all the way to Mt. Darwin. There are numerous good camping spots along the western side of Blue Lake.
The major climbing is now done. There are some minor ups and downs between Blue and Dingleberry lakes, and a 500 foot climb from there to Midnight Lake. Part way around Blue Lake, at 3.3 miles is a junction where the Sabrina Basin Trail turns right, while the trail straight ahead leads to Baboon Lakes. At 4.0 miles, an unsigned trail leads past Emerald Lakes to an off-trail route that climbs over a notch to Pee Wee and Topsy Turvy lakes, just below the Hungry Packer Lake Trail (31E01C)
. At 4.5 miles, the Sabrina Basin trail passes above Dingleberry Lake and drops down to cross the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek. The ford is very wide and shallow, but rocks have been strategically placed to allow for a dry crossing. The trail gradually climbs through open meadows, with a waterfall, numerous streams and great views. At 5.5 miles we pass the signed Hungry Packer Lake Trail (31E01C)
and then climb to Midnight Lake, which has some great camping spots.
Shared By: Lee Watts