Alpine lake dips are a thing of the summer! If you’re looking to swim at some high-altitude lakes in the mountains, here are some of my favorite California hikes to pretty lakes below, of all different lengths and levels, most of which can be done as a day hike or a quick weekend trip!
⛰️ Turquoise-Colored Lakes in Eastern Sierra Mountains
Short and EASY hike near June Lake. Less than 2 miles one-way. Big Pine Lakes:
North Fork to Third Lake
8.4 miles hike to all 7 Big Pine Lakes but only 5.5 miles to Second Lake which is the most popular. Third and Fifth Lake are the other turquoise-colored lakes worth checking out. Deer Lakes
6.2 miles one way. This one is really nice because it’s much less crowded and a bit more remote while still holding beautiful green-turquoise colors
5.6 miles one way. Easy-moderate hike in Mammoth Lakes Big Pine Lakes:
South Fork to Finger Lake
<6 miles one-way, and includes a short class 2 scramble and route-finding at the end. This is one of the most turquoise & coldest water in the Sierra Nevada I’ve been to. Consultation Lake
This one is on the Mt Whitney Trail which does require a specific permit. It’s actually a vibrant blue color which can be easily reached just before Trail Camp. Scenic Alpine Lakes in CA (Non-Glacial / Non-Turquoise)
Highly recommend this one – it’s a long loop for a day hike but doable if you’re fast or have overnight permits. This adventurous loop passes Ediza Lake, Iceberg Lake, Cecil Lake, and Minaret Lake. Red Lake
This is a great camp spot if you’re climbing Split Mountain in two days. The trail to get here honestly kind of sucks but the lake and views are freaking gorgeous! Blue Lake
Blue Lake in Bishop starts at Sabrina Lake TH. It’s about 3 miles one way and accesses an entire lakes basin if you continue onwards!
Thousand Island Lake
This is similar to the previous loop but to the opposite side of Ansel Adams Wilderness to Ediza Lake, Garnett Lake, and Thousand Island Lake, with views of Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter. Treasure Lakes
From Little Lakes Valley: The hike to Gem Lake (not pictured) is easy, and the trail up here to Treasure Lake after requires cross-country hiking and navigational skills. Lower Lamarck Lake
Lower Lamarck Lake in Bishop: 1.84 miles one way with 1318 ft of elevation gain. It’s short but a great workout and there’s an upper Lamarck Lake you can hike to beyond this.
Take care of the land, someday you’ll part of it.
Ready for the lakes? Don’t forget to prepare for the sun! Check out these
5 essential items to pack for fun in the sun!
Thanks for reading!
I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below :)
& please don't forget to practice LEAVE NO TRACE