BACKPACKING TRIP AT JENNIE LAKES WILDERNESS
TRIP · 3-day backpacking trip
FOR · Friends & first-time backpackers
DISTANCE · 17.5 mile loop with 2,992 feet of elevation
VIBE · Hard & rewarding
COST · $
DRIVE · 3.5 hours from SF & LA
PERMITS · Nope! Just register at the trailhead
IDEAL DATES · April (after the snow has melted) - July
PETS · Welcome at camp & on trails!
WHY JENNIE LAKES WILDERNESS?
Named after Jennie Ellis, a mountaineer's wife, Jennie Lakes Wilderness has 10,500 acres & 26 miles of hiking trails, with four of those routes venturing south to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park. This place is blooming with wildflowers, alpine lakes (Jennie Lake being the largest) & pine forests. The neatest part is that you don't need a wilderness permit to camp in the backcountry. Trails will get busy on warm, summer weekends, but plan a visit during the Spring and you'll get to experience a classic Sierra landscape, a high-altitude adventure & tranquil getaway all in one trip.
STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW
Black bears do hang out in the Sierra so bring a bear-proof Ursack or bear canister to store your food overnight.
Backcountry campfires are banned since it's wildfire season, but you'll also need to apply to a CA campfire permit to operate a gas backpacking stove. It only takes a few minutes to complete online!
Most of Jennie Lakes Wilderness is above 7,000 feet so take some time to acclimatize to the altitude. Hike slowly & stay hydrated!
LEAVE LA AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
- LAST PIT STOP · Valero - 35468 East Kings Canyon Road in Squaw Valley
ARRIVE & PARK AT FOX MEADOW TRAILHEAD
- It's a bumpy dirt road to Fox Meadow Trailhead so if the weather gets bad or if your car's not up for the off-road adventure, you can also park at Big Meadow Trailhead, which is accessible via paved roads. It does add about a mile & 400 feet of climbing to the trek.
- You don't need a permit, but register yourself at the trailhead so park rangers know you're in the backcountry!
HIKE ALONG WEAVER LAKE TRAIL TOWARDS JENNIE LAKE
- It's a 5 mile hike with 1,127 feet of elevation gain to Jennie Lake
- At the Weaver Lake Trail junction, stay right & climb up the hill towards Jennie Lake
- Reach Poop Out Pass, which is accurately named if you haven't had a chance to acclimatize yet, but it's essentially a gentle, steady climb to reach the Pass. Take your time if you're feeling out of breath!
SET UP CAMP AT JENNIE LAKE
- Huzzah! Congrats on making it to your first alpine lake of the trip! Take a break, eat some snacks & set up camp on the northern or western sides of the lake.
- Jennie Lake is a popular wild trout fishing spot so don't be surprised if you find anglers trying to hook Rainbow & Brook trout
IF YOU'RE FEELING AMBITIOUS...CLIMB TO THE PEAK ABOVE JENNIE LAKE
- At the summit, find 200 degree views of the lake
RELAX, UNWIND & COOK UP DINNER
- Spend the rest of your evening chilling & swapping stories!
CAR TO CAMP · 5 miles with 1,127 feet of elevation gain, 3-4 hours
MAKE BREKKIE, PACK UP & HIKE TO WEAVER LAKE
- Fill up on water (at least 2L per person), pack snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat, bug spray & your lunch!
- It's about an 8.5 mile gradual, downhill hike to Weaver Lake
- Once you reach JO Pass, wander around the ridge & soak up some spectacular views of the area, before you take a left towards Weaver Lake
- At the JO Pass, Weaver Lake, Rowell Meadow junction, turn left towards Weaver Lake. Keep an eye out for a good lunch spot because you're around the halfway point of the trek.
REACH WEAVER LAKE & SET UP CAMP!
- There are actually 15 designated campsites with fire rings on the northern and western sides of Weaver Lake. Fire restrictions are in effect, but the campsites are well-spaced & worth snagging.
ENJOY A SUNSET DINNER
- Savor your last night in Jennie Lakes Wilderness & spend the rest of the night stargazing
CAMP TO CAMP · 8.5 miles, 4-5 hours
COOK UP BREAKFAST, PACK UP & HIKE BACK TO FOX MEADOW TRAILHEAD
- From Weaver Lake, you're only about a 2 mile hike, which is mostly downhill, from Fox Meadow Trailhead.
RETURN TO CAR & GRAB A QUICK BITE AT CLINGAN'S JUNCTION
Diners love their bagel sandwiches & baked goods
Located at 35591 East Kings Canyon Road in Squaw Valley
Open everyday except Tuesdays & Wednesdays | 8 AM - 2 PM
CAMP TO CAR · 2 miles, 1 - 2 hours
PAY IT FORWARD LIKE BEZZI
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LAST UPDATED: August 22, 2021
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