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Glacier Lodge to Palisade Glacier

Difficult
 4.9 (19) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A beautiful route below towering peaks to one of the few surviving California glaciers.


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Map Key

17.9

Miles

28.8

KM

78%

Runnable

12,419' 3,785 m

High

7,820' 2,384 m

Low

4,704' 1,434 m

Up

4,703' 1,434 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

51%

Max Grade (27°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overview

This High Sierra route passes beautiful lakes and winds its way under tall peaks all in an alpine environment. If this doesn't sound enticing enough, it culminates at a view of one of California's few remaining glaciers.

Description

This is a fairly long route, but it's quite reasonable as far as elevation gain goes. The trail from Glacier Lodge slowly climbs into the alpine. You start higher up on the hillside, and then after several miles the trail converges with the creek at a waterfall. Here the trail takes you through a birch forest and past an old stone cabin, built by actor Lon Chaney in 1929-1930 and now owned by the USFS, in the area known as Cienega Mirth.

You'll eventually come out of the forested area into an area several hundred feet above the lakes to the east. The impressive Temple Crag is on the other side of the lakes. Pass lakes 1, 2, and 3 and then take an eastern fork of the trail towards the glacier.

Here is where the steep running starts. After topping out after the first section of steep terrain, you'll find the Sam Mack Meadows. These flat meadows provide a good place to camp for your first night.

From there, it again climbs steeply from this basin over several ridges lines and then finally, onto the glacier. After Sam Mack, expect a little more difficulty finding the trail, as there is a lot of rock, and very little soil. Once at the glacier, enjoy the view!

Once you've had your fill at the top, turn around and retrace your steps back to the lodge.

Flora & Fauna

Trees: lodgepole pine, Jeffery pines, whitebark pine (at highest elevations).
Wildflowers along streams and in meadows: tiger lily, red-orange paintbrush, white rein orchis, red columbine
Wildflowers at high elevations: alpine columbine, white heather, blue sky-pilot

Contacts

Shared By:

Daniel Birdwell with improvements by Mark Osterman

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 19 votes

#395

Overall
  4.9 from 19 votes
5 Star
89%
4 Star
11%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#66

in California

#395

Overall
34 Views Last Month
16,653 Since Apr 13, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
7%
0%
86%
7%

Photos

Sam Mack Meadow
Jul 18, 2021 near Big Pine, CA
Norman Clyde Peak over autumn woods
Apr 19, 2016 near Big Pine, CA
Cool view from Palisade Glacier.
Apr 7, 2016 near Big Pine, CA
Temple Crag.
Apr 7, 2016 near Big Pine, CA
Kid Mountain (~11,860 ft) stands across the valley as the trail ascends to the Baker Creek Trail junction.
Jun 21, 2017 near Big Pine, CA
Temple Crag sunrise.
Apr 14, 2016 near Big Pine, CA

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Check-Ins

Jul 4, 2022
Dani Perry
Travelled light and fast and spent some time walking on the glacier! Fun scrambling, be careful, cairns should be not too difficult to spot. 17mi — 8h 00m
Jun 5, 2022
Dani Perry
Ran June 1. Ice axe and crampons needed for last 1200 feet and 1-2 miles I think.