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Charlotte Lake Trail

Intermediate
 3.7 (3)

This splendid lake makes a great destination from Onion Valley or a great camping spot from the JMT.


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Map Key

1.1

Miles

1.7

KM

87%

Runnable

10,708' 3,264 m

High

10,392' 3,168 m

Low

7' 2 m

Up

316' 96 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Lake · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Wilderness permits are required all year. Daily entry quotas apply from Memorial Day to late September. Permits can be reserved online, but you must go into a ranger station to get the actual permit. No night drops are allowed. One-fourth of the quota is available on a walk-up, first-come-first-served basis, starting the day prior to departure. No campfires are allowed.

Description

This beautiful and very popular lake has many great camping spots along the entire length of the northwest shore. The Charlotte Lake Trail itself is easy: just a little over a 300-foot drop from the John Muir Trail and a little over a mile to the far end of the lake.

However, getting to the trail over Kearsarge Pass is a strenuous, full-day run. The Charlotte Lake Ranger Station, about two-thirds of the way down the lake, was active when I was there. There were hand-written signs telling of unusually high bear activity at this and several other lakes in the area. There are bear bins toward the far end of the lake.

In the past, the trail extended beyond Charlotte Lake to Gardiner Basin via Gardiner Pass. However, that portion of the trail has not been maintained for a very long time and a number of avalanches have made it near impossible to follow.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lee Watts

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes

#19069

Overall
  3.7 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings

#1,954

in California

#19,069

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1,486 Since Sep 4, 2015
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Photos

Charolette Lake, looking south east on a clear morning
Oct 30, 2018 near Lone Pine, CA
Charlotte Lake shortly after sunrise
Apr 30, 2019 near Lone Pine, CA
Charlotte Lake
Apr 29, 2019 near Lone Pine, CA
Charlotte Lake, with many great camping spots the entire length of the right side.
Aug 13, 2017 near Lone Pine, CA

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