“A challenging yet rewarding loop in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park, CA.
— Aaron Groves
Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
This route covers diverse terrain, from granite cirques, verdant meadows, and alpine lakes to high alpine scrambling passes and granite peaks and scree.
The road to Mineral King has seasonal closures.
From the Timber Gap Trailhead follow the trail to the left to Timber Gap. You'll start out your journey on the Timber Gap Trail
, which you'll follow for the first few miles of the outing. Once you arrive at Timber Gap Creek and the junction of Blackrock Pass
, take a right and follow the trail towards Blackrock Pass
. If you decide partway through the route that the full distance is a bit much, you can bail out on the Sawtooth/Glacier Pass Class III Shortcut
. This route is still plenty rugged, so it might stretch the definition of a "shortcut". If your plan is to complete the full loop, continue your journey t Blackrock Pass. After a strenuous climb up to the pass, you'll have earned sweeping views.
Shortly after reaching the pass, you'll come to an intersection with the Big Five Lakes - Buckhorn Pass
Trail. Take the cutoff towards the lakes, and you'll be rewarded by the gorgeous lakes known as Little 5 Lakes and Big 5 Lakes. Continue on the Big Five Lakes Trail
to Buckhorn Pass and veer right towards Columbine Lake and Sawtooth Pass at an intersection with the Lost Canyon Trail
. A beautiful alpine lake and scramble await, before a slippery scree slope descent back to the trailhead from Sawtooth Pass on the Monarch Trail.