“The final section of the Lakes Trail leading past Heather, Emerald, and Aster lakes to Pear Lake.”
— Charlotte Reed
River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers
From the Watchtower Trail
junction, the trail skirts the northern shore of Heather Lake before ascending a few switchbacks to the top of a small ridge. Look for marmots and pikas as the trail becomes increasingly rocky before descending towards Emerald and Aster lakes. Pass a spur trail to Emerald Lake on the right where it sits beneath sheer granite walls. Camping is permitted but limited, and a permit is required.
The trail continues past Emerald Lake looking down to deep blue Aster Lake on the left before beginning its final ascent to Pear Lake. Look for Alpine Columbine and Indian paintbrush along the rocky trail in mid-summer, and enjoy the view back down the Tokopah Valley into which the water from all four lakes drains to form the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. At 1.6 miles the trail begins to curve to the east and passes a junction to the Pear Lake Ranger Station. Continue along the main trail for another 0.5 miles to reach Pear Lake at 2.1 miles. Camping is permitted at the lake but is limited to 10 sites and requires a permit.
Enjoy a swim in this alpine lake or take in the views to the south of Alta Peak
and the expansive surrounding smooth granite slabs and twisted pines before heading back.
Flora & Fauna
Look for corn lilies along lush creek beds, and alpine columbine, Indian paintbrush, and penstemon along the rockier portions of the trail. Enjoy the twisted lodgepole pines at higher elevations and around the lakes. Marmots are often spotted along the rockier portions of the trail, and if you are lucky you may even spot the tiny pika, a rabbit relative that inhabits talus fields at higher elevations.