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Sabrina Basin Trail (31E01)

Intermediate

Trail

5.3 mile 8.6 kilometer point to point
84% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,973' 601 m
Descent: -72' -22 m
High: 10,988' 3,349 m
Low: 9,087' 2,770 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Map Key

This trail provides relatively easy access to some of the most consistently spectacular lakes in the Sierras.

Lee Watts

Features Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers

Wilderness permits are required. They can be obtained on line at recreation.gov/permits. The trail entrance is JM17. There are daily quotas.

Description

In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful areas in the Sierras. It would be far more popular, except that all trails are out and back--but that means that it is not as crowded as it would be otherwise. The Sabrina Basin Trail is the main artery that provides access to all other lakes in the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek basin.

Start from the parking lot about 1/3 of a mile below Lake Sabrina. The trail runs along the southeast side of Lake Sabrina and then begins the moderate climb to Blue Lake. Although you start at almost 9,000 feet, much of this climb is in the sun and it can be hot. All along the way, there are good views across Lake Sabina and some of the Sierra Crest.

Blue Lake provides some of the best camping and (cold) swimming in the Middle Fork area. To truly appreciate Blue Lake, cross the creek just south of the lake and climb up the rocks as far as you like.The color of the lake is remarkable and there is a sweeping panorama of the steep granite cliffs the Sierra crest, from Mt. Lamarck to Mt. Thompson.

About half-way down the east side of Blue Lake, there is a trail junction. The Sabrina Basin Trail forks to the right. The trail continuing south (Baboon Lakes Trail) leads to Donkey and Baboon Lakes. Head west up a gentle climb through the wood. After about 1/2 mile, you pass a branch trail headed south (Emerald Lakes Trail) to the three largest of the Emerald Lakes. Continue on to Dingleberry Lake, another beautiful lake with camping on the south and west sides.

Shortly after Dingleberry, there is an unusually wide, shallow crossing of the Middle Fork Bishop Creek. When I went, the water level was fairly low and someone had placed a trail of rocks so that you could keep dry all the way across. If the water is higher, or the rocks are missing, it will be a long wade.

From there to Midnight Lake, it is an easy climb in a more open area of scattered trees, meadows, and rock. You pass a short trail leading to Topsy Turvy Lake and then a little farther, the Hungry Packer Lake Trail (31E01C) leading to Hungry Packer and Moonlight Lakes.

Midnight Lake sits in a basin surrounded by steep granite ridges. There is good camping near the bottom of the lake and down the creek a little ways.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes

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Check-Ins

Jul 5, 2019
Jenny Lao
Skipped midnight lake bc river crossing and ran out of time 11mi

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 9 votes

#2

in Bishop Basin

#316

Overall
  4.8 from 9 votes
5 Star
78%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#2

in Bishop Basin

#39

in California

#316

Overall
210 Views Last Month
2,748 Since Apr 21, 2017
Intermediate

0%
14%
57%
29%
0%
0%

Photos

From up the rocks north of Blue Lake looking towards the main crest of Sierras.
Apr 21, 2017 near Big Pine, CA
Looking south across Dingleberry Lake.
Apr 21, 2017 near Big Pine, CA
Looking south from Lake Sabrina towards Mt. Darwin and Mr. Haeckel.
Apr 21, 2017 near West Bi…, CA
The group explores south of Dingleberry Lake.
May 8, 2017 near Big Pine, CA

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