Saddlebag Lake to Conness Lakes
ElevationAscent: 842' 257 m
Descent: -843' -257 m
High: 10,776' 3,284 m
Low: 10,106' 3,080 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 35% (20°)
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“A run to the glacial-fed Conness Lakes above Saddlebag Lake with colors of the lake’s water changing before my eyes.”— candace Gregory
In the past, we have taken the water taxi that Saddlebag Lake Resort has operated to cut our running time down, but the Saddlebag Lake Resort was still closed (2018). It suffered snow damage a couple of years ago and is not back in operation yet. It is for sale in case you are interested!
To get there, we headed east on Tioga Road, east of the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite, to Saddlebag Road and drove up it, parking at the Saddlebag Lake Trailhead Parking Area, and we headed toward the resort, following the Twenty Lakes Loop Trail along the south, then east side of the lake. In the past, taking the water taxi operated by Saddlebag Lake Resort was an option, but not this year because they didn’t open due to the snow damage that they received.
Once we reached the north end of the lake at the Wilderness Ranger Station, we followed the eastern loop of the Twenty Lakes Basin Loop Trail until we reached Greenstone Lake. The official trail ends at that point, but there is an informal trail that you can follow north of Greenstone Lake. If you are running early in the season, you may lose that informal trail, but you'll be heading up the creek that empties into Greenstone Lake. The trick is to not get too low along the creek when it is wet and boggy. Sometimes I head along the creek and sometimes I stay up on the ridge as I make my way to the waterfall that empties into this creek.
This route will eventually lead you up to the glacial-fed Conness Lakes. These colorful lakes usually still have ice through late June. After enjoying the scenery, head back the way you came.
For more photos and information from my trip, click here.
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Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes
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Land Manager: USFS - Inyo National Forest Office