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9 Wonderful Lakes to see in the Sierra Region

With so many lakes to see in the Sierra region, you are probably wondering where to begin exploring. Here is a list of 9 Wonderful Lakes to see in the Sierra Region. They are all very different but provide a range of skill levels for all types of explorers.

Some of these lakes are great if you are looking for more of a relaxing and leisurely adventure, while others offer a longer trek with more exploring and incline along the way. Whatever you are looking for I hope this list of 9 lakes is helpful to you for your next escapade.

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Blue Canyon Lake

9 Wonderful Lakes to see in the Sierra Region

1. Blue Canyon Lake

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada range, this hidden gem near the stunning Sonora Pass is a strenuous 4-mile out-and-back hike that rewards you with beautiful views. The trail’s elevation gain is around 1,200 feet and guarantees a heart-pumping adventure. The path is steep and rocky, so it can be a bit slippery.

You kickstart your journey at the trailhead parking lot along the side of Hwy 108. The shimmering Blue Canyon Lake is more emerald than blue and is hidden in the mountains. Blue Canyon Lake is a nature-filled bliss whether you’re a backpacker or a weekend explorer. I promise you you’ll love this location. [Read more details about Blue Canyon Lake].

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Guide: Link
  • Coordinates: 38º 19’08.46″N 119º39’49.26″W.

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Mono Lake

2. Mono Lake

Mono Lake is a scenic hike that’s approximately 2.6 miles long, offering a moderate level of challenge. With minimal elevation gain, this trail is perfect for both day hikers and those looking for a leisurely stroll. You’ll be treated to panoramic views of the stunning lake, which is famous for its striking limestone formations known as tufa towers.

These ancient towers rise from the water like sculptures crafted by Mother Nature. Pack your camera, bring some snacks, and get ready to immerse yourself in the wonders of Mono Lake.

  • Distance: 2.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Guide: Link
Green Lake

3. Green Lake

This lake is a great backpacking destination. It is a moderate 6.5-mile-out-back hike with an elevation gain of around 1,100 feet. As you wind your way through the journey filled with wildflowers, creeks, and maybe even a glimpse of wildlife, when you finally reach Green Lake, you’ll understand why it got its name.

The clear water is surrounded by towering peaks all around, so if you are looking for an unforgettable day trip at Green Lake or want to make a short backpacking trip, this is an excellent location for either type of adventure.

  • Distance: 6.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Guide: Link

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June Lake

4. June Lake

In the heart of the Eastern Sierra region, you’ll find June Lake. If you’re up for an adventure that blends natural beauty and serenity, this spot is it. You don’t have to do a hike to see this lake, but if you choose to, there is a trail loop that’s about 4.2 miles with an elevation gain of 1,300 ft.

If you choose to opt out of the hike, park at the main parking lot, and you can go straight to the lake. Whether you’re chasing fall foliage or aiming for a summer escape, this place never disappoints. The crystal-clear waters of June Lake mirror the surrounding landscape, creating a scene that’s extraordinarily beautiful —a destination that will make you fall in love with the Eastern Sierra region.

  • Distance: 4.2 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Guide: Link
Big Pine Lakes

5. Big Pine Lakes

Big Pine Lakes in the Eastern Sierra should be at the top of your list; this is one of the most spectacular views in California. The trail to Big Pine Lakes spans a total of 15 miles out and back, with a total of seven lakes. The most popular location is the second lake, which is pictured above and takes about 5 miles to get there with an elevation gain of 2,600 feet.

These alpine lakes are a true masterpiece of nature in the heart of the Eastern Sierra. Backpacking to this location in the snow was extra special, but I highly recommend preparing well since conditions change rapidly all year. Note: The elevation gain can reach up to 3,986 ft if you do all seven lakes.

  • Distance: 5-15 miles
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Guide: Link

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Pinecrest Lake

6. Pinecrest Lake

Pinecrest Lake is a great location if you’re craving a serene escape with a touch of adventure.

The Pinecrest Lake Loop Trail offers a delightful 4-mile trek around the lake, making it a perfect day hike for hikers of all levels. With minimal elevation gain, this shimmering lake is an easy to moderate hike, and whether you’re into fishing, kayaking, or simply lounging by the water, this lake has you covered.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic—you’ll find plenty of great spots to enjoy a meal with a view. This is also a great camping destination, for reservations, book here, and to learn more about hiking around Pinecrest Lake read here.

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Guide: Link
Lake Alpine

7. Lake Alpine

You don’t have to do a hike to explore Lake Alpine, but if you choose to, this tranquil location spans around 4 miles, offering a moderate challenge. With a manageable elevation gain, you’ll have plenty of energy to soak in the breathtaking alpine views.

The serene waters of Lake Alpine are great for paddling a kayak, stand-up paddleboarding or simply enjoying a lakeside picnic. So, whether you’re seeking a day trip to hike and enjoy the alpine scenery or you’re planning a camping getaway with a backdrop of shimmering waters and trees, Lake Alpine is a destination worth checking out.

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Guide: Link
Fern Lake

8. Fern Lake

The trail to Fern Lake is a 3.7-mile out-and-back hike; although it is a short distance, the elevation gain is 1,555 feet, and it begins right away. As you venture along the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lush alpine meadows.

When you reach Fern Lake, you’ll find a peaceful oasis nestled among the trees. It’s a hidden gem, but you’ll have to work hard to get there since the incline can be strenuous. This location is tucked away in the Inyo National Forest; along the way, you get a glimpse of roaring creeks and beautiful waterfalls, so make sure to look out for that.

  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Guide: Link
Winnemucca Lake

9. Winnemucca Lake

Winnemucca Lake is located in the Mokelumne Wilderness. This hike is a 6-mile loop, but to get to the lake, it takes approximately 2.5 miles; it’s a manageable hike suitable for hikers of all experience levels. With an elevation gain of approximately 900 feet, you’ll find yourself among the breathtaking wilderness without breaking too much of a sweat.

Along the way, you’ll see wildflower meadows and jaw-dropping views, and let’s not forget —Winnemucca Lake. This location is absolutely stunning during each season of the year. Note: Day use requires a trailhead permit; you can purchase one here.

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Guide: Link

Your Thoughts: Have you visited any of these lakes?

There are endless lakes in the Sierra region, and this list only covers an ounce of them. Let me know in the comment section if you have visited any of these locations or your favorite lake in the Sierra. I hope you found this list of 9 Wonderful Lakes in the Sierra Region helpful. Happy Trekking!

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