Lost Lake Loop

22-25 September 2010

by Bill Finch

Having retired this year, I had the luxury of hiking in September. This trip has been on my list for many years and it is a fine trip that visits many beautiful lakes.

Day 1

I got a pretty late start, something you have to learn to live with if you use the Marvin Pass trailhead and you don't get your wilderness permit the day before. It didn't really matter because I didn't have far to go to Jennie Lake. Jennie Lake
Jennie Lake wasn't quite as big as it was more than 50 years ago when I last saw it.

This lake can be easily reached in a day from Lodgepole, Big Meadow, Rowell, or Marvin Pass trailheads, so it gets lots of use. It wasn't my first visit to the lake, but I hadn't been there for more than 50 years. It looked somewhat familiar, but not quite as open and large as I remembered.

Day 2

I was the only person to camp at the lake that night, but I met a fishing party of four climbing to the lake the next morning after passing a tree carved with a large J O. JO Pass
The carvings didn't look much more than a decade or two old.

and descending through a dry meadow. Pattee Meadow
I saw deer near Pattee Meadow which was very dry.

Eventually I reached the trail that connects Lodgepole to Silliman Pass. The trail ascended to Twin Lakes and was gentle at first but involved a steep section with lots of switchbacks right before getting to the lakes. I took a lunch break at the larger of the lakes. larger Twin Lake
Twin Lakes are heavily used since they are close to Lodgepole.Two hikers were camped a few hundred yards up the trail and were looking forward to fishing the lakes.

More switchbacks ascended toward Silliman Pass. Silliman Pass
There's a nice view of Mount Silliman from the pass.

Since it was early afternoon when I got to the pass, I decided to look around a little bit. I checked out the higher of the Twin Peaks but decided the climb to the top was too technical from what I could see. The view to the north was awesome and included smoke from the Sheep Fire (several thousand acres in extent) in the south fork of Kings Canyon, a tiny, remote lake, and some of the rock faces that form the walls that back other nearby lakes. Silliman Pass view
I'd been over the pass once before but was too hurried to hike to this viewpoint.

Well built trail descended to my second night's destination, good trail
Some real experts put together this trail which included stairs in some sections.

Ranger Lake. Ranger Lake
If you camp at the north end of Ranger Lake, you have a great view of Mount Silliman.

Although I saw nobody there when I arrived that afternoon, I did hear a voice the next morning. I never saw my neighbors, however.

Day 3

The next day took me by several more lakes. After following trail north from Ranger Lake for a while, I left it and hiked cross country to Lost Lake, saving perhaps a mile of distance but probably not much time. Lost Lake
The photo I took of Lost Lake that I took during this trip wasn't very good. I substituted this one from a trip a few weeks earlier.

After a lunch break at this lovely lake, I hiked north to a low pass that lead to upper Sheep Camp lake. It was prettier than I expected and even though there was use trail almost all the way around the lake, I saw only one fire ring. upper Sheep Camp Lake
Plenty of solitude here, probably because their are no fish in the lake.

The next section to Seville Lake was cross country and I saw no ducks or use trail. It was fairly steep in some sections but it was easy to find a safe route down the slope. I spotted lower Sheep Camp lake but decided to skip a visit to it. Instead I headed directly to Seville Lake, another heavily visited spot. Seville Lake clear
The air was clear when I arrived.

There are many large, developed campsites next to the lake and a couple of bear boxes. I was the only visitor to the lake the night I stayed. That evening, the wind changed direction and blew a lot of smoke from the Sheep Fire into the area. Seville Lake smoky
A few hours later, the air was filled with smoke from the Sheep Fire in Kings Canyon.

Day 4

Smoke was still heavy when I left the next morning but it began to clear as I ascended toward Marvin Pass. Not far below the pass I crossed a creek that was flowing like it was Spring. creek
The only thing missing was blooming flowers on Rowell Creek.

It didn't look much like Spring because almost all the flowers had gone to seed. A large meadow above the creek had dried up for the year. dry meadow
I can't remember seeing such dry meadows.

When I finally made it to the pass, I was greeted by three deer hunters with high powered rifles and big scopes. They asked if I had seen any deer but I hadn't that day. hunters
Despite their stern looks, these guys were friendly and even offered me a drink.

The day before I had seen a doe but she probably would stay in the park like most of her kind. They seem to know where park boundaries are.

Lost Lake Loop Map

28 September 2010