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Twenty Lakes Loop

A day hike around beautiful lakes in the eastern sierra, just outside the east entrance to Yosemite on Tioga pass.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 8.1 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Twenty Lakes Loop is a beautiful hike that starts from the Saddlebag lake (10,000ft) and takes you around some of the most amazing... more »

Tips:  Do carry enough water (I took around 1-2 litres) and don't forget your camera.

I think the views are best if the hike is done counter... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Saddlebag Lake Resort Parking

This is where the trail starts from. It might be hard to find a parking space on a weekend, but there is a lot of space along the road as well.

You can get breakfast here at the saddlebag lake store. Also if you want to take a water taxi across the saddlebag lake, this is where you buy the tickets. I took the water taxi on the way back. If you... More

2. Split in the trail (Stay right)

The trail here splits into two paths. One leads back to the Saddlebag lake (don't take this), the other (the one on the right) takes you to the lakes loop.

3. Take left after Lake Helen.

The trail splits after you cross Lake Helen. There is a log across a creek that comes out of Lake Helen. You need to cross the creek using the log to stay on the loop and get back to Saddlebag lake. (Proceeding to the right will take you deep into Lundy Canyon.)

See the log in the picture.

4. Shamrock Lake

This seemed to be a popular place to setup tents for people who were backpacking. I saw at least two tents on one of the rocks.

5. Steelhead lake

There appears to be another trail down below and I took a detour to see where the trail was leading. I went a few hundred feet and the trail was going up, so I returned back to the original trail (which is on the left side of the picture below).

6. Greenstone Lake.

Before you cross the Greenstone lake, you need to make a decision whether to take the water taxi back or take the trail on the west bank of the Saddlebag lake.

If you plan to take the trail back, try to go west and find a bridge that crosses the creek.

If you plan to take the water taxi, stay on the route to reach the dock.

7. Cannot get to the west edge of the saddlebag lake from here.

You might be able to cross the creek if you don't mind getting wet. If you still plan on hiking back to the parking lot, you have to go up along the creek till you find a bridge to cross the creek.

Otherwise, walk a few feet east to see the dock where the water taxi arrives.

8. Water taxi dock.

This is the dock where you wait for the water taxi. I did not plan on taking the water taxi back, So I did not get a ticket beforehand. But they usually are accommodating and will let you take the taxi back (You have to pay when you arrive at the saddlebag resort).