Backpacking Blue Lake in John Muir Wilderness

Trip Date: August 25-26, 2019

Trail Overview

Trail: Lake Sabrina Trail

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,283 ft.

Location: John Muir Wilderness

Permits: Wilderness permits required for overnight stay. Permits can be obtained here.

The Story

2019 was my year of backcountry memories and alpine lakes. From Washington during spring and Colorado in the summer, I was lucky to be able to dip my toes in a few alpine lakes last year. No matter how far I travel, I’m always sure to remain grateful for the beauty of my backyard, even though a 6-hour drive from LA, the Eastern Sierra forever has my heart. It was the middle of summer, end of August and we were finally able to get our small group of 3 to plan a quick overnight trip in the Eastern Sierra.

Leaving LA area around 6:30AM, we get to our trailhead a little before noon. We had planned for a longer trip this weekend, trying to get in a few more miles, but after a late start, we ended up camping at Blue Lake, which did not disappoint. I had been to Lake Sabrina area before, but never hiked any part of the trail that continues on past the lake. It was a beautiful, clear, summer day and Lake Sabrina was blue/green than ever! I imagined Lake Tahoe to look quite similar.

Our trail was pretty maintained, and covered for the most part. Just within our 2.8 miles to Blue Lake, we climed a little over 1,200 ft. It was a gradual climb, but like with any elevation near an alpine lake, the views are always worth it. Lake Sabrina was shining down from up above and only had me excited for Blue Lake. We passed a small waterfall along our trail, prompting that we were getting closer to our destination.

As we were making our way up, there were a few people headed down and they encouraged us that we were close by and it would be worth it. We ran into Melia, whom I had been following on Instagram for almost a year or two! Tiffany had met Melia prior, so they quickly caught up and we all snapped a photo together. I was excited to finally run into someone, I kinda knew.

We made it to Blue Lake in just about 2 hours and perfect timing too. We had just enough time to set up camp and hang out for a few hours before sunset. Tiffany surprised our friend Janelle with a few mini bundt cakes for her birthday! It was a neat surprise and I couldn’t believe she carried those in her pack, for 2-miles! It was awesome because after she picked out her favorite flavor, we each had our own mini cake. It was delicious and just what we needed after our hike! We snapped some photos near the lake before sunset, before our friend Janelle got in her swimsuit for sunset lake photos! She was brave to get in that water when the sun was going down, but I’m sure she got some pretty awesome shots!

My goodness the sunset that day was amazing. Reflections on the lake were perfect and it was almost like I’ve never seen the sky turn so many different colors. Of course, I had a hard time capturing that on my phone, so you’re just going to have to believe me. Lol. As my friends were getting all bundled up in their tents after we lost all sunlight, I wanted to break out of my tent for awhile. I’m sure the Fireball had me awake too, but I saw so many stars that night. It was beautiful. I’m pretty sure I saw a few shooting stars too, unless that was also the Fireball? Hmm. Either way, it was cool. So cool, that I made note of that moment, because I couldn’t capture it on my phone, I made note. And basically it said, I needed to do this more often. Break out of my tent. Look up at the sky, see the stars. Be present. Be in the moment. Cause in all honesty, at the end of the day, when we crawl back into our tents- I don’t know about you, but I pull out my phone and look at photos from the day. From that EXACT trip, just moments, hours ago. That’s silly. That trip is still happening, in that moment.

It was a good night. We all slept well. Probably because we each had our own tent, lol! Warmed up some breakfast, had a few snacks, snapped a few photos and made our way back to the car. The trip back was a lot faster because it was all downhill, and it was only 2.8 miles! Still a beautiful day, still a beautiful trail and I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the area!

Posted by

Vanessa is an outdoors enthusiast, hiker at heart, and the storyteller behind Forever She Wanders; a women's lifestyle + travel blog inspiring all to get outdoors, seek adventure and live an active lifestyle. As an outdoors enthusiast, Vanessa has found passion in being outdoors while backpacking, camping, hiking and creating memories of a lifetime.

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