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Southern Sierra Hiking Club Message Board › Kings Canyon - Kearsarge Loop Backpack? (Rae Loop)

Kings Canyon - Kearsarge Loop Backpack? (Rae Loop)

Dan J.
user 16408401
Ridgecrest, CA
Post #: 24
Ok, I haven't even gotten the HST under my belt so this is WAY early to be planning, but in my browsing of HST info I noted some other beatiful areas north that I thought might make a good future backpack. Maybe this summer late/early fall or next year, if folks are interested and if my wife lets me go again for a week!

The hike would either be started at the end of 180 in Kings Canyon (Mist falls trailhead/Bubb's creek) OR for us eastern folks at Keearsarge Pass TH.

The loop would more or less be the same, just starting/ending at opposite ends. Assuming 180 for the moment, we would hike up Bubb's creek. heading ESE. At junction meadow (not the one near whitney!), we would head south to East Lake and on to Lake Reflection (one I've wanted to see). Then ESE over either Harrison Pass or Milly's Foot Pass and see the headwater's of the Kern River. Cut over to the PCT, take that north over Forrester pass and then past the Kearsarge Pass Tr junction. Continue North through Rae Lakes. At the Wood's creek bridge (junction) we would turn west and follow the Kings Canyon past Mist falls back to 180.

I have not done any math on this route yet, so it could be well over a week trip, in which case, (sadly) the sound thing to do would be cut off East lake and reflection lake / the kern headwaters, instead you would stay on the Bubb's trail and join in the PCT just south of Kearsarge pass junction. I believe this would also make the whole trip class 1/1+ trail.

Based on photos I have seen it would be some of the best scenery the seirra has to offer.

Thoughts and comments?? Anyone please!
Wayne Bernard S.
user 56425912
Porterville, CA
Post #: 2
I think that there is buku elevation gain in the trip that you propose. Personally, I would prefer a less strenuous trip. I have a desire to start a hike sometime from the east side and coming in over Kearsarge Pass to Trail Junction, then north to Rae Lakes, Dollar Lake, and Bench Lake, then return. In 1969, I hiked from Cedar Grove up Bubb's Creek, and over Forester Pass (the highest pass in the contiguous 48 states), then south along the Kern River drainage and coming out by the Summit TH north of Quaking Aspen. It was necessary to cross Bubb's Creek, which may be treacherous. That was 90 miles in 9 days. It would be much easier to cut that time/trip in half, as 9 days is a long time. I have more recently climbed Kearsarge Pass, which I consider to be a fast lane to the high sierras.
Dan J.
user 16408401
Ridgecrest, CA
Post #: 25
I've done most of the eastern passes on various day hikes and kearsarge does seem to be one of the easiest ways "in". Plus, its a good hike to boot. Although I have not done bishop pass yet.

According to the national park website, the "true" Rae loop is 46 miles. So coming in from the east side would add a few miles each way, and a side trip to reflection and the kern headwaters would add more as well. Maybe it really needs to be two separate trips... but I am just thinking right now.
Walter R.
user 38135902
Ridgecrest, CA
Post #: 4
Dan, I hiked this with Dr. Marco Latini back in August of 2011. The first day we started from Onion Valley at 0845 and went all the way to Roads End. All down hill. The next day we went from Roads End to Arrowhead Lake which was all up hill! The third day we went over Glenn Pass and Kearsarge Pass and out. I would recommend taking 4 or even 5 days to make it more enjoyable. However you do it, you're going to have at least one day of all up hill. My pictures are on Flickr at­
Dan J.
user 16408401
Ridgecrest, CA
Post #: 26
3 days? Wow!

That first day must have been a race. Thanks for sharing the photos!
user 47164542
Bakersfield, CA
Post #: 6
When are you thinking of doing this trip? I might be interested.
user 31469162
Camarillo, CA
Post #: 24
I have been thinking about doing the Rae Lakes loop as well. Late summer is when Im planning it.
Sally T.
user 32996872
Bakersfield, CA
Post #: 4
Thoroughly research those two cross country passes.....Milly's Foot is about 100' of class 3 at the top of the northwestern side, involving a narrow chute requiring fancy footwork. Harrison would be the preferred route, but I would call that a class can have ice near the top. Throw in the altitude and a loaded backpack, and it gets tougher. Click on this photo... http://images.summitp...­ ... to enlarge. "HP" is Harrison, "MFP" is Milly's Foot. Refer to search tool for first hand accounts.

If you go to Rae Lakes I think you need to include Sixty Lakes Basin.

Just my 2 cents.
Sam W.
user 14577862
Bakersfield, CA
Post #: 23
I was at Milly's Foot Pass a few years ago and the class 3 top section is super loose and crumbly, with about 3 or 4 near vertical sections, each about 10 to 15' high or so. Eas of these near vertical sections had steep slopes loose areas if you fall, you will most likely fall the entire class 3 section. I was pulling large chunks of rock out with my hands on the way down...I wouldn't recommend it unless you like that kind of stuff(I hdid not enjoy it when I was on it). It is only class 3 like this on the Kings drainage side, the east/ Kern side is much easier class 2. The name "Foot Pass" is highly deceptive. All the pictures that I have seen of it, make it look easier than it actually is.
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