Rae Lakes Loop

Trip Highlights

  • Stunning Mountain Lakes
  • Layover Day to Explore
  • Alpine Loop Hike
  • Beautiful, Pristine Campsites
  • Stunning High Mountain Passes
  • Alpine Peaks, Lakes & Rushing Streams
  • Guides Choice Trip

Description

If your interest is jaw-dropping alpine scenery and a challenging hike through the Sierra high country look no further! Our Rae Lakes Loop travels high into the Rae Lakes district of Kings Canyon National Park and features a myriad of stunning mountain lakes as well as some of the largest vertical relief in the Sierra. We enjoy spectacular mountain scenery, pristine camps, waterfalls, wildlife, and solitude on this unforgettable adventure!

We’ll begin at Road’s End in King’s Canyon National Park, where we ascend into John Muir’s High Sierra and leave the world behind for a solid week of mountain revelry. The days will be strenuous and the afternoons will be full of relaxing, swimming or even some fly fishing! Most of our camps will be at High Mountain lakes where the guides will cook up hearty meals and watch the stars come out next to glowing campfires.

Some of the sights on the Rae Lakes Loop such as the dramatic pyramid shaped peaks known as “The Videttes” and “Paradise Valley” are second to none in wilderness beauty. Join the Wildland Trekking Company on our Rae Lakes Loop this summer season for a truly remarkable hiking getaway!


NEED TO KNOW: PERMIT PROCESS

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks issue backcountry permits 6 months in advance. It’s beneficial to register before permits are issued and if you do, we recommend not making concrete travel arrangements until the permit is secured. We have a very good success rate with Sequoia-Kings Canyon permits, but if unsuccessful your deposit is 100% transferrable or refundable.

7 Days
$1765 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 7 Days
Distance: 40+MI / 64+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 5

Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
30-40 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
6-9 miles
Most Elevation Gain:
3450 feet
Most Elevation Loss:
3450 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well-maintained, rugged in places
Additional:
Trails in this area of the Sierra are characterized by steep, sporadically maintained switchbacks leading over high passes through colorful, highly metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, gravels and small boulders. Footing is occasionally unstable. Trails along the canyon bottoms and streams, though rocky and less maintained than more popular areas of the Sierra, are more pleasant and easier to navigate.

Participants should:

  1. be very active, healthy people
  2. exercise vigorously several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, or running for hours at a time without taking breaks

SOLITUDE LEVEL 4

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Sequoia National Park hike a solitude 4. You can expect to see on average no more than 1 or 2 groups per day once we’re well into the backcountry.

Learn More about our Rating System
TRAVEL TO FRESNO

All Sequoia-Kings Canyon trips begin and end in Fresno, California. Fresno has an airport served by many major airlines. You will meet your guide and group at the Wyndhyam Garden Fresno Hotel, which is very near the airport and has a free airport shuttle. We recommend staying here for your convenience.

Private Trips

Traveling in perfect company is a wonderful thing! With our private trip offerings you can book a trip exclusively for your group. Whether it’s with family, friends or colleagues, private trips are a fun and enriching way to explore the outdoors.

Private trip pricing is based on a sliding scale, depending on the number of people in your party. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax and national park fees (where applicable) or guide gratuity. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE to get the ball rolling!

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.3
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.1
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1

*all rates are per person

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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
PDF Trip Itinerary Packet Book online
Or fill out a Reservation Request
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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle: 2.5 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2300 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 715 feet

After an early wake-up and a quick breakfast at the hotel, we will hop in the Wildland truck for a short shuttle into King’s Canyon (guests also have the option to caravan).  The first day of our Alpine Lakes trek takes along the South Fork of the King’s River past breathtaking Mist Falls with Buck Peak and 11,165ft Glacier Monument towering high above. After a great day on the trail, we make camp along the Kings River, kick back, and enjoy a fine meal with the sun setting behind Goat and Kid Peaks in the distance!

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2400 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 540 feet

After a good stretch, we will break camp and ascend higher into the mountains along Woods Creek. We will pass dominant granite features including Castle Domes and Window Rock just before our intersection with the famous John Muir Trail.  With another amazing day under our belts, we camp along Woods Creek and the JMT with glaciated Mount Clarence King towering above the southern skyline.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2350 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 270 feet

Today we enter the Lakes District as follow the South Fork of Woods Creek to a beautiful lunch spot along Dollar Lake and enjoy a nice break with impressive views of Diamond Peak towering above us at 13,126 feet. We will continue on past Arrowhead Lakes to our campsite in the vicinity of Rae Lakes. In the evening we can go fishing, swim, read by the campfire and watch the sun set behind the impressive backdrop of Black Mountain, Dragon Peak and the Painted Lady!

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: Optional day hike- 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 3450 feet

Today is our layover day which means either resting and relaxing around Rae Lake or trekking up to the Sixty Lakes Basin and possibly summiting Cotter Peak!  From the summit of this non-technical granite peak, you are rewarded with 360 degree panoramas of Mt Clarence King, Gardiner Peak and the entire Sixty Lakes Basin as well as Gardiner Basin on the other side. After, we will return to camp, jump in the lake and prepare for tomorrow’s hike over Glen Pass!

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1740 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 1950 feet

Today we leave early to cross Glen Pass at 11,978 feet in elevation and say goodbye to the Rae Lakes District. Our trek is through steep, beautiful mountain country with massive granite peaks all around us, this setting truly feels remote! Our goal is Charlotte Lake at 10,370 feet which is a beautiful alpine lake situated in a quiet side valley.  We will make camp and settle in for a hearty meal prepared by your guide while the summit of Mount Bago offers a beautiful panorama, protruding above our lakefront camp.

Day 6

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 3590 feet

Today we descend into Bubb’s Creek and trek past Charlotte Dome with incredible views of the Videttes, sharp Arêtes similar in appearance to the Matterhorn. We will also cross under the Kearsarge Pinnacles where the mountains truly rival the Alps in their beauty. After a quick break and great trail lunch we continue several miles down Bubb’s Creek and set up camp in a wooded meadow where we will enjoy our last campfire and night out under those glorious Sierra stars.

Day 7

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 460 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2750 feet
  • Shuttle: 2.5 hours

On the final leg of our voyage we continue to descend Bubb’s Creek with our packs significantly lighter as our food weight has all but disappeared at this point! The views our outstanding today as we pass by the backside of Glacier Monument. We will celebrate with a victory lunch on a trip well earned back at Road’s End trailhead where our vehicle awaits.  Your guide will transport you back to your hotel/airport in Fresno, CA.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Sierra Nevada hiking guide
  • Transportation to the trailhead originating from Grant Grove Visitor Center
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

What Clothes to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

You’ll meet your hiking guide and group at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fresno, California at 5PM the evening before your trip begins for an orientation meeting. We recommend staying at the Wyndham Garden before and after your trip for your convenience. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks beforehand to coordinate this meeting. The next morning we’ll meet and utilize park shuttles to reach our trailhead.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s rendezvous time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 6 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will be out of the backcountry normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time) the final day.

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Shifts

Sequioa-Kings Canyon guides work daily shifts from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During off hours (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) the guides’ time is their own, and they are free to sleep, rest, take personal time, postpone guest requests until the next morning, and any other legal, reasonable activity people engage in when not working. We ask all guests to respect the guides’ off-duty hours by not waking or asking anything of them unless there is a true emergency. Also, state law requires that employees receive an uninterrupted 10 minute break every four working hours, so guides are required to take four 10 minute breaks between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in the Sierras

Being a high mountain environment, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in the mountains. On trips in June, snow is a possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)

MonthValleysAlpine
hilowhilow
January49°26°45°25°
February55°28°46°26°
March59°31°48°27°
April65°35°54°30°
May73°42°62°37°
June81°

51°71°46°
July89°

57°77°50°
August89°

56°81°53°
September82°51°71°46°
October74°39°62°37°
November58°31°51°29°
December48°26°46°25°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Sleeping

TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine

FRESH & DELICIOUS

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Amazing Campsites

IN THE ACTION

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (3 reviews)
Andrea C.
5.0

An Epic Adventure

6 months ago

Our guide Dylan was very professional throughout the entire 7 days and also a gentleman. He made every effort to accommodate all our varied dietary needs and managed to produce restaurant worthy meals, truly impressive. His extensive knowledge about the Sierras, nature and camping enriched our experience.It was truly an epic adventure and I'm already looking forward to the next one.

Beth L.
5.0

Surpassed My Expectations in Every Way

6 months ago

I just completed my third trip with Wildland and it certainly won’t be my last. The Rae Lakes loop was a bucket list route for me that surpassed my expectations in every way. The scenery was truly breathtaking and the schedule provided flexibility for side trips and the perfect mix of terrain. We got a taste of thru hiking by meeting fellow travelers on the John Muir Trail and the PCT and I made new friends that I will continue to stay in touch with. Our guide Dylan was everything that you could possibly want in a group leader and more. He was knowledgeable, professional, patient and personable- not to mention an Aussie who makes a mean bowl of backcountry ramen! Getting off the grid in 2020 poses some new challenges but the protocols in place made everyone feel safe. It actually proved to be more important than ever to take a much needed break from the “real world” to restore and regroup. I can’t wait until my next adventure!

Scott S.
5.0

Impressive Guide and Trip

6 months ago

Dylan's guiding abilities were almost as impressive as the views during the Rae Lakes loop trip. He was a leader with clear instructions, helpful tips, great meals, a sensitivity to cleanliness/social distancing, and entertaining stories from past hiking experiences. If I sign up for another trip with Wildland, I really hope Dylan is my guide.

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