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


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!


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.

Read more …
From USD
$2250 Per Person
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 1-10 Guests
Trip Length: 7 Days
Distance: 40+MI / 64+KM


Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

This trek follows one of the most well established routes in Sequoia – Kings Canyon. The trail is well maintained and involves moderately rugged switchbacks and loose dirt sections. It is a long route with many significant elevation gains/losses and reaches a high point at 11,900 feet. Packs are a bit heavier due to the length of the trek and one layover day includes a 7.5 miles hike with 3400 feet gain/loss.

Hiking Distances:

5-8 miles

Backpack Weight:

45+ lbs


Lightly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

3450 feet

Heights Exposure:


Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.


  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 45+ lb backpack for 6-10 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on lightly rugged terrain
  • Hiking with moderate heights exposure
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.


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.

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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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. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

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


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


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


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, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • 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 communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • 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, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

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.

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.

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. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) have been specifically identified to help you understand the skills and abilities necessary to participate on each Wildland trip, and they apply uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability.

Once you identify a trip in which you may be interested, please carefully review the EEC and itinerary details. If after reviewing the EEC that apply to your desired trip, you determine you need an accommodation in order to meet the EEC, please contact us prior to registering to discuss your requested accommodation.

The EEC exist for your own safety and the safety and enjoyment of all participants. If you are unable to meet the EEC for the trip, with or without an accommodation, you are not eligible for that trip. If you register and arrive for a trip for which you do not meet the EEC, you will be disqualified from participation on the trip and will be dismissed or evacuated from the trip without a refund.

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.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip 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)







Backcountry Sleeping


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 synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine


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


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 (4 reviews)
Mary Beth D


2 years ago

Another great experience with Wildland! Rae Lakes Loop is challenging, but definitely worth the effort. Our guide Matt and fellow hikers made the difficult terrain bearable and memorable. Definitely recommend!

Andrea C.

An Epic Adventure

4 years 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.

Surpassed My Expectations in Every Way

4 years 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!

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