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8952North Lake / South Lake Loop preparations

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  • Kevin Balla
    Jun 1, 2010
      Hey all,

      I'm planning on taking 6 days vacation in early September and am thinking of doing the North Lake - South Lake loop instead at a leisurely pace.  I've heard great things about this loop and want to do it, but am open to other suggestions from you all that have done this before.

      A bit about myself and the trip: I normally average 13 miles a day on the JMT and am looking to do a slower pace this time around with a first-timer who will be joining me on this trip.  I heard about this loop originally from the ranger at the Rae Lakes and it has always been on my list of places to go, but I can't find much else information about it online.  Was hoping you guys could help out with that!  I had the following questions to get me started on preparing this trip:

      - Anyone know how long this loop is?  I've heard it's anywhere from 45 - 60 miles, are there any variations I should know about or is the path pretty straightforward?
      - How long does the trail follow the JMT, and which section of the JMT will it hit?
      - Are there any online logs with directions to complete the loop?
      - I've heard that this route isn't a complete loop through the Sierras.  If not, do you know where the trailhead and trailend are?  Is there any easy transport to return back to the trailhead in that case?
      - Is there a particular ranger station I need to call for permits?
      - Are there any better 45-60 mile treks through the Sierras I should consider?  I've already done the top third of the JMT (Red's Meadow -> HI) which was beautiful, but I'd rather not do that part again.

      I'm hoping September is a good time to go.  I've been in the mountain in July (mosquitoes!) and September (no mosquitoes) and it was a much better experience the second time around.  Hopefully the same is true this year!

      Thanks all!

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