Trip Planning: North Fork of Big Pine Creek

posted in: Trip & Hike Planning | 0

I’ll add more details as time allows and as I find more information about this area.

Planned Itinerary

  • Day 0 (Fri)
    • 7 PM
      • Drive to Big Pine area
    • 11 PM
      • Setup camp, go to bed
  • Day 1 (Sat)
    • Early AM, Hike:
      • Big Pine Lakes 1-5 Loop with Summit Black Lake (orange, see below)
        • Mileage: 13 miles total || Duration: 6-8 hours total  || Elevation Gain/Loss: ±3700 || Net Elevation Change (@ highest point): +407′ || Max Elevation: 10,965′
      • Optional Sidetrip towards Palisades Glacier (pink, see below)
        • Depending on how quickly we make it to Glacial Trail, we may hike towards the glacier. Will probably hike until we have a nice view of Lakes 1-3
          • Mileage: 4 miles RT (to glacier) || Elevation Gain/Loss: ±2155 ||  Max Elevation: 12,250′
    • 12 PM
      • Drive home, stop for lunch in Lone Pine
    • 5 PM
      • Arrive at home


Here is an interactive map showing the routes that I have planned out.


Everyone will be responsible for bringing their own food. Here is what I’m thinking:

Dinner: On the road. We can stop somewhere on the drive

Breakfast: On the trail. I plan to take granola with powdered milk or granola bars
Lunch: Bring snacks to get last you until noon or so. We can stop at Pizza Factory in Lone Pine or something else on our way home


All food and toiletries will need to be stored in a bear lockers while we are at the campsite or out hiking. Remember that things like chapstick, sunscreen and toothpaste all smell like food to bears and cannot be left in the car at any time..


Since there is plenty of water available along most of the trail, minimizing how much water we carry is an easy way to reduce pack weight. My recommendation is to start the hike with two 1 liter water bottles or two bottles of electrolyte replacement.

I will carry a water filter for the group and we can stop to filter several times if needed.


Camping Gear

I am providing the following for the group:

  • (1) 4 person tent
  • (3) Sleeping Pads – MJ, SJ, JM
  • (1) Sleeping Bag – JM


Whenever I hike in the Sierra, I keep the following in mind:

You should carry sufficient clothes to spend a night out on the trail. At a minimum, bring thermal tops and bottoms, a fleece hat, and a waterproof, wind-resistant jacket. Adding a fleece top and a pair of polypropylene gloves will greatly increase comfort if a problem occurs, yet weigh less than a pound.
(Source: One Best Hike: Mt. Whitney, by Elizabeth Wenk)

Based on the forecast, we will need to be prepared for temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to mid-50s. Here is the forecast for the Big Pine Creek area: NOAA.

Here’s a list of the clothing I will bring for the hike:



First Aid/Emergency Kit
I will carry a large first-aid kit for the group. Each individual should carry the following:

  • Navigation & Itinerary
    • I will print out a index card sized map for everyone
  • Sun Protection
    • You don’t want to forget sunscreen, chapstick and sunglasses for this hike
  • Headlamp or Flashlight
    • The first 3-4 hours of this hike will be in the dark
  • Emergency Shelter
    • I prefer an SOL Emergency Bivvy over a space blanket, but either will work
  • Poncho
    • If large enough, can also be used as a pack cover. Not necessary if your jacket is waterproof
  • Toilet Paper
  • Small first-aid kit for personal use.