Distance / Elevation: 9 miles / 2805 feet / Out & Back
Start GPS Coordinates: 37°10’59.9″N 118°33’30.8″W
Directions to Trailhead: Take 168 W Line Street from Bishop. After 15 miles, turn left onto South Lake Road. Follow this for 6 miles to reach a small parking lot on the right hand side, just past Parchers Resort. There are no facilities here, but if you continue on to South Lake, one more mile, there is a toilet and a large parking lot.
Difficulty: Medium. The trail is slightly steeper than many trails in this part of the Sierra. It’s great uphill and downhill training with long stretches of lower angle running too.
Views: From the high plateau turn around point, you’ve got an enormous view of Vagabond Peak towering above Green Lake.
Overview- favorite, quick training, few people
In the fall, the drive through yellow aspen along South Lake Road is one of the most beautiful places to experience the changing season. Even before the start of the run, you’ll be enjoying the scenery driving along South Lake Road. A less frequented route, this out and back run is a favorite for stout training in a serene landscape. And topping out at 11,800 feet, it’s a great way to acclimate for even bigger Sierra days.
From the small parking lot at the La Hupp Picnic Area, follow South Lake Road for a few strides and angle right into Parchers Resort. Keep on the main road through the cabins down to Rainbow Pack Outfitters. At the pack station, you’ll find the Rainbow Pack Station Trail. Follow this creekside trail through the trees for the first mile until the wooden sign at the Green Lake Trail intersection. Make a sharp left to start uphill on the Green Lake Trail. Now you’ll easily follow this trail, starting out steeply, and then rolling up to Brown Lake and then Green Lake.
After passing both lakes, the trail climbs the hillside off the south east end of Green Lake. You’ll reach a plateau at the end of a short climb and follow the worn path to the saddle where the Green Lake Trail drops toward Baker Lake. At the saddle, 4.5 miles in, you can turn around for the out and back. From the high plateau you also have options to continue. You can see several cross county summit options, notice that the Green Lake Trail continues until feeding into Baker Summit Trail, or just enjoy the view from above Green Lake and head back down to its glistening shore.
The way back is exactly the same as the trip up. Enjoy the mellow lake views, the playful running back down through the forest, and winding along the Rainbow Pack Station Trail to where you started. To learn more, visit @sierratrailruns
Photos by PatitucciPhoto