It was cloudy and overcast when we left Bishop on our way to Big Pine Canyon. 11 miles long, Glacier Lodge Road follows Big Pine Creek as it winds steeply up the narrow, curvy road to about 8,000 ft.
Big Pine creek.
At the end of the road lies Glacier Lodge with cabins, campsites and parking for day hikers. Trails lead to some of the highest peaks in the Sierras, including 14,242ft North Palisade which is the 4th highest mountain in California. There are glacial lakes, alpine meadows, waterfalls, cliffs, granite outcrops and also the southernmost glaciers in the US.
One of the ponds at Glacier Lodge.
The impassible summits of the Inconsolable Range, mean you can’t hike over to Kings Canyon or Yosemite from Big Pine Canyon, mind you that definitely wasn’t in our plans.
In the Glacier Lodge store I discovered that here was another place that was closing for the season the next day. The lady in the store told me that winters in the canyon are bitterly cold although the snow isn’t as deep as it used to be.
We followed the South Fork Trail for a short distance as it followed the creek. Partway along the trail we interrupted a squirrel nibbling on a pine cone, it scurried away before before stopping to carry on nibbling. Evidently it wasn’t going to let us interrupt its snack.
Aspens surround the creek as it rushes under the bridge, it’s very pretty, just after that the trail divides, climbing up to the North Fork and on to the glacier or continuing into the South Fork.
We carried on into South Fork a little way where we got a great view of one of the glaciers. We think it’s part of Middle Palisade Glacier.
After mooching around for a while we started back down the canyon, stopping by the creek on the way. As we looked around some deer darted out of the bushes before heading up the mountain.
It’d be nice to go back and hike further into the mountains, maybe one day.