Saddlebag Lake is just outside Yosemite in the Hoover Wilderness and is a favorite among Yosemite hikers. It is also a backdoor cross-country entrance into the park by way of McCabe Lakes.
The region behind and including Saddlebag Lake is known as the 20 Lakes Basin. The loop can be hiked in a day and the lakes are stocked with trout and ready for your arrival! Our Boat Taxi Service will drop you off at the far end of Saddlebag Lake and pick you up later at whatever time you specify. The shuttle saves you 1.5 miles each way.
Overnight Permits can be obtained from Mono County Visitors Center in Lee Vining, CA. or from Touloume Meadows Ranger Station in Yosemite. You will NOT be able to obtain an overnight permit from Saddlebag Lake Resort.
Saddlebag Lake and 20 Lakes Basin Hike
A day-hike loop that is a favorite among hikers
Total Distance: 8.3 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 310 feet
Trail traffic: Moderately heavy Best Months: All summer - whenever Tioga Road is open. However, high water, wet meadows, and deep snow sometimes make travel difficult early in the season Permits: None for a day hike.
Bring lots of water with you on your hike, as you can easily become dehydrated quickly at high elevations. A one pint bottle is usually sufficient for short hikes of an hour or less. The longer the hike, the more water you need to bring!
Use a generous amount of Sun Block. The sun's UV rays can burn untreated skin in as little as 15 minutes.
CARRY INSECT REPELLENT! This is a must to avoid irritating mosquito bites.
The easiest way to carry your fishing tackle is by wearing a vest or using a creel. Creels are less expensive and can accommodate a water bottle and a sandwich. Tackle boxes tend to be too cumbersome and are not carried by hikers in the backcountry lake. Lighter is better.
Nets are sometimes helpful in landing larger fish, but it's just another item you have to tote, so you may opt out of carrying this larger item.
Never underestimate the weather. Cloud cover, gusting winds, or a front moving through the Sierra can turn a comfortable 70 degree day into a freezing afternoon in a matter of just a couple of hours. BRING A SWEATSHIRT OR WINDBREAKER WITH YOU AT ANY TIME OF THE SEASON.
Plan your hikes carefully using a map. It's always a good idea to let someone know where you're going. It's best to hike with a partner or in a group.
Stay within your physical limitations when hiking. DO NOT attempt to hike to a high elevation lake immediately after driving up to the Sierra from a low elevation urban area.
Try to spend a day getting acclimated to the altitude before doing any hiking. Hiking Tips adapted from the John Barbier's book, "Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide for Day Hikers." We recommend this introduction to backcountry fishing in the Eastern Sierra of California. It is a useful guide designed to make your day hike more productive and enjoyable. The book is filled with maps, photos, directions, ratings, and lots of useful information for the backcountry angler.
Enjoy your hike! Take lots of photos to capture family memories!