Big Pine Creek South Fork Trail

The South Fork trail climbs beneath the Palisades Glacier and jagged peaks of the Middle Palisades to reach Brainard and Finger Lakes. The bridge across the South Fork was destroyed by avalanch during the spring of 2011 making this creek difficult to cross. Expect to get your feet wet and use caution with high spring runoff. The trail above Willow Lake becomes indistinct with rock cairns marking the way to the upper lakes. This trail is not recommended for stock. 

Common Destinations: Brainerd Lake, Finger Lake, Norman Clyde Glacier

Download area map for trail names and locations.
To purchase more detailed maps or guidebooks of the area, visit

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Weather
Reservations: Reserve up to 6 months in advance at
Rentals & Guides: Glacier Pack Train, located on Glacier Lodge Road offers horse and mule pack trips (760) 938-2538
Permit Info:
  • Wilderness permits are required year round for overnight trips
  • Day use does not require a permit.
  • May 1 through November 1 quota limits visitors to 12 people per day.
Busiest Season: July-August
  • No campfires.
  • Food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear proof containers, or counter balanced.
  • Groups cannot be larger than 15 people (includes day use).
  • This permit does not include North Fork of Big Pine trail. 
  • Stock is not recommended beyond Willow Lake.
  • John Muir Wilderness regulations.
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon wilderness regulations (South Fork Pass/Palisade Basin)
Closest Towns:
  • Big Pine (gas, food, lodging) 
  • Bishop (full services, hospital)
Water: Water from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.
Restroom: Vault toilet at trailhead. Please Leave No Trace, bury human waste away from water sources.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


 From Big Pine, go west on Crocker Ave. which becomes Glacier Lodge Rd. and follow to the end of the road. Alternate trail start point at the pack station and large paved backpackers parking lot. Day use parking near Glacier Lodge, at end of the road.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Lake and Pond Fishing

Willow, Brainerd and Elinor Lakes all have Brook Trout waiting for anglers to try thier luck.

Day Hiking


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
7,824ft. at trail head