Big Pine Creek South Fork Trail


Snow along the peaks surrounding the South Fork of Big Pine Creek.

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

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

At a Glance

Reservations: Reserve up to 6 months in advance at
Day use does not require a permit.
Rentals & Guides: Glacier Pack Train is located on Glacier Lodge Road. (760) 938-2538
Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips into the John Muir Wilderness or Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Day use does not require a permit. Permits to start on this trail are issued at Inyo National Forest visitor centers. Quota of 12 people permitted to start overnight trips each day from May 1 to November 1.
Usage: Light
Busiest Season: July-August
Restrictions: - No campfires.
- All food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers, or counter balanced at least 15 feet above the ground, and 10 feet horizontally from a tree trunk.
- Groups cannot be larger than 15 people (includes day use).
- Separate quota applies for the North Fork of Big Pine trail. Check the area map for the correct trail name.
- Stock is not recommended beyond Willow Lake.
- John Muir Wilderness regulations apply.
-Sequoia and Kings Canyon wilderness regulations apply if entering the park.(includes Cross Country permit type for travel to Palisade Basin area; no night box permit pickup)
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: For wilderness infomation call (760) 873-2483; or for area information call the White Mountain Visitor Center (760) 873-2500.

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.



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  Latitude : 

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  Elevation : 
7,824ft. at trail head


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