Lillian Lake

July 2, 2020 · Ansel Adams Wilderness

July 4th weekend in the mountains. Swimming in beautiful, cold alpine lakes, and exploring the surrounding mountains during the day.


12 mi

Elevation gain

1,500 ft


4 days

The trail

Check out the route in detail on AllTrails.

Thu Jul


The hike up

The crew met in Mariposa and started the caravan to pick up our permit at Bass Lake, then on to the Fernandez Trailhead. We started hiking towards Lillian Lake, via Vandenberg Lake around 3:30pm. The trail was easy to follow, but challenging at times with our heavy backpacks. Packing ~3 days worth of supplies added some extra pounds (wine & cheese) and required some extra effort (sweat & soreness).

It was around 8pm when we crested over the granite skirt on the south end of Lillian Lake. We quickly found a spot, set up camp, and cooked dinner around a campfire. I think the crew was grateful to have completed the hardest part of the trip.

Fri Jul


Around the lake

Eager for adventure, but not necessarily wanting to have another day of heavy exertion, we decided to explore the lake. We set off heading counter-clockwise around the lake. When we arrived at the boulder field, we were presented with a great swimming and chill area. And that's just what we did.

After an hour or so, we continued around the lake, having fun picking our way through the boulder field. At the far side of the lake we took another opportunity to swim and relax. We were back at our camp by 5pm. We coated ourselves in deet, got a fire started, and hung out for the rest of the evening. A very pleasant day.

Sat Jul



After a slow morning, we set off for Chittenden Lake. A 2 mile hike from Lillian Lake with some elevation gain brought us to another beautiful spot to relax and swim. Stani and I had hiked in to snowier Chittenden lake a month prior. It was amazing to see how fast the snow had melted, and how inviting the lake water was.

Dave, Shanza, Stani, and I hiked around the lake, and explored the meadow at the base of Sing Peak. Once we returned back to the rest of the scouts, and after a few more dips in the lake, we set back to our camp at Lillian Lake.

Sun Jul


The hike down

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Trip posted by KP