The North Lake/South Lake loop is a really perfect slice of the Sierras. At 55 miles and nearly 10,000 feet of elevation gain its a nice 5-6 day hike with easy logistics out of Bishop, CA. More than that, it covers some of the prettiest sections of the Sierra such as Piute Pass, Muir Pass, Bishop Pass, Evolution Basin and Dusy Basin.
I had wanted to do this loop as part of a 200 mile hike with my son in the summer of 2019. But an injury cut the trip short and we only did half our planned route. With the craziness of 2020 I realized mid summer that I didn’t have a hike planned, so on a whim I flew out to California to do this loop by myself.
Finally day 4 of our Alaskan multi sport adventure brought clear blue skies and a bright warm sun. After breakfast we hiked to Davidson Glacier. After hiking through thick forest we came to the flat sandy moraine where the Davidson glacier river flows. We walked across the glacial sand to the rocks and boulders where we climbed to get good views of the glacier. It towered hundreds above us, the turquoise glacial ice peaking through, and the river commencing beneath and roaring past us. It was magnificent.
I went on a multi sport high adventure trip to southeast Alaska with my son in July 2018. We really experienced Alaska. No cruise ships or easy tourist excursions for us. We did it native style…with all the cold the wet the physical and the bruises that entailed.
After staving off hypothermia the previous night, we were on our way the third day with wet socks and jackets flapping from our packs. Again the Northern Loop presented us with a challenge…after Yellowstone Cliffs is perhaps the steepest part of the trail. We now had to descend 3000 feet in 2.8 miles…my poor knees. We forged on down endless switchbacks. It was truly beautiful forest, although I had to walk slowly (and often sideways).