One of the best things about the Golden State is that winter conditions won’t stop you from exploring. There’s this California hike that leads you to clear blue water and incredible mountain views. 

This hidden gem is far off the grid, but that’s what makes visiting it so worthwhile. While you’re there, you can see seven turquoise lakes and multiple cascading waterfalls!

It’s rated a moderately challenging hike and has a substantial elevation change if you plan to explore the whole trail. Make sure to bring plenty of water and wear good hiking shoes. 

Big Pine Lake Trails has multiple hikes to offer, but our all-time favorite is Temple Crag. If you’re an adventurer and want to explore the entire route, it’s about eleven miles each way. 

To hike Temple Crag, it’s about a 4.5-mile trek each way, and you can get right down to the lake’s edge! You can take a quick dip in the freezing water to cool down.

Since it’s such a long hike, we recommend starting very early in the morning or bringing a tent in your backpacking gear. 

The trail is available to hike year-round, and there is no fee to hike there. It's also dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend! We recommend going from May through October to avoid icy trail conditions and bringing extra water along for you and your pooch.

Since there are a lot of loose rocks along the way, it is important to watch your step. This hike will have you working up a sweat, but the views are definitely rewarding!

Make sure to pack a swimsuit so you can take a dip in the cold, turquoise water. You’re probably going to want to take all the pics. We can't believe how blue it is! 

Since there aren’t any restrooms nearby, make sure to pick up trash and leave no trace. It’s important to respect the environment so others can enjoy it too.

Temple Crag: Big Pines Lake Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Length: Temple Crag is 9 miles roundtrip, Big Pines Trail is 22 miles roundtrip

Location: Big Pine Lakes Trail, John Muir Wilderness, California

Why You Should Go: This rewarding hike will lead you to the bluest water you’ve ever seen in real life. You can even swim in the lake.

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We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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