Considered the hidden gem of the Sequoia National Forest, the stunning Jennie Lakes Wilderness is a 10,500 acre wonderland of monstrous pines, lively meadows, and rich lakes & streams. Inside this natural dreamland is the cute, quaint, and vivacious Weaver Lake. It's super cute and a must see! Shot out to Fernando & Lando for inviting and introducing us to this sweet spot. Here are my reasons to explore Weaver Lake:
1.) Perfect for everyone
Let's be clear: Mother ma'am Nature loves everyone! Regardless of the color of your skin, where you're from, or who you love, you are welcome on public lands. Furthermore, it doesn't matter if you're a veteran thru-hiker, first time backpacker, or casual day hiker you belong in the outdoors. A prime example, Weaver Lake Trail is literally perfect for everyone!
In total Weaver Lake Trail is a 6.5mi out & back trek with 1,250 feet of elevation gain. The shorter distance of the trail is perfect for the tenderfoot backpacker or a seasoned hiker looking for a low commitment weekend escape. For us this was Alex's first backpacking trek and with that came a certain level of nerves and excitement.
2.) Trail options
The journey to Weaver Lake begins at the Big Meadows Trailhead. While we only did the out & back to Weaver Lake there are plenty of alternative routes. One such route is the 17.5mi Jennie and Weaver Lakes Loop Trail or you could continue past the lakes into Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.
Deeskie Tip - plan ahead and overestimate the amount of time it will take to ascend. Our goal was to leave San Francisco mid-afternoon on a Friday, arrive at the trailhead and hike up, and setup camp before sunset. Shocking no one, we were late to the trailhead. As a result we ended up hiking the last mile in the dark. Whether you're completing a day hike or camping a few nights don't forget your headlamp! Need one? Here's a few recs: Petzl Actik CORE, Black Diamond Storm, Princeton Tech Vizz, Biolite 200, or Zebralight H600w.
3.) Plenty of space
It was fairly dark when we arrived at Weaver Lake, but had no problems locating an established camping spot. In total there are 15 preexisting campsites that are marked by fire rings outlined in stones. Since all good camping queens practice Leave No Trace, please stake claim in one of the predetermined camping areas to reduce impact in this area. Although this trail is heavily trafficked especially during the summer months it is still much more chill than its Sequoia & Kings Canyon neighbors.
4.) Serenity now
Weaver Lake is cute, quaint, and vivacious. Period. And despite the crumbling world around us this subalpine lake is the best place to experience serenity now. Truly Weaver Lake is drop dead gorgeous and summer is the prime time to go. The water is crystal-clear and is roughly 5-6ft deep max, creating a glorious swimming hole that pairs nicely with a sunny afternoon of doing absolutely nothing.
Oh and I forgot to mention that you can bring your pup too? Dogs are totally allowed on the trail and at the lake. Though I'd recommend keeping your pooch on a lease to be mindful of other people's comfort level around animals. Also, don't forget to bury or carry out your pet's waste. No one likes stepping in a steamy pile of..
Last and maybe most important, access to the trailhead is absolutely FREE! That's right F-R-E-E! There's no fee to enter Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Also, there's no overnight wilderness permit fees in the Sequoia National Forest, but they do ask that you fill out a voluntary registration card at the trailheads to track visitation trends. *Note: if you enter the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks via the Jennie Lakes Wilderness, you must obtain a backcountry permit from the Park Service website or in person at their permit stations*
Nature, how neat is that?