Back to index Barney & Peeler Lakes Hike
Trip Date:  06/24/2018

: 17.8 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1200'

Group Size: 1
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
Barney and Peeler Lakes Hike
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Barney and Peeler Lakes Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 08.890, W 119 22.655     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates

Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 395 to the Twin Lakes turnout just at the west edge of the town of Bridgeport.  Follow this road for 13 1/2 miles until you pass the second of the two twin lakes and park anywhere possible around the marina area.  There is no charge for just a day visit.
Hazards of Note:   A couple of stream crossings, including one less than a mile past Barney which will require a boots-off crossing. Crowd Factor:   High.  The trail section from the Twin Lakes resort to Barney Lake is a very popular hike due to the spectacular scenery at Barney.  Past this point you will see far less people as it ibecomes a very steep climb to Peeler Lake.
General Notes:
From the Twin Lakes resort area, head almost directly due west through the RV campground, and you should spot a small wooden sign pointing you to Barney Lake up ahead.  At the end of the camp is a wire between a couple large trees, to keep vehicles from passing beyond here.  There is a large open meadow to your left as you head up this trail.  From here, following the sign to the right for Barney Lake, and do not cross over the bridge or you will be headed the wrong direction.
Once you enter the signed Hoover Wilderness area, the trail will gain elevation gradually, passing through a couple stands of aspen trees before after about 1 and 3/4 miles you begin to head up some switchbacks.  The trail will begin to bend to the south as you climb, with the spire of Cirque Mountain above you to the west.
Reaching the lake you will immediately take in a stunning vista, looking south with the towering Crown Point peak directly past the lake.  Get there early enough and you will have a spectacular reflection of the mountains in the water.
To continue on to Peeler Lake, follow the trail along the western edge of the lake and begin a long series of steep switchbacks up toward a junction about 2 miles further which will head to Robinson and Crown Lakes to the left or Peeler Lake to the right.  The lake is a spectacular location surrounded by granite all around, and if continuing on past the lake the trail heads into the northern end of Yosemite National Park.  Otherwise, enjoy the location and then head back the way you came to finish up an extremely long day.

After parking at the marina near the western Twin Lake, look for these signs to get to the trailhead for the Barney Lake trail. RV Camp sign
There are ominous signs here warning not to continue past this point, but that is for motor vehicles and this is the true start of the trail.
Start of the hike 
Looking to the left along the start of the trail gives a couple glimpses of the mountains that eventually lead south to Matterhorn Peak (not visible from here.) First meadow
Not too far up the trail is the official entrance into the Hoover Wilderness area. Entering the wilderness 
Less than a mile after starting the hike you will emerge from the aspen treed to be greeted by mountains all around as you head west. Looking west 
On your left as you head toward Barney Lake you will have some good views of Little Slide Canyon, which makes more of an appearance as you get closer to the lake. Granite spires
Starting up the switchbacks on the way to the first lake, there is a good view into Little Slide Canyon and the pointed rock called the "Incredible Hulk," a very popularrock climbing location within the wilderness.
Incredible Hulk 
Some of the many flowers found along the way are these Columbine near a small water crossing. Columbine 
The first look at Barney Lake when you reach it a little over 4 miles from the trailhead is just jaw-dropping.  Getting there early provides the added benefit of the massive Crown Point peak in the far distance. Barney Lake glory 
Heading up the western side of Barney Lake will thin out the crowds almost immediately as the trail quickly becomes very steep.  
Heading past
The junction sign is weathered and held together by twine, but head to the right for Peeler Lake.  Heading to the left will take you across exposed granite on the way to Robinson and Crown Lakes as well as further on toward Duck Pass. Junction 
Though it was early in the season and the mosquitos were out in force on this day, the view of Peeler Lake is mesmerizing and worthy of some reflection time.   Peeler Lake
Another view of Peeler from a small campsite location on the east side of the lake.  Continuing on the trail along the north shore will take you past the lake and into Northern Yosemite. Another view of the lake
Lots of water on the trail back down from Peeler before hitting the switchbacks once again. Lots of water
A look back down the original canyon that the trail starts up as you head to Barney Lake early on. Barney Lake canyon
Once back in the aspen groves you know that the end of a long trail day is soon to arrive. Aspen trail
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike