What a fun half-day! Compared to many Sierra peaks, this one is easy yet scenic. And friendly for dingos! Highly recommended!

  • trailhead: Saddlebag Lake
  • route: Southwest Slope, class 2
  • total distance: 10 miles (16km)
  • elevation gain: 3000ft (915m)
  • total time car-to-car: 5 hours
  • tough for dogs?: nope!

Hot tip for shoe wearers: trail gaitors came in handy for surfing down the sand slopes on the descent.

Saddlebag Lake to North Peak. Download gpx.

After waking up with a spontaneous urge to tag a peak, we drove an hour to Saddlebag Lake Campground and had a luxuriously late 11am start:

Crossing the dam at the trailhead. Where's the water? It's a very low snow year ):

This grate bridge is not great for dingo beans! Carry me please

fig.1: Volcanic scree for the first mile

fig.2: Crossing Lee Vining Creek after Greenstone Lake.

After an hour of brisk trotting, the trail gets a little scrambly as it leaves Greenstone Lake and makes its way up to the first of the Conness Lakes:

fig.3: Cross left across a slab towards the top of a small waterfall.

Then I finally saw snow!

I am a suncup pup.

I went right up the snow but it was easy to walk around for humans with less capable paws. A couple minutes later we were at the first Conness Lake:

First Conness Lake

A big breeze was blasting through so daiyi hid behind a large boulder for lunch. I heard juicy marmot sqeaks, but I didn't find any.

Lunch burrito for humans.

Continuing on the highest Conness Lake, we encountered our first big patch of snow. I ran right across the sloshy sun cups, but the human beta was to scramble around the left side:

fig.4: Snow is no problem for a little dingo!

fig.5: Scree slopes to the saddle.

Once at the last Conness Lake, it’s time to go up on sandy scree slopes. It’s steep at times but there’s a million use trails so you can’t go wrong. A party of two coming down as we started up passed with a mysterious message: “the fight begins…”. So ominous! Was there going to be a band of armed marmots blocking the path? At 2 hours 20 min into the total hike, we got to the ridge having eluded the prophesied fight.

fig.6: Looking south from the ridge, you can see Conness.

Looking north from the ridge, you can see the summit (yep that's it).

The rest was an easy 20 minute walk to the summit on compact sand.

fig.7: Scattered talus on the final slope were like stone steps leading to the top.

Resting the summit of North Peak. The Northwest ridge looks epic.

Hiking back from the summit took about 2 hours. The sandy slope makes a quick descent!

fig.8: Staying high on the way back to Conness Lakes to avoid that snow from earlier.

The high descent ends with some talus.

A cute crop of alpine succulents. Imagine being under snow all winter!

A view of North Peak from below.

Just a minute from the parking lot, I saw a big coyote and I chased it!! I dropped the chase when I heard a scream from my human companion. This is the second coyote I’ve seen at Saddlebag this season, so other dingos beware!