Big Pine / Glacier Lodge
North Fork and South Fork trailheads
Revised 11 Jun 2012 - please send updates to the webmaster
For the North Fork and South Fork trails, just take the Glacier Lodge Road (aka West Crocker Rd) west from the center of Big Pine (waypoint BIGPIN). (The Red Lake and Birch Lake trailheads are accessed via McMurry Meadow road, a turn south off Glacier Lodge Road at waypoint 2WDGLA.)
About 11 miles from Big Pine you'll hit the end of the road: There is only day use parking at the start of the North Fork and South Fork trails (waypoint NSFORK). There is a pit toilet and a bear box here, and most people drop their packs off at the trailhead (NSFORK) before parking just over half a mile downhill at the backpacker's parking lot (waypoint NSPARK) and walking back to their pack. There are several bear boxes and some more toilets at the backpacker parking lot.
The South Fork (of Big Pine Creek) trail goes slightly uphill from the day use trailhead, then crosses the North Fork and drops into the South Fork drainage. Expect lots of mosquitoes around Willow Lake! This is the trail to Brainard and Finger lakes (for Sill, Gayley, Temple Crag, Middle Palisade, Norman Clyde, Southfork Pass, etc).
The North Fork (of Big Pine Creek) trail can be reached from the day use trailhead, but there is a more efficient trail that sidehills up directly from the backpacker's parking lot. You may get confused by the pack station, but the trail goes above it and stays well above the old road (now closed at the day use parking area due to an un-fixed washout many years ago). This is the trail to 'the numbered lakes' (First Lake through Seventh Lake), Sam Mack Meadow and the Palisade Glacier (for eastern approaches to the V Notch, U Notch, Winchell, Thunderbolt, North Palisade, Polemonium, Sill, Temple Crag, etc).