20 Lakes Basin
The 20 Lakes Basin is a favorite for hikers that want to be in the really high
alpine. The basin includes Saddlebag Lake (largest lake) plus 20+ other lakes that are all above 10,000' and relatively close to each other. The
lakes can be accessed either by driving to the trailhead at Saddlebag Lake or taking the
boat taxi from Saddlebag Lake Resort at the south end of the lake. Lundy Pass at 10,337' is located
between Hummingbird Lake and Odell Lake.
The trail is 8 miles long,
but taking the boat taxi will cut-off 1 1/2 miles each way. Make sure you take the trail on the
east side of Saddlebag Lake if you plan to hike the entire trail, the trail is less littered with rocks and debris. Allow 5 1/2 hours for the hike (4 hours when taking the boat taxi).
The 20 Lakes Basin trailhead and Saddlebag Lake can be reached by driving 3 miles east of Yosemite National Park, on HWY 120, to the Saddlebag Lake turn-off.
Names origin of some of the lakes in the 20 Lakes Basin
Saddlebag Lake: "undoubtedly named for its shape - two partly rounded ends with a narrowing middle."
Wasco Lake: "Named by Al Gardisky in 1932 after the town in which a close friend of his lived."
Z Lake: "Named in 1932 by Al Gardisky for its shape."
Cascade Lake: "Named by Everett Spuller in 1932 'because of the cascade coming down from the glacierette from North Peak.'"
Steelhead Lake: Named by Al Gardisky in 1932 and refers to the steelhead trout he planted in the lake.
Shamrock Lake: Probably given its name by the USGS during its 1905-1909 survey; possesses three lobes like a shamrock.
Lake Helen: Named in 1932 by Al Gardisky for a 'lady friend'.
Twin Lakes: Once again named by Al.
Odell Lake: A friend of Al's.
Hummingbird Lake: "Named in 1932 by Al Gardisky because at one time he saw many hummingbirds there."
Photo taken from the Hess Mine trail north of Steelhead Lake.