Jennie Lakes Wilderness is an 11,000 acre wilderness area that borders Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. It is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Although much smaller compared to Monarch and Golden Trout Wildernesses, Jennie Lakes Wilderness still provides sublime beauty with pristine alpine lakes, streams, peaks and meadows. The majority of the wilderness is above 7,000ft and reaches as high as 10,365ft at Mitchell Peak. Also, most of the same wildlife found within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park can be found within Jennie Lakes Wilderness.
This is a very underused area, so solitude is easy to come by. Its not until you get close to the National Parks when you begin to see other people. If you hike during the week or after Labor Day, your almost certain to see less then 10 people on the trail. However, during the weekend or before Labor, you will encounter a lot more people along the trail
Also, below Jennie Lakes Wilderness in the National Forest, there are a lot of horse corrals. Many of the people ride horses into the wilderness area. This is allowed, however, just be aware that there are horses and watch for road apples (horse poop).
This wilderness provides endless recreation in the form of hiking, fishing, rock climbing, bouldering, horseback riding, skiing and camping. With all these opportunities along with the serenity and solitude, Jennie Lakes Wilderness makes a great weekend or week trip and provides one with an experience like none other.
There are two main lakes in Jennie Lakes Wilderness;
Jennie Lake (The namesake for the area)- Jennie Lake is the star attraction of Jennie Lakes Wilderness. It has excellent fishing and is much deeper then all the other lakes in Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Jennie Lake sits at around 9,020ft
Weaver Lake- is the second named lake and is little bit smaller and shallower then Jennie Lake. However, it is still a pretty impressive lake and provides adequate fishing. Also, since this is the most easily accessed lake, it can often be a lot more crowded then Jennie Lake.
There are a few other unnamed smaller lakes.
Lake 9398 sits just below JO Pass on the Jennie Lakes Wilderness side. A map of the lake can be seen here
Lake 8761 is just around .50 miles NW of Weaver Lake. Click here for a map.
Lake 9396 is a small secluded lake that lays directly below Peak 9963. Click here for a map. I call it Cirque Lake because of the way the lake is situated
Aside from these lakes just mentioned, there are also a few small seasonal ponds within the area.
Any other information about these unnamed lakes would be appreciated!
There are three named peaks within Jennie Lakes Wilderness:
Mitchell Peak - the tallest peak within Jennie Lakes Wilderness at an elevation of 10,365ft. Also, it is the only peak within the wilderness that has a maintained trail to the top. It lays at the corner of Jennie Lakes Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park
Mount Maddox - Second tallest peak at an elevation of 9,675ft.
Shell Mountain - Third highest named peak within Jennie Lakes Wilderness and situated directed behind Weaver Lake.
Also, there are a few unamed peaks in the area:
Peak 9,612ft lies directly behind Jennie Lake and sits along the Kings/Kaweah Divide. Click here to view the map.
Peak 9963 Lies along the border of Jennie Lakes Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park. This lies directly NW of Seville Lake (Kings Canyon National Park) and looms just east over Lake 9396 inside of Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Click here for a map
Peak 9240 is a very small, yet steep and rocky peak just over .50miles east of Mount Maddox. It has a prominence of about 230ft. Click here for a map.
Peak 9874 lies about a mile east of Mitchell Peak and lies on the ridge that separates Jennie Lakes Wilderness from Kings Canyon National Park. Kanawyer Gap separates and serves as the saddle between Mitchell Peak and Peak 9874. Click here for a map
Plants- Red fir, lodgepole pine, and western white pine composes the majority of the forest within Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Also, many many different types of wildflowers flourish in this area. Jennie Lakes Wilderness consists alpine and sub-alpine forests mixed with many rocky outcroppings.
Animals- Most of the same animals that live in Sequoia and Kings Canyon also call Jennie Lakes Wilderness their home. Animals such as: coyotes, black bear, deer, wolverine, mountain lions, fox, birds, badger, sheep, beaver, muskrat, snakes, marmot and fish.
Much of the 200+ types of birds the live in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park also exist here. Click here for additional information.
Much of the same fish that live inside the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park also live in the few lakes in Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Such as rainbow trout and brown trout.
Yes there are some rocks in Jennie Lakes Wilderness, after all, it is the Sierra Nevada's. There are plenty of rock climbing opportunities available in Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Problem is, I don't know to much more other then that.
Jennie Lake, Weaver Lake and Lake 9396 ( and their respected peaks) would provide some boulder hopping and rock climbing opportunities.
Also, the east face of Mitchell Peak is very rocky and steep and one could mostly likely find somewhere to climb there.
Any extra information would gladly be received to help improve this section!
Cross-country skiing is a big activity in this area. Also, there are quite a few waterfalls, mostly off of Jennie and Weaver Lake that probably freeze over in the winter that could host ice-climbing. However, this goes past my field of knowledge. As said before, access can be a little tricky in the winter. However, if you take the two trail heads mentioned off of General's Highway you should have no problem accessing Jennie Lakes Wilderness in the winter.
Also, snowshoeing is a big activity along with general mountaineering in winter months.
If anybody has additional information they would like to add to this section I would be happy to add it.
There are five trails to access Jennie Lakes Wilderness:
Big Meadows Trailhead- This trailhead is probably the most popular way for entering Jennie Lakes Wilderness. It is fairly close to Generals Hwy and there is Big Meadows campground just down the road from this trailhead. Its about 2.5 miles till you reach the actually wilderness from this trail head. This trail is most often used to access Weaver Lake, Shell Mountain and Poison Meadow
Stony Creek Trailhead- This trail head takes about less then a mile for you to enter the wilderness area. It leads to Poop Out Pass and is about five miles long. This trail head is ideal for to hiking Shell Mountain or to Jennie Lake. Also, it provides winter access becuase it is just off of General's Highway, which is plowed in the winter months.
Sunset Meadow Trailhead- This trailhead is just about 2.2 miles away from beautiful Rowell Meadow. It comes up from Rowell Canyon (with Rowell Creek) and ends up on the very flat Rowell Meadow. This trailhead is great for accessing Rowell Meadow, Mt. Maddox and Mitchell Peak.
Marvin Pass Trailhead- This trailhead leads you 1.3 miles to Marvin Pass where you enter into Jennie Lakes Wilderness. This trailhead is great for accessing Mitchell Peak, Mt. Maddox, Rowell Meadow and Kings Canyon National Park.
Twin Lakes Trailhead- This trailhead is within the Sequoia National Park and takes about six miles of hiking in order to enter into Jennie Lakes Wilderness. This trailhead is great because it is just off of General's Highway and will be plowed in the winter. Also, it provides great access to JO Pass and drop dead views of Mount Silliman.
The best areas for camping are at Jennie Lake, Weaver Lake, Rowell Meadow and Poison Meadow. These areas have designated campsites and over plentiful camping. Aside from these areas just mentioned, there are numerous amounts of other places where one could also camp. There is 11,000 acres after all.
For those areas not designated for camping, camp at least 200ft from any trails, streams, meadows and lakes.
If you wish to camp outside the wilderness area, there are campsites at Buck Rock and Big Meadows. Click here for additionally information about camps within Sequoia National Forest.
Outside of that, there are other campsites within the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks where you could camp, however these will most likely be more crowded then those outside of the park.
No Wilderness Permits are required when entering Jennie Lakes Wilderness Area. However, if you plan on thru-hiking Jennie Lakes Wilderness on into Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Park, then you will need to get a permit to enter the park.
Jennie Lakes Wilderness can be accessed from various roads from Generals Highway or from Hwy 180. In the winter months, these roads may not be plowed.
Groups over fifteen are not permitted. Camp away from lakes, streams, and trails to minimize resource impacts and allow others to experience recreation and solitude in wilderness. Try not to "trail cut" along switchbacks and any other part of the trails.
A fishing license is require for everyone who plans on fishing; except those under the age of sixteen. Click here for additional details.
Campfires are permitted throughout Jennie Lake Wilderness, however, they encourage you to use existing fire rings.
Dogs are allowed along the trails and inside the wilderness area as well.
This is bear country, so take proper food storage pre-cautions. Hang bear bags or use bear canisters. Click here for additional information about bears.
Jennie Lakes Wilderness became a wilderness area in 1984 under the Wilderness Act of 1964 . As of today, the area consists of 10,289 acres.
According to tarol, during the fall hunting season, you may encounter hunters along the trail and inside the wilderness area. However, most of these hunters generally do not penetrate more then two miles into Jennie Lakes Wilderness.
From Grant Grove :
-Trailheads on Generals Highway: Follow Generals Highway towards lodgepole. Stony Creek Trailhead will be on the left hand side just past Stony Creek Lodge. Continue futher on down down to Lodgepole Campground. Continue fine Lodgpole Campground and the trailhead will be right around that area. Click here for additional information about Lodgpole Campground. As said before, these two trailheads will be accessible in the winter
-Trailheads off of General's Highway. Cotinue down General's Highway and take a left around Montecito Lodge. This is seasonal and has a gate at the entrance and at different sections of the road. This road is called "14S11" by the Sequioa National Forest. Big Meadows Trailhead will be on the rightside of this road with signs marking the exact spot. Continue down furhter and there will be signs for Sunset and Marvin Pass Trailheads. Both of the trails heads require that you take a right off of "14S11" road. These trail heads will also be marked. Click here for additional information about Sequioa National Forest Trailheads.
Sequoia National Forest
Hume Lake Ranger District
35860 E. Kings Canyon Road
Dunlap, Ca 93621
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271
Jennie Lakes Wilderness Area
Sequoia National Forest
1839 South Newcomb St.
Porterville, CA 93257
Jennie Lakes Info
Click here for current conditions of Jennie Lake Wilderness.
Click here to see tarol's trip report.
I am in need of more pictures for this page! If you have any winter pictures or pictures of any of the meadows within Jennie Lakes Wilderness PLEASE post them to this page. Actually, any pictures are needed! Also, if you have any other information not already on this page please tell me and I will be happy to add it.
Thanks and happy hiking!