Backpacking Crown Point Loop

What is the Crown Point Loop?

The Crown Point Loop is a ~20 mile hiking trail in the Hoover Wilderness. Easily accessible from Bridgeport, California, this is an awesome overnight backpacking trip.

The Hoover Wilderness is surrounded by some of the most recognizable areas in the Sierras. You have Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest to the South and Emigrant Wilderness and Stanislaus National Forest to the North. With such popular and crowded neighbors, it is amazing that the Hoover Wilderness has remained such a secret. In fact, I would consider the Crown Point Loop to be one of the best off the beaten path backpacking trips in California!

Luckily because of this, it is easy to plan a trip here last minute. Crown Point Loop is probably one of the last places in California where you can get all the big views associated with Yosemite, while experiencing a casual, walk-up permit situation.

camp set up at Crown Lake


The Hoover Wilderness is split between Inyo National Forest and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The Crown Point Loop is in Humboldt-Toiyabe and starts at the Robinson Creek trail.  The trailhead is located at the back of the Twin Lakes Resort Campground. You can park in the campground, but it costs $15.

The closest town is Bridgeport. Bridgeport is a historic, western town on the 395 north of Tioga Road. There are plenty of restaurants, hotels and other amenities within the town. The area is also famous for the many natural hot springs nearby.

Lunch break at barney lake


Because the wilderness is split between two national forests, it can be confusing to know what permits you need. For the Crown Point Loop, this is what you need to know. 

In order to hike the Crown Point Loop, you need to get permits for the Robinson Creek trailhead. You can reserve these up to 6 months in advance on, but if you check the website and don’t see any, don’t fret.

You can get permits by going to the ranger station up to a day before your trip is going to begin. The ranger station closest to the trailhead is just south of Bridgeport on the 395.

The permitting operated on a trailhead quota system, and Robinson Creek has a quota of 30. If you arrive at the ranger station within an hour of opening (8AM), you should have no problem getting a permit the same day, even on a summer weekend.

One great thing about the wilderness permits for this trail is that you are allowed to continue into Yosemite or Inyo National Forest. This gives you a lot of options for extending your trip if you’re feeling adventurous!

Backpacking Crown Point Loop


The Crown Point Loop has arguably some of the best options for camping in the Sierra Nevada. Many of the lakes along the trail have large sandy beaches, which makes for some good, relaxing fun.

The first lake you will pass is Barney Lake. Barney Lake will get really crowded on weekends since it is close enough to the trailhead for day hikers. Barney Lake also has an amazing beach. I think it is probably too close to the trailhead to be a great campsite, but it is a great place to stop for lunch!

If you choose to hike the loop counter-clockwise, the next lake you will hit is Peeler Lake. Peeler is the largest lake that you will pass, but there are also camping restrictions in place. There are still some great campsites in the vicinity of the lake.

Continuing around the loop, you will see signs saying that you are now entering Yosemite. This section of the hike passes lush meadows that Yosemite is known for. When you re-enter Hoover Wilderness you will immediately end up at Snow Lake. Many people think this is the most spectacular lake on the Loop, and it is quite beautiful.

Just a short walk down from Snow Lake, you will arrive at Crown Lake. Crown Lake is another popular option. On top of being beautiful, it also has nice beaches.

Finally, you will pass the Robinson Lakes. These are a handful of smaller lakes that are much brighter in color than the others. This seems like a less popular spot to make camp, but there are a few good spots.

Hoover Wilderness boundary sign

When To Go

The peak season for the Crown Point Loop would be July – September. Since the loop is in the Sierras, in low snow years, you will probably not run into many issues with snow in June, but that will depend on the snowpack.

By late July, everything should definitely be melted out, and the lakes will probably be warm enough to go for a swim.

When you walk through the Loop, you may or may not notice all of the Aspen groves along the trail. In Autumn, these will become a very bright shade of yellow. As such, this is a great autumn backpacking trip.

Since the Hoover Wilderness is relatively far north, the peak foliage will happen usually by the end of September. While you may still have good weather into October, you will probably miss the foliage if you wait that late.

Hiker at Peeler Lake

Tips & Tricks

  • Dogs are allowed in the Hoover Wilderness, but they are not allowed in Yosemite National Park. If you bring your dog on the trail, be conscious of whether or not you have crossed into the park.
  • In the summertime, the trail can get very hot with limited cover. Make sure you have enough water between Barney Lake and the Robinson Lakes.
  • Don’t park alongside the Twin Lakes. The parking lot is monitored and you will get a ticket.

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