Photo of Lake 10315 in Kings Canyon National Park, CA

Fishing at Kings Canyon's Lake 10315

Kings Canyon National Park

Photo of Lake 10315 in Kings Canyon National Park

Early Morning at the Outlet of Lake 10315

Lake 10315 is tucked against the foot of 12,905-foot Mt. Clarence King in a hanging valley, miles from any road or trail, in Kings Canyon National Park. The few anglers who have reached this beautiful lake have backpacked for at least two days, climbing more than 5,000 feet along rugged high Sierra trails. The final two miles are cross-country, up a steep hillside above Woods Creek. This un-named lake is known only by its elevation marked on maps - 10315.

The few who visit Lake 10315 do so as a side-trip from the John Muir Trail, which leads up Woods Creek to the popular Rae Lakes. John Muir Trail hikers are usually more intent on covering the miles ahead of them than diverting up a rocky hillside to an unnamed lake. For anyone camped along Woods Creek with a day to spare, however, Lake 10315 is worth the hour and a half climb. Bring your camera, your fishing rod, your lunch and plan to arrive at sunrise. You'll want to spend the whole day at this pristine mountain lake fishing for rainbow and brook trout.

In My Creel

  • Salmon eggs
  • Panther Martin
  • Super Duper
  • Royal Wulff
  • Yellow Humpy
  • Adams
  • Kings River Caddis

Although I spent most of my time fishing at Lake 10315, I couldn't pass up fishing at many of the places I fished as a youth when I first hiked in this area. I brought along fly fishing gear, a spin casting outfit, and a few hooks with bobbers. Salmon eggs worked well in the pools along Woods Creek. For the lakes all the way up to upper Rae Lake I used flies and lures with great success.

Making Your Way to Lake 10315


The shortest route to Lake 10315 is from the trailhead at Road's End in Cedar Grove, a popular destination for visitors to Kings Canyon National Park. To reach Cedar Grove drive east from Fresno on Highway 180 to Grant Grove and then down the park road to Cedar Grove, about 80 miles.

Photo of the Sphinx along the trail to Paradise Valley, Kings Canyon National Park

Trail to Paradise Valley
The Sphinx in the Distance

Anyone intending to head to Lake 10315 should allow at least 5 or 6 days backpacking in the wilderness. The 18-mile hike involves more than 5000 feet of climbing, best divided into 2 or more days. There are so many other wonderful places to visit in the area, you will not want to limit your fishing to just this one lake. Make it part of an excursion of the Rae Lakes area or even consider doing the famous Rae Lakes Loop. Wilderness permits are required. During the summer you should reserve your permit ahead of time.

The first day begins easy for about three miles and then becomes a strenuous climb on switchbacks leading into Paradise Valley. Three camping areas are designated in the valley. Camping at the Upper Paradise site puts you 9 miles beyond the trailhead.

The second day's trail leads up Woods Creek through Castle Domes Meadow and on to the junction with the John Muir Trail after about 6.5 miles. Across the Woods Creek bridge is a popular Muir Trail camping area. Finding a decent campsite once you leave the trail junction is difficult for the next 3.5 miles. You may want to go all the way to Dollar Lake or Arrowhead Lake where beautiful, lakeside campsites can be found.

Photo of mountainside below Lake 10315

The Climb to Lake 10315 from
Woods Creek

The outlet stream from Lake 10315 is 1.5 miles up Woods Creek's South Fork from the John Muir Trail junction. You can climb up to the lake from either side of the stream. Pick your way up the hillside with care. In a few places you may need to use your hands to help your balance on the rocks, but mostly it is just an uphill hike. Near the top stay on the right (west) side of the outlet creek.

Accommodations and Supplies

In Cedar Grove you will find a small lodge, a counter-service restaurant, store, and visitors center along with several campgrounds. During the summer reservations for lodging or camping are advised. There are no gas stations in Cedar Grove. More accommodations and campgrounds are found back at Grant Grove when you first enter the park and in adjoining Sequoia National Park.

Photo of Lake 10315 in Kings Canyon

Lake 10315

The first backpacking sites are in lower Paradise Valley, 6 miles from the trail. In Paradise Valley you must camp in one of the three designated areas: lower, middle, and upper. There you will find numbered campsites, bear boxes, and even an outdoor toilet at the lower two camping areas.

Beyond Paradise you can camp almost wherever you please (following their rules about being 100 feet from water, etc.). Good sites are found about two miles above Paradise Valley, about a mile above Castle Domes Meadows, at the John Muir Trail Junction, and around all the lakes from Arrowhead Lake to Rae Lakes. Camping is limited to two nights in many of these areas. Campsites can be found along Woods Creek, but they tend to be small and less appealing than other locations.

Fishing supplies can be purchased locally at the following places:

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Photo of Rae Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park

Middle Rae Lake


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