Bring the family for this easy hike at Heather Meadows. Two sparkling alpine lakes, an abundance of wildflowers, an impressive mountainous backdrop and a year-round snowfield make this a hike that will please everybody. What's more, this trail gets a fraction of the foot traffic that the trails at Artist Point get in late summer.
Bagley Lakes can be done in a loop, though families with very small children might opt to go out and back. Start at the large parking lot signed for Bagley Lakes and the Wild Goose trails. Just past the trailhead, take a right turn and head down about 60 feet to Lower Bagley Lake at the foot of Mount Herman. At the lake, choose the left fork (signed Bagley Lakes Loop), and hike along the trail that runs along the east side of the lake.
The way is easy for little feet, and children will delight in the wildflowers along the trail. As you reach the upper end of the lake, the source turns into a burbling creek for the next quarter mile as the views of Table Mountain and the cirque below it open up. At Upper Bagley Lake, cross over the creek on an arching stone bridge and walk along its northwest shore. There are places to dip toes into the freezing water or to simply contemplate the majesty of the area.
A good destination for a short outing is the year-round snowfield at the upper part of the lake. To get there requires some sure-footedness around a stone wall. Kids can throw a snowball or two and everyone can admire the braided waterway as it runs down to form the lake. Do make sure that no one plays on top of the snow bridge above the creek; it could break.
To return, go back to the stone bridge. To complete the loop, choose the Chain Lakes trail that runs along the opposite side of Lower Bagley Lake. That way is a bit harder than the trail on the way in, crossing some rocks and seasonal streams - but it is still quite easy for most kids over four. This trail will cross the output of the lake on a little dam. Take a left after the dam and return up to the parking lot.
Camping note: Camping is not allowed along this trail. Trailhead camping is limited to November 15 - May 14 in self-contained vehicles only.