dogs on leash
off road driving
The entrance to this hike is super tricky... No one in Yosemite knows about it. Make sure you take Cherry Lake Road. From Yosemite/Hetch Hetchy, you take that all the way down to the trailhead at the bottom of the valley (20 min drive from the Mather Camp). The trailhead is actually called "Stanislaus National Forest Trailhead" and is not correct on Google if you search Preston Falls (but the directions are correct using the AllTrails app/map). When you are ready to head back, you go to the top of the road and turn right at the stop sign to get to Hwy 120. Just print out the map using All Trails before you get there bc there's no reception out there. I've posted a picture of the Trailhead sign so you'll know when you've reached the right place.
Trail itself was great, runs along the river mostly, moderate is accurate. You will have some flies in your face for the first half hour or so which is annoying. We went early October and it was still quite warm but not busy at all. By that time, the falls are supposedly dried up but the trail itself is still beautiful to hike. 40 percent shade, 60 percent in the sun. The trail itself must be more than 8.5 miles out/back bc we reached 4.3 and were definitely not at the end. Maybe it's 9-10 miles total. I'll post a picture as well of the "mini falls". I would suggest stopping there and turning around because after that point we spent 45 minutes walking through low weeds and scratchy branches which scratched up our legs (had shorts on) and was irritating to walk through. After that point, it seemed that not many people continued since the way wasn't very clear (branches weren't cut back).
There are some places to get in the water as well as mini "beaches" with sand!!!
Great for kids and dogs. Fairly quick hike. I think it took us 2-3 hours with plenty of stopping along the way. The lake water is much lower in fall, but even in spring the waterfall on the other side of the lake hasn't been running for the past few years.
Loved it... Beautiful the cave is super cool, floated thru it a few times. We had a Blast! Water was really cold, but it was amazing. Water shoes n a tube are a must. Bring a lunch an kick back and enjoy the wonder view. Be sure to save some energy to hike back up lol
I've hiked out of the Crabtree Trailhead a few times, typically following the Crabtree trail east to Gem, Jewelry and Deer lakes and crossing down to a parallel trail to the south (trailhead at the Pine Valley horse camp) for the return trip, usually camping at Grouse Lake the last night before hiking out. I don't recommend the reverse journey, as there is a pretty long ascent from Grouse lake to the upper Lakes without many water sources.
Deer lake is absolutely stunning.
Mosquitoes can be pretty gnarly early in the summer, though they typically fall off pretty dramatically late in the season.
Also, if taking the lower trail back out to Crabtree (heading west), the "official" trail back has you climb 500ft in less than a mile - there is a much easier (though slightly longer) way back if you keep heading towards the Pine Valley horse hamp.
Barry B. on Lyons Dam
I parked up at Lyons Rd, right by the dam.
Rode south to the bottom then back up to the dam. Then rode across the damn wall and around the dam, approximately 4 miles.
The first part of the ride going south is very easy and on a fire road. Going around the lake there are some ups and downs and rocks as well as smooth fire road. All in all it is an easy to moderate ride.
Total trip was about 15.5 miles, done in approximately 2 1/2 hours at and average speed of 8 mph. The ride is mostly shady and had easy access to the creek and lake.