Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Trail

MODERATE 25 reviews
#8 of 70 trails in

Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Trail is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Markleeville, CA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

7.4 miles 1070 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

2 months ago

great hike!!

hiking
2 months ago

Very nice little hike to Emigrant. I did it in the middle of summer and there was a spot of snow I went through but the back of the lake and the mountains behind were covered and beautiful. In high water years there is a creek or 2 to ford.

hiking
2 months ago

Great Hike,
Even packing heavy only took 4 hours out and back. My Garmin shows 8.7 miles.
Nice trail. I"ll try to go back in the winter with Snow shoes

hiking
3 months ago

First time on this trail yesterday. It's wonderful and the 8 miles in and out where worth it. Emigrant Lake did not disappoint with its quiet views. Will definitely put this hike on our list.

3 months ago

First two miles hugs tight to Caples lake then a gradual decent up to Emigrant lake. This hike is rated moderate but really falls closer to easy. No real intense climbing but the gradual climb does go for the last mile or so. Highly recommend for those transitioning from easy to moderate. Make sure to look around from time to time as hidden sights can be hard to see through the trees. Nice and shady! Eight miles of beauty!

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked to Emigrant Lake last Sunday with 2 newbie hiker friends and my husband. We had a blast! We started around 10am in the morning, got to Emigrant lake around 12:30pm. The weather was great and lake water was tolerable for a quick dip. The hike was about 9 miles total.

hiking
4 months ago

Great day hike. The wildflowers were in full bloom. Both lakes are beautiful, but Emigrant lake is a gorgeous icy blue color and the dogs enjoyed swimming there. It wasn't a windy day but the wind was quite fierce up at Emigrant Lake. Note that according to the Forest Service map at the trail head this is actually a 8.6 mile hike round trip. My GPS tracks confirmed this distance. I highly recommend this trail.

hiking
5 months ago

The trail is mostly clear of snow; however, there were a few patches covering the trail in the final mile to Emigrant Lake.

1 year ago

1 year ago

So many different trails to take ... Very nice place to go and explore new lakes. There is one that is called the 4th of July lake.

hiking
1 year ago

It was an okay hike. Lots of shade. Towards the last mile or so, there's a lot of switchbacks..so if you find yourself losing the trail, turn around and see if you missed a switchback. Very easy to miss the first one since the trail seems to continue straight but then the well-beaten path just disappears into brush. Just turn around and you'll see the switchback! Honestly, it was not worth the hike to me. There are better hikes with better views than this one...it was a little boring to be honest. Different tastes for different people though. I'm sure this hike would be very nice if the waterfall and streams actually had water running through.

1 year ago

Aug 2015 - the waterfall and streams were completely dry. Emigrant Lake is a beautiful alpine lake with wonderful views and crisp clear waters. A very nice and easy hike,

camping
1 year ago

This is a beautiful hike! I did the hike in a group of 4 and we stayed overnight at Emigrant Lake - absolutely gorgeous wilderness.

Hiking from Caples took us about 3 hours with stops for water and to the rest our 2 dogs. We left Saturday morning and there were at least 30 other people on the trail, so don't expect a quiet and isolated trail here. The hike is fairly flat for the first 3 miles, then goes up about 850 ft in elevation gain over the last 1.25 miles. Many switchbacks are in place so the ascent is pretty mild. The trail is well worn and easy to see. If you haven't backpacked before, this is a good starter trail - especially if you're concerned about distance.

Emigrant Lake sits in the bottom of a 3-walled canyon with rock all around. The lake was a little low but still had plenty of water. We picked a camp that was pretty private, though there were at least 2 other overnight groups at the lake. The lake is cold - it's snow melt, after all - but that didn't stop us from dipping in to rinse off. Bugs weren't a problem, though it was fairly cold (65/40) and we were told that mosquitos would be thick. We only counted one mosquito bite in our group. At night we gazed at the stars in big, open sky, and it was totally clear.

Overall this a great trip if you're looking for a fast hike and quick overnight stay, but look elsewhere if you want to be totally alone.

hiking
1 year ago

camping
1 year ago

Hike took me 3 hrs with full pack (3-days worth) from dam. I took it slow as I was not used to the altitude and was packing a heavy pack. Though caples lake was fairly calm, Emigrant Lake was extremely windy, so I camped amongst the trees. Awoke at midnight to sounds of a very big rock slide accross the lake. It initially sounded like thunder, but sounds of rocks bashing was inmistakable and fellow campers on the lake confirmed location of the slide on the south wall. Since wind did not let up and i couldnt fly fish, i packed out the next morning. Over all a beautiful lake and moderate hike.

hiking
2 years ago

hiking
2 years ago

hiking
2 years ago

June 21, 2014 - Excellent day hike and a perfect trail for an active dog. Very easy going along Caples Lake and a little effort required from there up to Emigrant. When I say a little, I mean a little. It can feel strenuous at times but the views along the way are well worth the trip and there are plenty of great waterfall and creek spots to stop and rest. Much of this trail is heavily shaded and there was a lot of water which meant one thing... mosquitoes. Make sure to bring something to deter the little buggers. The lake is beautiful and this time of year there is still snow on the mountain walls and along the last parts of the trail. Take some time to climb up to the rocks on the left of the trail as you enter the lake. Picture perfect views of both Emigrant and Caples Lake as well as an endless horizon on a clear day. Haven't camped out there yet but the winds get pretty strong during the day so I would think some warm clothes would help since fires are not allowed. Overall this is a really scenic hike that shows off the beauty of the Sierra Nevadas and the Mokelumne Wilderness perfectly.

hiking
3 years ago

Stayed at campground, which made for great day hike with a picnic. Both lakes are very scenic with beautiful forest and small waterfall between. Only negative, no fish at Emigrant this day.