Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Trail is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Markleeville, California 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.
Directions from Sacramento: Travel east of Highway 50, turn south onto Scenic Byway 49, turn east onto Highway 88. Then turn north off Highway 88 at the Cal Trans Maintenance Station near Caples Lake. Continue for two miles to Schneiders Cow Camp where parking is available. Follow the 4-wheel drive road for 1/2 mile to the trailhead.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
The trail is mostly clear of snow; however, there were a few patches covering the trail in the final mile to Emigrant Lake.
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.
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.
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,
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.
Great hike for a family, lots to see and we spotted deer tracks.
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.