Chain Lakes Trail is a 14.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Oakhurst, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from April until October.
This is one of my favorite pack trips. The trail is long and steep in places, but that's what makes it so great. There is not much traffic and you'll hardly ever see another soul. So, if you are looking for a trip to get away from it all with amazing scenery and good fishing this is your trail.
Allow yourself a whole day of hiking, at least 5-6 hours, longer if you are traveling with a group. Coming down plan for 4, at a nice easy pace.
This is one of the most picturesque locations I've ever packed to. We camped at the lower lake and made day trips to each of the upper lakes. The top lake is stunning! If you make this trip, be sure to hit all three lakes.
Great weekender trail and overnight !
This is a great hike, a bit hard for myself being a beginner but I made it. There was a storm that rolled through the day before so all the lakes were over flowing. A few streams/rivers to cross with no bridge so getting wet was a must. We under estimated how cold it was going to be at the upper lake and how wet we were going to be. But nothing better than the landscape. Picture perfect.
Super fun back packing trip, we started out from Quartz Mtn. Trail head then entered into Yosemite national park property a fairly moderate hike, we camped at the middle lake, the upper top lake had great brook trout fishing. I really would not call this an Oakhurst trail more like a Yosemite national park trail because a bear canister is required.
We left from the Quartz Mountain trail head, which is a little tougher to get to than Chiquito TH, but worth it. We hiked in on a Friday morning and departed on Sunday. The hike in took us about three hours to get to the middle lake and the return a little over two hours. We were able to snag one of the prime camp sites at the middle lake (north of the trail, and at the south end of the lake). Even though there were fires burning to the northwest and southwest of our position, we had surprisingly little smoke. We did a day hike on Saturday that took us cross country to the ridge overlooking Breeze Lake. The lake was warm enough for a swim and the mosquitoes were surprisingly absent. I got no bites, my son only one. This will definitely be an annual trip for us.
I've done this trial probably 20 times, usually for a couple of days on the way somewhere else, but sometimes just hang there. I'd rate it as a little bit easier than moderate, but that's subjective I guess. I'm planing on going back the week of July 7 to 14 but may switch over to the East Side of Madera Peak and shoot up to Chittenden or Twin Lakes just East of Kaiser Peak, depending on crowds and weather.
Take the Quartz Creek Trailhead. There is one water crossing over depending on the season.
Many great campsites on the north side of the middle lake closer to the upper lake. The upper lake is a little rocky for camping. It's a short hop cross-country North to Breeze Lake as well and, if you're in the mood, you can catch the trial just north of Breeze Lake to Fernandez Pass and cross over to Rutherford and the lakes east of Sing Peak.
Beautiful, short, and to the point. Large trees, vistas, and of course alpine lakes. Elevation gain/loss is minimal, a good hike for families I imagine.
Several excellent dispersed campsites along the lakes which make good base camps. Backpack in, set up and day hike to your hearts content!