Dinkey Lakes Trail

MODERATE 18 reviews
#4 of 68 trails in

Dinkey Lakes Trail is a 6.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Shaver Lake, CA 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 June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.9 miles 1012 feet Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

backpacking
2 months ago

An awesome 2 night 3 day trip! My girlfriend and I, took my cousin and his wife on their first backpacking outing here. A great backpacking trip for beginners and also for people who love to fish! Over at swede lake every cast I took I came back with a beautiful rainbow.
I suggest going to longer route to the First Dinkey Lake(left) instead of Mystery Lake(right) unless you enjoy doing straight up hill climbs, then be my guest!
Gave 4 stars due to the terrible road getting up there and the darn meat bees! There's thousands of them. But overall once you get there, It's gonna be a good trip!

backpacking
2 months ago

If u can find your way to the trail, which the road can be confusing (which I would have NOT found if part of my hiking party didn't leave flags out) & survive the road, it's well worth the "adventure "! Island lake & Rock Lake is beautiful & the sunsets are breathtaking & peaceful. :)

hiking
4 months ago

People say the road up there is terrible, they aren't lying... It was terrible. But the hike itself was beautiful! Made the trip worth it.

camping
4 months ago

This was the third time that we have packed up here. The scenery is beautiful but the road is awful to get up to the trail head (expect to be on the road for at least an hour and fifteen minutes from he main road). We drove a buddies Jeep Rubicon up there but did see a few cars parked at the trail head (although I don't know how they did it).

My buddy and I took our eight year old sons up for 3 days and they absolutely loved it! Instead of going clockwise we decided to take the Mystery lake way (counter clockwise, which tools about an hour and fourth five minutes to reach the lake). Make sure that you pay close attention to the trail going up that way because without a GPS it gets a little tricky. We set up a base camp at Mystery lake and day hiked (and fished) up to Swede lake. The fishing was pretty good in the lake morning/early afternoon using either mosquito/elk hair caddies and the kids caught a lot of fish using some small Panther martin lures. We usually throw all of the fish back that we catch and that's what we did this time. The trail gets steep up to the the two lakes but the kids did great! My son and I have already started planning our next trip. We would love to come back up but are reconsidering the area based on the road up to the trail head which is stated above is terrible.

fishing
4 months ago

Pretty easy trail...heavily used

4 months ago

up hill some but beautiful

backpacking
4 months ago

The road to get to the trailhead was very bumpy and rocky, even in a 4 wheeled drive truck. The hike in was not too rough if you take the loop clockwise. There are gradual inclines throughout. We hiked to lake swede, the third lake on the trail and set up camp. The view was beautiful. We did a little fishing and had some success. The hike back was pretty much downhill with a stretch of steep decline, which is why I suggest going clockwise on the loop. There are pretty waterfalls along the trail and lots of creaks for water.

hiking
4 months ago

Once you made it to the lakes it was all worth while. It was breathtakingly beautiful, almost surreal! The hike was fun the whole way. We spent the hike back discussing and planning our next trip. To say the ride up to the trail head was "rough" is a huge understatement! It was almost treacherous, however let me preface by saying we were in a small VW Jetta. It is a road that practically requires an SUV or a truck. Somehow we made it up & down with no damage to the car, but we were lucky. Next time we will make the trip in a larger truck.

camping
2 years ago

We completed a overnight trip to Island Lake in late August. The conditions of the road and the trail were quite similar... for the most part pretty good, but where it was rough, it was really rough. We took the trail to First Dinkey Lake and then on up to Island Lake. The last little bit from the Second lake to Island lake is not maintained and pretty rugged. We made the hike in a about 2 1/2 hours. On the way back we took the southern loop past South, Swede and Mystery Lakes. We were very glad that we were going downhill as there are a couple of real good climbs if we were going the other way.

We managed to snag a very nice campsite on the northwest corner of the lake. After setting up camp we explored a little around the lake and up on the northern ridge, where there is a great view of First Dinkey and South Lakes. We didn't encounter a single mosquito, which was fortunate since my son informed me at the trailhead that he forgot the repellent. The only downside to this trip was that, due to the extremely high fire threat, no campfires were allowed. This was a real pity, because our campsite had one of the nicest fire pits that I have encountered in the back country.

camping
2 years ago

Anxious to get back to this place. The 13 miles before the trailhead is slow but we had no problems at all with a 2003 Rav4. We saw sedans at the trail head but I'm sure they scraped a few times. We took the trail to Mystery Lake at the fork being that we came to this place to catch the variety of trout. Mystery lake is only about 2 miles from the trailhead and there's about a quarter mile of switchbacks right before you get to the lake. We had no luck at Mystery Lake after a couple hours so we continued on to Swede Lake where we set up camp on the SE corner of the lake near the cliffs. After setting up camp we trailblazed to Rainbow Lake and had no luck there either but was a pretty lake. That evening we fished Swede and caught a few on Panther Martins and Rooster Tails. The next day we hiked to Island Lake which is right below Three Sisters and was absolutely gorgeous. We caught 2 pure bred golden trout on the same lures which is arguably the rarest fish in the world. On the way back to Swede Lake we stopped at South Lake where we caught some brookies that were beautiful! Also caught a hybrid rainbow/golden which come down the waterfall from Island Lake. The rumor is true!!!!!! Overall great trip other than it raining the whole hike back to the car! JUST DO IT :)

hiking
2 years ago

The road is rough but very worth the trip. The hike is easy and packed with scenery including natural waterfalls, meadows, and high peaks. The mosquito are vicious at the lakes, make sure you have repellant and use it often. In only an hour of fishing at First Dinkey Lake we caught and released numerous brook and rainbow trout, best fishing activity I've ever witnessed.

hiking
2 years ago

What a great little backpack trip! My wife and I did this in September as a backpack trip. The hike to the lakes is strictly moderate. We had the entire cliff lake to ourselves the first night and with one neighbor the second. The day hiking is just wonderul with Dogtooth Peak on one side and the Three Sisters on the other. We spent the next day wandering around all the lakes which are beautiful and very different based on their elevation.

We brought our little Chica (see photos). We'll do this one again with friends and even young kids. (Oh, we had no mosquito problems in September, but we did see some yellowjackets at the lower elevations before we started hiking. Them's the breaks when in the sierras in the fall.

hiking
3 years ago

This trail is a fun trail. It's a good starter trail for some one that has never been backpacking. You can do the loop in a day hike but to really enjoy and take in the views staying over night is recommended. The fishing at all the lakes isn't bad. The fish are truly awesome. The colors on the fish are the kind you see in a magazines.
I started the trail from the cliff lake side. The drive in was not bad it can be done in a car without issues. As for the trail it self it is really clean and easy to follow. The Mosquitos where not a issue at all ( but it was the first week of October so it was a little cooler then normal.)

hiking
3 years ago

Steady easy climb. There are mosquitos, both wife and i carried children, but we in pretty good shape. the lakes look great. Worth the climb. Wish i could just camp out right there. The road there is rough. Need something lifted.

hiking
3 years ago

Saying the road there is "rough" is an understatement, but it is doable preferably in a truck. However, after a slooooow 13 miles of something that looks like a road maybe we did see a Hyundai in the parking lot so cars can do it too. Slowly.
The trail is clearly marked and if it does get confusing looking for small piles of stacked rocks or "i's" carved into trees makes keeping on track much easier (we learned that a bit late but we still made it).
We did the basic loop (7.5 miles) starting with First Dinkey Lake, good spot for a lunch break, then to South Lake, Swede Lake, and ending with Mystery Lake. All were beautiful natural lakes and Swede Lake had a huge waterfall cascading in down a granite face.
The trail can be done as a day hike, but there is so many little off shoots that are super tempting over night camping would be awesome as well to see it all.
When you get to the trail junction go to First Dinkey first as it is a gradual climb to the lake and then down hill from there. From Mystery Lake to the trail junction there are a lot of switchbacks that would be rough if you are starting there and hoping to make the whole loop in a day.
All in all this was a beautiful High Sierra hike that is worth taking!

fishing
4 years ago

Camped at trailhead and did day hikes to mystery lake to fish. Great views and fishing. Long drive into trailhead from pavement.

hiking
4 years ago

Really a great day hike. A lot of people camp over and fish, but I prefer a soft bed and a shower. I recommend heading toward Dinkey Lake first and ending with Mystery Lake. You will have less uphill and more downhill as you end your hike. Take plenty of mosquito repellent (the good stuff). Depending on the time of year and the amount of rain you will be attacked! The 12 miles between Dinkey Creek Road and the trailhead is ROUGH! It takes a good 45 minutes to cover that portion of the ride.

hiking
5 years ago

Love this trail! Longer than 6 hours if you travel northbound . The lakes are perfectly spaced out for resting