Spaulding Lake Trail

MODERATE 7 reviews
#16 of 117 trails in

Spaulding Lake Trail is a 4.7 mile out and back trail located near Nevada City, CA that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

4.7 miles 570 feet Out & Back

dog friendly




The beginning of the trail follows an old washed out roadbed for a quarter mile before climbing a series of switchbacks. The trail is mostly under deep tree cover along rocky ground. There is a significant climb of approximately 700 feet to the edge of lake Spaulding. In the spring there are substantial wet areas and small streams to ford. About 3 miles in you will need to cross under a large pipeline (penstock). Follow the pipline up the hill approximately 150 feet before continuing on eastward to the lake overlook. Alternately, follow the pipe line south to a small foot bridge that takes you to the overlook near PG& E's small hydeo-electric power plant. Return by the same route.

1 day ago


Beautiful waterfall rushing! Fairly easy hike. The detour made it a little harder to find the trail but we made it to Lake Spaulding! We enjoyed a refreshing swim in the lake with the dog and hiked back! GPS only said 3-ish miles but that could be due to the detour.

16 days ago


great hike. Beautiful meadows, waterfalls and lake. part of the trail is rocky and fairly steep, not difficult but is not a hike I would recommend for families (children).

1 month ago


Beautiful trail and lake. The trail is maintained very well by PG&E. You do have to go under a couple water pipes but other than that its so beautiful. One of the best trails I've hiked. Shaded most of the path, short trail, and not to bad on the ups and downs.

9 months ago


Nice lake!

1 year ago


Spaulding Lake to Fordyce Falls, a lovely trail with good tree coverage and some nice views of Spaulding Lake. It was interesting and sad to see how we transport our water into these man made reservoirs. Once you get past that, being in nature was still a plus. Tahoe National Forest has yet to disappoint me.

3 years ago


Ever wish you can get the solitude of a 20 mile trek in without the mileage? Well that's what this trail offers. Bar none, my favorite local backpacking destination. We've camped here on Memorial Day weekend and still only ran into maybe 3 other backpackers. It is super easy to hike into, only 3.6 miles with a gain of only 600 feet. And the lake is gorgeous with perfect temperatures for swimming, plenty of great fishing and even a freshwater spring to refill canteens. Bring mosquito repellant though because the little buggers are in full force in late summer!

4 years ago


A nice walk along the lake into the Grouse Ridge area, the trail doesn't really go anywhere in particular. You can take it up to Split and Fordyce Falls or continue on to the network of trails further on. In either case it's a good idea to bring a topo map, the trail was fairly hard to follow last time we did it in November. The only real destination you can do in a day is the falls, and in that case make sure to leave early, I'll get a picture if I ever make it there.