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A spectacular 8.5 mile loop trail, generally well shaded, around an alpine lake. Parking is available on Mormon Emigrant Trail for a $5 self-pay day use fee. If you park inside the park (entry is just east of the cut off for Emigrant Trail), the day use fee is $13, but you can get a park / trail map at the entry station. The trail is decently marked at most places. A couple parts of the loop, especially down by the dam, force you onto roads where you’re competing with cars. Lake levels are down a bit, which lets you trim a mile or so off of the full distance at the upstream end of the lake if you stray from the trail a bit and brave some mud flats. We’ll be back: this one’s going on the regular rotation.

this was an easy well maintained trail. Enjoyed lunch while cooling off in one of the many fresh water holes

Excellent hike! More exposure to direct sunshine than I expected on the way up which made for poor visibility. Be sure to have a brimmed hat, sunglasses etc. if you’re climbing on a sunny morning.

Just did this hike today and was nice little hike. Only about 5 miles. Falls was beautiful. No people and free parking. Dirt road driving is rough so take proper vehicle.

The water in the cave is never warm, regardless of the time of year. But very beautiful if you are brave enough to go through. Bring water shoes! This is not a running trail unless you want to bust an ankle.

hiking
27 days ago

The water in the cave was numbingly cold mid-October but me and my 5 yr old still dared to jump in. It was an easy hike and a nice time down in the cave. Very fun, family friendly hike. Take towels and a floating device if you plan to brave the waters.

This was a great hike. We did it in early spring, it rained just a bit the last 1/2 mile and there were snow flurries by the time we got to the car.

The river water was a little bit too cold for us in October but we did watch other people swim through the “cave“ to the other side back.

Whew! Highly recommended!

Awesome surprise at the end. Swimming in a cave!!

no horses. no bikes. dogs on leash.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018: weather was supposed to be cool and possibly rainy- not so. The reviews are correct that it gets hot along the trail, although there was quite a bit of shade. It isn't a hike I'd like to do in the summer months; there are plenty of swimming holes in Northern CA closer to my home. It's more of a walk than a hike anyway as there were only a few uphills, etc. Deer, bear, and maybe cougar tracks seen in the dirt trail. The road in was gravel and washboard but didn't need 4 wheel drive. I was fine in my Fiesta. Did not see anyone else along the trail. 1 hour in, 1 hour out. Overall a fun walk and a lovely day.

Beautiful hike, liked the shade of the trees and being near the water. Has some steep spots but mainly easy trail. Lots of friendly hikers and mountain bikers on trail.

This is a good trail for a light to moderate hike. There are some little inclines to get up that are a bit rocky. abouy two miles in to the cave. The cave is awesome. Very cold water but you can float or swim through. The other side is open and we climbed around to the other side.

Had a great time camping lake side for two days. the second day did the hike to the waterfall and it was not running. kind of a disappointment. but beautiful park and camp grounds!!!!!! the only other thing was all the hornets. made cooking breakfast a bit challenging, but they where all gone by dusk. Would go back for sure.

long, but beautiful.

I was a bit worried from some of the mixed reviews but this turned out to be fantastic! Our group included kids from 4 to teens and everyone loved it! It was fun for the younger kids and the teens thought it was awesome. The trail down is medium easy and going back up is the more intense end of easy. The cave great for all ages. Younger kids and adults who aren't as adventuresome can chill in the outer part of the cave in the cold shallow water. The water isn't swift or dangerous at all, at least not in mid-summer. We took the little ones through the cave on floaties and they loved it. It is also possible to swim without a floatie but really cold. And water shoes are highly recommended as it's very rocky. We will definitely be going back!

horseback riding
2 months ago

This was a beautiful place to ride our horses and there was some shade, wide trails, and access to water at the falls. However, the access road to get in and out was absolutely awful. 5 Miles of loose, bumpy, rattily gravel that at times could only drive 5mph or under. Even had to use 4WD at one point because our truck tires were slipping. Very rough ride on the body, and worrying about the horses, and for that reason we will not go again.

Loved this hike, nice easy walk to the falls. Dogs loved it and enjoyed the shade spots for a few breaks. Would highly recommend

Not a running trail, it’s an ankle breaker if your not careful.

I'm 310 lbs and made it around the lake it not easy

easy trail ...go early enough in the summer to enjoy the water

One of my favorite places EVER!

Great hiking trail!

There was a toilet by the car park, which I didn’t use so can’t vouch for. It’s a really nice and easy hike down to the first cave, and there are plenty of picnic spots on the way down. When you get down, the first thing you see is the cave, which you can cross into in on the stepping stones over the river. When inside, we left our backpack with our clothes and shoes, put on water shoes and inflated our pool rings. At this point, the water is pretty cold so it’s good to bring something to float into the cave on. My partner hated how icy cold the water was and how the cave was sort of scary at first but actually, once we floated through to the other side, agreed it was awesome and actually really fun. So it’s worth persuading people in your party to go through with it!
If we’d planned the logistics ahead of time it might have been good to bring a waterproof bag that could have come with us through the cave, because the other side would have been lovely to chill out on. We floated back through and got really lost as to were the path was supposed to continue, but we muddled our way down the river and found the second cave, which was pretty similar to the first. We got confused about where the path was on the way back, too, so we walked through the river in some parts. Overall, really loved the experience and the river/stream and caves were very magical, but the path itself was hard to follow after the first cave. It was also very quiet when we went, we passed only 4 people (on a Tuesday), and there were only a few instances we found of people’s rubbish so it seems to have improved since other commenters left their reviews!

walking
2 months ago

We are not avid hikers, so it was pretty intense on our unconditioned legs! Rocky but fun points on trail, several picnic tables, and swimming through the cave was the highlight for sure! Our family was age 10, 12, 35, 57, and 63. We all enjoyed it. I wouldn’t take children younger than 10 unless they are very aware and willing to listen to your instructions as several drop off’s were pretty scary. Sweat bees or yellow jackets were all over us especially by the water.

Great trail. Took my 5 year old and he loved it as well. Only 1 or 2 spots where there was a bit of a drop off that I had to keep a close eye on him. Also found a tick on him so highly recommend checking your party when you leave. Caves were awesome though and I can't wait to go back when it's warmer to test the water out.

Hidden gem!

Watch out for yellow jackets when you start the trail.

I’ve done this hike 4 times I love it, highly recommend swimming through the cave it’s breathtaking literally.

loved this hike with my family. my 7 year old daughter complained a lot until she saw the water fall and got to swim. she also swam in the lake and that made up for her complaining. it was fun for the family! you can picnic in the lagoons, lots of boaters came in and picnicked on the shore. the water is beautiful and turquoise for a lake. just loved it!

The hike down and up is an alright trail. a lot of trash... The first cave, you can go left down or right. regardless what route you take you can actually swim through the cave. I suggest water shoes some water tubes! had no Verizon coverage down there.

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