Explore day - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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mountain biking
17 hours ago

This was a great trail, well maintained with lots of berms and table jumps. You can pedal up on a good road which makes the climb very manageable. I would highly recommend this trail.

hiking
1 day ago

Popular trail with lots of hikers on the weekend. Beautiful views and pristine lakes that are well worth the climb.

amazing hike, minimal traffic

Great hike, fantastic views and very few other people!

Great trail, easy and able to navigate. Will do it again!

7 days ago

Can be moderate for some due to altitude and heat, but so so so worth it. Amazing woodsy beginning and then a drop down to beautiful pools and falls.

trail running
9 days ago

It's nice out there the scenery and everything, I was able find two of the lakes. Had to use my phone to find the others since you can see it on the map. I didn't bother at first and I got side tracked which let me down the trail to PCT. It's another nice trail but had to back tracked since I wanted to view all the lakes.

hiking
9 days ago

Very doable and fun for all ages! I recommend going onto the mountain top off to the side of the back lake, gives for a great view of Alpine Meadows on a clear day!

What a great trail. It starts off with a bit of a steep incline but if you can hang in there it is well worth it. When you get to a grouping of rocks on the right (I think about 1.5 miles in you will want to take a little path off the the left. It takes you to Monkey Rock and some of the best views of Lake Tahoe. My husband and I are over 60 wand managed it well but you definitely want to be in decent shape

Awesome hike. Moderate (most elevation climb is in first half) and once you get to the lakes, so many options to explore other trails (PCT). We went at 7am on a Sunday morning and didn’t see a soul till we hit the lakes, where we saw 2 tents and a hammock camper. No mosquitos at all and we sat in the water for a good 30 minutes. Biggest lake is definitely the only one you could feasibly swim in - the others are very stagnant, shallow and murky. We continued on to join up with the PCT for a bit and then came back to get more mileage in. On the way back down, it was about 11am when we started the descent, the trail was PACKED with people coming up. Definitely don’t plan to start this hike after 9am I would say if you enjoy your space and solitude. Most of the people coming up were city slickers/tourists.

Easy stroke to the best kept secret in Tahoe!!

hiking
15 days ago

Nice out and back with beautiful scenery along the way. The majority of the trail is exposed so bring a hat, wear your sunblock and be mindful of the sun/heat during summer. The large lake is a great place to find shade, enjoy a lunch, and go for a swim. Heavily trafficked and well marked trail.

hiking
16 days ago

Nice mix of terrain but not much shade and can get hot, lakes and creek are nice place to cool off. On my trip to Island Lake we didn't see a lot of places to easily relax by the lake but we didn't explore all around the lake either. As others have stated, picking up the trail on the granite sections may be more difficult for newer hikers.

backpacking
16 days ago

Great hike for new backpackers. It was my 10yr old daughters 1st backpacking trip. Two other dads and their 11 & 9yr old sons with us. We stayed two nights at Five lakes. Great hike to get exposure to climbing with a pack, but not a long hike in. Camping sites are a bit hard to find with the 600ft limitation from the lake, but we found a great little spot. There aren't any fish in the lake, but kids had a great time casting, swimming, and jumping off rocks. We did a great out and back day hike up to the top of ridge overlooking Alpine Meadows, and Five Lakes (using the PCT trail heading south). Easy hike for the kids, gradual climb but nothing too steep. Great view, and good conversations with some PCT hikers. The lakes are busy during the day, but super quiet at night.

16 days ago

Great trail! Steep rocky climb to top but worth it for the beautiful lake (the big one). Lots of open trail with sun exposure so bring sunscreen and a hat. We ate lunch and then swam before hiking back down. It was a Sunday so quite crowded but not bothersome since everyone is so friendly. We had an easy time parking despite lots of cars already there.

Fantastic hike. I recommend for experienced hikers only.

An easy hike that is different. I did the hike on a hot day so the cool temp in the tunnels was a welcome relief. Views of Donner and surrounding areas are spectacular!

hiking
18 days ago

What a great hike we had. the first two miles are basically uphill and get your elevation gain out of the way right off the bat. I only logged a 1100 ft change on two different programs so not sure about that 1500 ft. so anyway the top of the trail is nice and flat and comes out at the lakes. We looped around all the lakes which made it a nice 5 mile round trip. Trail was pretty busy. I would do this again. Beautiful lakes that you could actually swim in. Saw a lot of dogs on the trail.

hiking
18 days ago

Walked this trail on 7/22. Pros: probably great for kids, easily accessible from where we stayed, and had some small pools of water to put our feet in towards the end. Cons: very little to see along the way, broken glass along the path, and the waterfall was just barely flowing.

This trail has become one of our favorite trails in the El Dorado/ Tahoe area. The views from the Hemlock and Smith Lake are amazing (there was even some snow on the northeast side of the lake, where the granite wall prevents the sun from reaching).
The full trail (back and forth) is 9.8 miles instead of 5.5 miles as originally reported (we had a tracking device that recorded the distance and altitude gain; and if you check the full map here and add the distances, you'll see that it's close to 5 miles one-way).
As mentioned before, the trail is well-visible until a certain point (up to where it splits with the Twin Lakes 16E12); from that point on, it's essential to have some guidance (the AllTrails map works great), keep an eyes on the stacked rocks too.
On our way back, we saw some commotion due to someone getting lost (there are too many splits) and the Rangers and El Dorado Police had to be called (when we got back to the parking lot, we heard that they had found the guy).

If you are going on a weekend, chances are that the parking lot by the trailhead will be full. Don't park by the cabins or by the road or you will get a ticket. Park at one of the two Wrights Lake parking lots.

hiking
19 days ago

This trail has amazing views of Lake Tahoe! It is a workout with the steep inclines going up but quick and easy going back down! Family and dog friendly. Quick hike / walk unless you stop and read all the signs with historical info about the lake or just sit and enjoy the view. Definitely a must! The trail head is marked with a green gate, parking is on the road next to it. There is a bathroom at top.

hiking
19 days ago

Great view of the lakes along the interpretive loop.

hiking
21 days ago

Awesome views!

21 days ago

This was a really beautiful hike but I thought the trail could have been market better. We somehow veered left somewhere on the tail and ended up very lost and had to climb up a lot of rocks to get back to the trail. If you don’t get lost, this trail is great and the lake at the top is very refreshing on a warm day!

Awesome hike. Saw helicopter dropping water on nearby fire

Great hike! Beautiful scenery. The climb is strenuous but not hard. Our older Golden Retriever would not have been able to handle this hike. We didn’t see any dogs and we saw only a few kids on the trail. Bring a towel and maybe swimming gear - the lake at the end of the trail was gorgeous and looked really inviting.

hiking
21 days ago

That first .5 miles is a B*+%# to get up, but it’s not too terrible after that. Still a steep hike. A good portion is without shade so come with sunscreen, plenty of water, and maybe something with electrolytes. It’s mildly difficult, but totally worth the climb. The lakes are a nice temperature and so pretty!

I hike with my border collie and he was out like a light afterwards! And we only reached the first lake before we had to turn around and hike back. I highly recommend this hike for people looking for a challenge with an amazing reward at the top.

I probably should have said this first, but there are no bathrooms at the start of the trail. Use the gas station off the main road before the hike to be sure you won’t have an emergency midway through.

Definitely a difficult hike, not suitable for kids. Lots of poison oak along side most of the trail so be wary. Gets really rocky at some points and has a really steep point near the end. Saw wildlife along the way which was nice. The path gets very narrow at some points which makes no room for side by side. Overall a tiring hike.

Beautiful lake and an easy uphill hike. The lake rents paddle boards and boats. Great place to cool off and swim.

Quick easy walk, moderate climb to beautiful lake views. Fun markers describing history of area on loop.

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