Explore Fair Oaks Area - 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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It was a great hike. We thought is was more like 9 miles. nice and shady. grant views of cable lake and emigrant lake was awesome. had a lunch at lake then headed back. we felt it was moderate skill.

We only did the first 1.5 and it was very steep. Bring water for you and your pets! No views in that section of the trail.

We started late not really planning on a hike but could not resist and the weather was great. We took our border collie who loved it. The high point of the hike was seeing a bald eagle! We will be back to complete the loop.

hiking
8 days ago

this trail is beautiful and challenging

Very beautiful scenery of the lake and woodsy type of hike. My friends and I hiked counter clock-wise and went up what was known as "Heart Attack Hill" which was notably difficult. Other than that, it's a 9 mile walk on a glorious path!

It is definitely frequented and loved by many: bicyclists, small groups, dogs, and parents with strollers.

Very enjoyable journey. Saw only one couple on the way out from 3d Gate the whole way. The Maine Bar Trail is quite steep and poorly maintained, but that short struggle is the only downside, unless you do the loop counterclockwise and have to go up it. Took the Dead Truck Trail on the way back, which added a bit of a workout before it levels off. Creeks were very pretty, even with low flows. Lots of shade, so would make a nice summertime hike, with stops along the Middle Fork.

mountain biking
12 days ago

I've been riding this trail since 1962

nice views but badly marked
be sure you know where you go

nice relaxing trail. I love going in the fall with the amazing color changes of the trees and salamanders every where.

hiking
15 days ago

Great hike but more like 5.7 miles from parking area. Even longer if you decide to take the detour out and back to Donner Peak from main trail up to Mt. Judah. Beautiful views.

This was an excellent hike from beginning to end. We began at Caples Lake and followed the trail along the lake until it veered up to toward the historic Emigrant Lake. I arrived to this weather worn Lake imagining the Mormon Emigrates hitting this wall of rock. It was fishbowl staring up at the back of Roundtop and Stagecoach across the Lake. We bushwhacked up to the Stagecoach Trail for another beautiful full vista view of both Caples Lake and Emigrant. I imagine the Mormans did the same and continued East to Utah? We on the other hand went West on the trail bushwhacking our way back down this steep terrain guided by the ski structures that eventually lead us the the “Emigrant Road SLCA” . It was breathtaking. The trees marked with these signs leading us back to the Lake for our final two miles back to our vehicle. I will hike this again. But I will bring a fishing pole.

Definitely a moderate to hard hike. Saw a lot of bear droppings some fresher than others so I would definitely recommend not doing this hike on your own. Phone gps map helped to stay on the correct trail. The posted signs can be a little confusing. Overall, beautiful and worth while. Great workout.

fantastic finish..larger lake then I expected..great and peacefull views to be had at lakes...moderate is appropriate rating..can be better marked at beginning..u never know who put cairns up off trail..once you cross railroad tracks be ready for a decent amount of tree root/rocky trail..great for an overnight camping trip..just pick a spot..stoves ok for now..couple good spots around 2nd lake on sandstone for fire pits...shall return next spring

Amazing for a first hike on Mt.Tam! Loved the varied terrain from forest to ocean view. A treat for the kid in you to hike down stairs, to the creek, over bridges and then to climb a 10 rung sturdy ladder. Take your time and enjoy!

Saturday Morning. Started the trail at 7:30am. Hiked counter clockwise. Not to many people initially, it was nice until mile marker 6. OMG! Too many people. Large loud groups, dodging bicyclist, not my cup of tea. Clean facilities tho, and if you don’t mind the crowds you’ll be fine. 3-1/2hrs to hike 8.9 miles. I won’t go back. Many other Bay Area hikes without the noisy talkative weekend walkers.

Beautiful trail with amazing views

I really enjoyed this hike! Ground was level and beautiful views and ran into some salamanders on the trail. Will definitely do it again!

Nice views. Get to walk on some of the ski runs and good views of Sugar Bowl ski area.

backpacking
28 days ago

This is a great hike. Challenging, but worth the trek especially if you intend to camp. Just a couple of things I found would make it more enjoyable. Keep your app open as it is helpful to get you back on track as this one is a tough one to follow in many places. There are cairns the entire trail... thank you to those putting those in place. I wore tennis shoes which was fine, but hiking boots would have been better especially with the rocky terrain that covers most of the trail. If you’re backpacking I recommend trekking poles. This made the trip a lot easier for me just for stability while carrying the weight on the rocks and over boulders and downed trees. Day pack probably not necessary. Camped out at the last lake, had some great picks with fire pits. It was pretty and only a couple of us up there for October. Beautiful night. Had cellphone service the entire way, but could also still hear the highway at the last lake as well.

We are new to hiking and in our 50’s-60, so this is for newbies like us. Loved the views and weather was perfect in October. We actually walked the path counter-clockwise, not knowing how this app really works, and just realized, late, that the path direction is on the app. Heading down the peek of Mt. Judah Trail back to Pacific Crest was slippery and steep, the trail was hard to recognize. Now that I see we should have ascended that way, it makes some sense. We’re learning and love adventure.

Beautiful hike! Quite the workout, but very worth it!

hiking
29 days ago

The first 2 miles could be challenging for people who have knees problems because the trail was steep and could be slippery. We hike relatively slow with our dogs and it took us about 3.5 hours round trip.

Was great hike today. Hardly anyone there. Despite what previous poster said, leashes ARE NOT required this being the national forest. Would be very difficult to hike this trail with dogs on leashes. Difficult for the dogs and difficult for the owners especially if your using hiking poles which btw I recommend. Besides it’s usually the leashes dogs that are aggressive or unsocialized. Or the owners’ anxiety that causes this. Our group had 6 very well behaved trail dogs that are used to hiking. And yes we pick up the poop. Overall good hike, a lot of uphill; thus, a lot downhill.

Great hike!

walking
1 month ago

Very crowded and when I hike I like to get away from people. I’ve lived in Truckee since ‘91 and have never done this trail as I had heard it was too busy. Rocky parts and uphill but not a difficult hike. Beautiful views! 2 hours and 12 minutes to do entire loop.

hiking
1 month ago

*There are some lengthy steep and rocky parts of the trail
*Great workout
*No water sources so bring plenty of water for dogs
*A lot of exposed/unshaded areas of the trail
*Took about 3.5 hours to complete the entire loop with several breaks
*Well signed trail; hard to get lost
*Nice views (lake, summit, trees, etc.)

Hard and long! took about 4-5 hours, very well worth it though beautiful views

It is a difficult trail coming out but the rewards of the swimming holes at the bottom are worth it!
Just take a lot of water with you and I don’t recommend doing in high temps and much of the trail is uncovered.

This is a great trail. It’s easy for beginners and has a beautiful views. It’s dangerous when the temperature is high or cold, but you can look the weather and make a plan. All you need to finish this trail is a lot of water and great spirit.

Great! Especially hitting it just right for wildflowers! Views are magnificent. Good workout.

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