Explore Nevada City - 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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I love this trail! I've hit it in skis, snowshoes, and hiking boots. Good times all around.

This is my second time hiking this trail. This place is quickly becoming overcrowded and abused. Lots of toilet paper and human waste at Penner lake. Disappointing to see so many careless hikers and campers there.

I will not be coming back here. Trash, left over garbage in the shore of the lake, it’s sad.

The ascent up Sand Ridge Trail can be difficult, but beautiful views from the top. Beautiful and not heavily trafficked.

Easy and gorgeous trail

amazing hike, minimal traffic

Great 4 day hike. Late start camp at Island Lake, 5 Lakes via Sand Ridge, Glacier Lake, Round Lake, out. 5 adults, 2 kids. Meteors.

Kicked my butt trail. Nice elevation change. Wish the smoke wasn’t there right now. A lot of the normal views were not visible but the hike was a lot of fun and I’m so glad that people have kept the trail so clean.

on Purdon Crossing

hiking
12 days ago

Very pretty trail along the river. Feels incredibly remote, not much traffic. Great picnic spot at the end of the trail at the river.

hiking
12 days ago

Our group of 3 was looking for a "hard" and adventurous day hike, and we were more than pleased with what Warren Lake had to offer. From the I-80 rest stop to Warren Lake was just under 7 miles, making it an almost 14 mile hike. The last mile before coming down to the lake was pretty steep and by far the most challenging part of the hike because you knew you had to make that same trek back up out of the lake on the way back. It took us a total of 7 hours including a 45 minute stop at Lake Warren. If you're looking for an awesome and challenging day hike with some steep climbs, I highly recommend the Warren Lake trail. And if you haven't upgraded your AllTrails app to the "pro" version, I definitely suggest you do so. AllTrails is a lifesaver!

Great trail! Smokey from the fires but still pretty! We will be back to backpack in and stay a night. Easy trail too!

Super nice and diversified trail! We did it as a half day hike (a little bit under two hours to the highest lake). In my opinion more a MODERATE then a hard hike (there for sure is a rocky section tho). The first 0.5 mile of the trail is a little tricky to follow, I was glad I brought my phone for GPS. Bring your dog and plan on taking a dip in the lake(s)!

I agree that it is a hard hike, especially coming back down. If you have a knee issue, use poles to soften the impact on the rocks, tree roots and just altogether steep and rugged trail terrain. The lakes are worth all the hard work to reach them. Middle Loch Leven is about 6 miles RT, but don’t get fooled by the shorter mileage. It’s still tough go. I have thought to make it a shuttle by putting a car at the Salmon Lake TH & hiking out by way of Salmon Lake & in at the Loch Leven TH. This would make hiking out less strenuous on folks with knee problems like I have.

Echoing other reviews, the road in is a bit rough but the trail is great and moderately challenging in difficulty. We had great views that were hindered by the smoke from all the fires. I definitely concur with the earlier reviewer’s recommendation to return via the windswept Sand Ridge trail. It gives you great views all around.

This trail kicked my butt! Thankfully I went with a group who knew the trail, otherwise I never would have been able to stay on track. There are portions where you’re climbing/hiking over big slabs of rock and I still have no idea how they knew which way to go. I’d definitely recommend having this mapped out before losing service (although my phone worked the whole time). The views were beautiful at the top, but this is definitely strenuous; it was uphill the entire way. My group hiked up to the second lake because it wasn’t much further and it was worth it. We stopped there and had lunch, got in the lake, and then went back. Be prepared to work hard and bring lots of water because you’ll need it! The way down was a little rough too just because it’s very steep and my poor knees felt the impact the next day. Overall- great workout and beautiful lakes.

backpacking
19 days ago

Warren lake is beautiful. We camped there one night and had a great time. However, as another user previously mentioned, the “trail” between Warren lake and Paradise lake does not exist. It’s a steep, rocky area with lots of brush, very unsafe. The trail that comes down to Warren lake is really steep and difficult but doable. I’d leave the dogs at home though, my Golden’s paws got torn up really badly.

mountain biking
21 days ago

Do not attempt on a mtb. I couldn't find any info saying it's not allowed. You'll find yourself carrying your mtb 80% of the time and that's from RR tracks and down. Was not fun.

backpacking
21 days ago

This trail was great. Signage was lacking in some spots, so have a reliable GPS on hand (Gaia GPS). Beautiful views and sawmill lake was a great spot to camp. This was my first backpacking trip (day one of three was on this trail) and moderate is accurate in my opinion as someone who cycles/runs/hikes 5/6 days per week. We were on this trail on a Weds and didn’t see a soul. It was amazing!

backpacking
22 days ago

This was not the initial trip we were going to take but I am stoked we did... It is gorgeous!!! Like amazingly beautiful - worth the agonizing trek we had. If you are one of the few trail runners we saw out here Kudos to you!! We thought it was crazy they were running out here and they thought we were crazy for packing in all our crap! Lol. We may have been a little pack heavy. The trail is a little non-apparent at times but the end is well worth it. There was more traffic than we anticipated. Our hike in took two days because the altitude, although not crazy, had some effects on the other person in our group of two. We camped a little bit after the first accent then woke up and finished up the trek to the lake. After camp was set up I headed to the lake which was pretty much ours and one other group of two. It was a great backpacking/camping trip (4days 3nights). We hiked in with 35+lbs, next time packing lighter - but there will be a next time!

backpacking
22 days ago

If you park at the castle peak trailhead you can do the full 17.2 mile loop from the Warren Lake trail to the PCT. This is a backpacking trip not a day hike. There's plenty of water right now but in a couple weeks a lot of the small creeks will dry up. Be sure to bring plenty of water and to fill up when you can cuz you will be sweating.
-John

backpacking
23 days ago

Warren Lake is a substantial hike, well worth the effort. The first few miles have a fair amount of foot traffic, even occasional bikes, up to the Frog Lake over look. Take a break and enjoy the view. After this, there is very little traffic all the way to Warren Lake. The final mile into Warren Lake is pretty steep and slow going. The lake itself is so isolated and so beautiful. We found a small sand beach on the north-north west side of the lake and went swimming a while. We had the lake to ourselves for a good 24 hours. On the way out, we met a couple who was coming in- they told me that they were planning to hike over the ridge on the west to Paradise Valley. It should be doable, but I don't believe there's an existing trail.

hiking
24 days ago

AllTrails directions take you to the rest stop on I-80 as the trailhead. It's signed as 4 hour parking only, it doesn't seem likely they keep close track of it but if that worries you the PCT trailhead is only about a mile away with an unlimited lot. From the rest area the trail starts to the right of the building.

In late July there are still wildflowers, and good water for almost the duration of the hike, which was needed as I went through ~6L on a hot day. The snowpack looked nearly gone, so not sure how long all those streams will keep running.

This is a tough hike for 1 day - I'm sure it can be done in 5.5 hours as someone commented below, but this is a hard trail to maintain 3mph on the whole way. The 4 climbs are pretty significant, and the downhill is loose in a lot of places.

backpacking
25 days ago

Took my kids up to the middle lake for two nights. The lake was beautiful and perfect for swimming with some great jumping rocks. Trail was rocky and steep at times. Did it in running shoes and regretted not having hiking boots. We were tired so decided not to head up to the upper lake, also heard it was pretty crowded up there. The lakes were beautiful but the rocky trail was tough on the feet. Would do it again!

backpacking
26 days ago

great spot. great lakes. great swim. great hike. great view. cows.

backpacking
29 days ago

Up hill to lake..lake seemed to be dead ( no fish) pretty but better hikes

1 month ago

I don’t see how you can do better than this hike. You have multiple lakes, forests, stunning views, rocks of different colors and types, flowers, butterflies. And all in six miles with only moderate climbing. Highly recommended. The road to Carr Lake is challenging but our Ford Cmax made it - we just stopped a few hundred feet before the parking lot when the bumps got a bit more than we could handle.

Great hike, but hot this weekend (Mid July). Bring lots of water. Plan to swim or bring a float to enjoy the beautiful lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful high Sierra hike.

Still one of my favorites!! Tried some new trails this year and finally got back to this one for the first time this season! It's perfect for all fitness levels. I usually run it and feel safe doing so. The bikers are courteous and usually make their presence known! It is pretty much all brown now, but still lovely. Half sun and half shade. Some poison oak, but the trail is clean, clear and well marked!

Amazing trail. Highly recommended for those looking to build speed and gives amazing scenic views.

Our second trip to Penner lake. The road is still pretty rough getting to the trail head but it's worth it! We had a great trip, although it seems like it's becoming more and more of a party spot. 1998's Eve 6 blasting through a stereo at 1AM seems to be kind of missing the point of the place.

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