Explore Potential Hikes - 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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new county policy you must have a reservation to park booked in advance. also they charge for the reservations. they pay park rangers to stand out and collect the money.

This was a great hike, it’s super shaded so great for sunny days, easy to find too.

Good hike, definitely challenging! We did a side trail not shown to see the sand stone formation, which was worth it - that trail is marked too! We didn’t do the fir trail portion due to being too tired! On the plus side, it was well shaded and the temperature was perfect for starting the hike at 8am

amazing hike, minimal traffic

Don't be like us - check the weather beforehand so you don't end up hiking here when it's 100° outside

hiking
23 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.

Fantastic hike. I recommend for experienced hikers only.

Falls are closed

28 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!

This trail has many options of different length hikes. They provide paper maps at the trail head to help navigate though the park.

on Hidden Falls Trail

hiking
30 days ago

Trail has many options for all levels of hikers. Many shady portions and great facilities. Make sure to bring plenty of water. The hidden trail leads you to some great overlooks and you can hike down to the trail. Make sure to reserve the day before. $4.00 for half day 6:30am-9:30am / All day $8.00. No cell reception so take screenshots of your confirmation when you reserve. Take a picture of the trail map before you head out.

The walk took us a little over 1 hour. It's rather easy than moderate we think (and we're beginning hikers). The view at the top is not amazing, but overall we liked the hike.

Great for families.

hiking
1 month ago

I went back to hike this trail the second time this summer and there are more wildflowers past Twin Lakes due to snow melt. The small ponds/giant puddles are fully evaporated by now, making is easier to hike. The path up to Island Lakes is difficult to find, but once you see the trail, it's all good from there!

Great hike. Highest place I’ve gotten to in my backyard

Gorgeous trails with views of the river. This is a great hike for a hot day because there are so many places to take a quick dip and cool off.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful! Bring water, bring a flashlight, bring sunscreen. Wonder start through oaks aplenty. Then, up and up and up! Then down, down, and down, to the caves. I didn't bring a flashlight, so I went back up the Balconies Trail. It was pretty hot, but I made. This is a majestic national park. Thank you Senator Boxer and President Obama. One more note, you drive through Monterrey County wine country to get to the park!

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

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacked to Island Lake July 6-8 and loved it. The area is super beautiful and is only a 3-4 mile hike from the trailhead. One day we did a day hike up to Mount Price and get a look at Lake Aloha. Overall a great place for a low mileage backpacking trip! Here is my full report with pics: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/desolation-wilderness-twin-lakes/

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacked in on the 3rd and out on the 5th. Wrights Lake Road is now open again for access, so you don't need to go through Ice House Road. it's a much shorter drive to and from US50 from Wrights Lake Road to the trailhead. The trail is pretty clearly marked, and parts where it wasn't, we went ahead and rebuilt some of the cairns that had appeared to have fallen apart. When you get closer to the lake, there are 2 paths that will take you on either side of the lake. Do not attempt to go around the lake, since there are unstable boulders and no clearly defined path. Instead, go back to the area near the shallow water fall just below the lake, and go in either direction, you should be able to find the trails easily from this point. I brought my ultralight fishing gear and caught a lot of brook trout. Luckily the fishing was good because we had left a few packs of food at home so we were a bit short. There wasn't much in the way of wildlife up there, but we saw some marmots and chipmunks. The wind up there was pretty bad over the few days, but otherwise it was a beautiful, relaxing time at this less populated lake in Desolation Wilderness.

on Island and Twin Lakes

1 month ago

Beware the trail as pictured past Twin Lakes dissolves into a rocky hard scramble and unsafe water crossing trying to get back to Twin Lakes. I wouldn't recommend it for others to follow.

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice and shady hike. Saw several banana slugs and all kinds of birds. Very few people this morning and we got there that at about 10:30am on Sunday. The sandstone deck is a nice photo op. There were some mountain bikers who were quite cautious and respectful. That little portion down to the bottom of Fir trail is awesome. The rest of the hike is easy but sticking with that descent and hike up gives you a great little workout with plenty of time to relax for the remainder of the hike.

Lovely trail, too bad it burned. Hope to go back soon to see how the forest is recovering. We camped at Barlow Flats and it was perfect...

Happy 4th Hike. It was a good trail. Lots of poison oak on either side. Most of the trail is wide but there are areas that are single track. Didn’t see any water fails but did pass over a few very minor streams.

By far my favorite trail this year. I took the Hetherington Loop both ways to get off the fire road a bit. No real waterfalls left, but the creek was still moving a little bit. I stood beside it and it reminded me of the Calm app. Even with the shade, it heats up quickly, so take lots of water and start early. I finished at 11 AM and was sweating pretty good.

I did the loop clockwise as others suggested. Wonderful views as you start ascent. Love getting off the fire road and onto single track. I saw a doe with her two youngsters, turkeys, and lots of lizards. There were some loud talkers and bicyclists early on, but once you get off the main trails, it quiets down a lot.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was absolutely beautiful last Sunday! The granite slabs were well-marked with rock piles to follow until the trail started again on the other side, and if you stray off on accident you can just look for the closest cairn or line of rocks. Bring lots of water and sunscreen as much of the trail is exposed — better yet, bring a water filter and drink from the fresh waterfalls!
As of last Sunday, Wrights Lake Road was open from Highway 50 to the overflow parking lot by the camping area, so there’s an additional 3/4 mile hike from there to the trailhead. The parks crew at the trailhead said the road set to be fully open by this weekend.

Wrights Lake is where this is located. Twin Lakes are very small but nice. Wrights Lake Rd is closed from hwy 50 and has been for a few years now and CalTrans has done nothing to fix it. In order to get there you need to take Ice House Lake Rd off of Hwy 50. Follow it until you see the turn off to the right for Ice House Lake which is 1 mile in from main rd. There is a fork in the road. Go left and follow the signs for Wrights Lake. Approx 10 miles. Make a left onto Wrights Lake rd and go about 2 to 4 miles to Wrights Lake. You can walk around either side of the lake to find Twin Lakes. If you want an awesome hike..go up Rock Bound Pass to PCT..Thats a great hike and can be done in 1 day if in great shape. If not so much take basic overnight gear and camp up there for 1 to 3 days. Sign in at the rangers station there so they know that you are out there in the event of an emergency in the area.

It’s a challenge on a hot day.

hiking
1 month ago

I loved this hike, Hiked in to the waterfall felt pretty easy going and I did it 30 weeks pregnant, just made sure to bring lots of water and brought some snacks. You do have to maneuver down the the swimming hole part but it wasn’t too difficult and the water felt great!! Definitely will do this one again!!

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent hiking area. Trails are marked and easy to navigate. Mines are short but cool. Scenic!

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