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Question: has anyone day hiked this? Thoughts?

off road driving
4 days ago

Went up Saturday morning in my 2018 Tacoma off road.
Stock no mods, all weather tires, literally got it two days ago.
Trail was well maintained. We were behind an explorer that couldn’t make it up half way. .
Lots of hikers on the trail.
Definitely a fun trip.
Upper lake was beautiful.

off road driving
4 days ago

Gorgeous lakes. My brother and I drove up to Upper Sardine. People say it’s a gnarly road up, and while Subarus won’t make it up, my mild Toyota made it up without a single scratch. I highly, highly, recommend camping at Upper Sardine... We had it to ourselves and could see the PACKED campsite at Lower Sardine from where we set up camp.

We hiked to Sierra Buttes Lookout from Upper Sardine. What an incredible hike! Highly recommend it!

couple days ago parked off castle valley road and the 80.and hikes in on dirt road to trailhead.tuff start uphill early am start..fantastic views once at and and andesite peak..mix of occasional runners and bikers..continued to sand ridge lake...nice sandstone adjacent to lake for exploring.then ended up doing whole loop after missed turn..so continued to soda springs..last couple miles adjoins private property by lake ..then down dirt road..to reconnect with trail steps..look for wood block as trail signage..then along a private dirt road with a couple cabins..not the best marked trail..but great day hike..

Susan, no wilderness permits are needed for this trail but you need a fire permit if you want to have a fire in an already established ring. You can get those online. We camped along the east shore which requires walking through some brush, but it was way more private, swimming is better off the west shore though. Did this trail about a month ago and plan to go back. Beautiful but the mosquitos were absolutely horrible, like hide in your tent horrible.

Question - Do I need a trail pass to backpack here?

26 days ago

Went early there were a bunch of family’s at the lower lakes but if ya hike up the 4 wheel rd and hang a left around the lake there’s great swimming spots with a good Mt. backdrop.

Great trail and great views. I took about 6 hours, but I like to stop and take lots of pictures! Definitely wish I had hiking poles for this hike since there was a good incline/decline! My Fitbit had me clocked at 7 miles round trip! Not a bad day!!

I’ve hiked this trail almost every year since middle/high school. Absolutely breathtaking views at the top with incredible (and diverse!) scenery along the way.

Great hike, definitely a little work out but amazing views at the top of the fire look out.

One of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever been on! We had a little trouble finding the trailhead as well. You have to go down the PCT for a bit and then the trail will take a sharp left and there is a sign.

This hike is awesome and makes you feel so accomplished but it is a little harder than “moderate”, especially on a hot day. The first half is entirely inclined and not mildly. Make sure to bring a LOT of water and food. You won’t pass any lakes so if you have dogs make sure to pack lots of extra water for them. It is a dog friendly trail though, and my active dog loved it. The view at the lookout is truly spectacular and makes the whole hike worth it. I’d say it took us around 4 hours to complete from the lookout trailhead.

Stellar scenery on the way up and fantastic views at the lookout. Can't wait to do this again.

on Castle Peak Trail

1 month ago

Great hike with amazing views.

Things to know: Take bug spray. You’ll be happy to have it in the first mile or so, before you get into fast elevation grades. Obviously, you need
water, glasses, and suntan lotion. I don’t like poles, but I’d think most people do.

The hike is 3.0-3.1 miles to the top. After the first 1.5 miles it gets much steeper with incline grades of 30-60 percent. Those don’t relent for almost the entire way to the top. At the top you have to do some very minor rock climbing to get to the top. Amazing views and feeling of accomplishment.

For those who are in very good shape it’s probably not that big of a deal. For the weekend warrior it’s a great workout but it’s not going to be easy, but you can do it!

Also, anyone who takes a 4 year old on this trail is irresponsible in my opinion. It’s way too steep to think taking a small child on the last mile
of this trial is a good idea.

Awesome 360 degrees views. Will be back!

1 month ago

trail was good and clear . paradise lake phenomenal like always

Finally did the hike today. Such amazing views and what a workout! All the sweat is paid off when you make it to the tower.

1 month ago

Great trek today. Up and back in four hours. Stopped several times to talk with other hikers.

Amazing hike! Starts off fairly mundane...but then steps it up and is very challenging but worth the pay off at the end!

1 month ago

I was worried that this trail would be too advanced for me, since it was my first ever solo backpacking trip. But it was AWESOME. Like Weston said (in the reviews), the wildflowers were in FULL AND AWESOME bloom. There were lots of people at the lake, which may have just been because of the weekend after 4th of July, but one of the groups was super loud. I'd go during the week if you're going on peak season. Oh, and I went through about an ounce of bug spray. The mosquitoes are there to eat you alive. But the trail was fantastic, the meadows were amazing, the hills were manageable and fun, and overall, it was a trip I would happily take again.
You can still hear the freeway from the 80 most of the way up there, and there are planes overhead. It's hard to dock a star for that because, well, life is life. But I'll be looking for more off-the-beaten-track trails in the future.

1 month ago

Easy short hike. Was a bit confused as to where the hike started so we had to walk up a road for a good while until we found the trailhead. Once we got out to see the lake it was worth it. Saw very few people on the hike which was nice but a lot of people on the beach, but it was Saturday so I didn’t really expect any different. Very pretty views of the lake and creeks nearby.

1 month ago

Great hike into the Donner/Castle Peak high country. Beautiful open meadows and views of Granite Chief to the south.Once up at the saddle between the overlook and Castle Peak you are presented with unspoiled Sierra back country. The view of Frog lake is a nice resting area. On my way back down I noticed a single track moving toward Castle peak and decided to try and link up to the traditional Castle Peak trail via this route. The track was hard to follow once in the forest but did take to the base of the peak. Could not find a solid route to Castle Peak Proper but it added a few more miles and more beautiful views. A+

Awesome completely picturesque hike — tons of scenery and views. I love the start from campground on south side of 80. Frog lake overlook is stunning! (Trail signs don’t say Frog Lake — they say summit and warren). Only ding is noise from 80 as a distant backdrop — but still a solid 5-Star review.

I linked up with Castle Peak. As others have said, the trail across the ridge is not easy to follow starting about halfway (no big deal because there’s the ridge-line and the terrain is easy) — but then it disappears at the big rocky step up to the plateau on which the 3 towers sit. That part is absolutely sketchy and dangerous due to scrabbly rock on steep slopes — and no discernible trail. Worse, several bits look “trail-like” that lead to exposed moves which lead to dead ends — and backtracking those same exposed moves.

I eventually cleared the first bit (30 mins hunting around, contemplating risky moves, considering going back), then climbed down and under the second set of cliffs and then regained the path by scrambling up through a broad chute. Either go with someone who knows this section or be prepared for a challenge.


After that — smooth sailing. Great little climbs up the towers (the east tower is climbable on east face (exposed class 4 for 50 feet). Middle tower easily climbed from the center as you face from the south. Great views, exhilarating drops on the back side.

Hike down is OK - good views but sun-exposed and loose footling at places near the top.

Great hike as advertised. Lots of wild flowers and spectacular views.

Nice and really shaded. Really close to waterfall but can go further.

1 month ago

Easy trail to the base of the mountain, but a bit of a scramble to the summit. Worth it for the views

Great trail with some serious rewarding views all throughout the hike. But really brutal trail. It's a fairly steady steep incline that wears you down. We had to take frequent breaks despite being weekend hikers.

1 month ago

This hike was awesome. Easy enough for a beginner but with some climbing and challenges. The view 3/4 way up is totally worth it, and right now in June there are wild flowers in bloom and green meadows all over! So beautiful. a fair warning, this trail head was hard for me to find as it's not clearly marked; head towards the PCT; then when you are close to the freeway, just before you reach a sudden meadow of beautiful light green brush on the left, instead of continuing onto the trail as it feels like you're meant to, turn left and hop over the little creek that's there, and you'll see the trail that will take you north under the freeway. It took me three passes to even notice it--albeit I'm a noob, I ended up pretty far south on the PCT before realizing I was walking away from summit lake! Doesn't matter as it's all so beautiful, made a lovely and unexpected 8 mile hike instead! Would love to add the glacier meadow loop next time. Also, if hiking after 4 pm, if you are prone to mosquitos take precautions!! *scritch scritch*

off road driving
1 month ago

We actually drove the trail. The beginning of the trail posts a sign that lets you know you can hike, bike or drive it. Really needs to be a 4x4 of sorts. Great drive and outstanding lakes. You start with one lake and then go up to a second lake. Amazing!

Fun and challenging hike! The trailhead is located right off of I-80. Plenty of street parking. I would recommend trekking poles as the downhill descent is steep with loose rocks. Lots of interesting rock formations with spectacular views. Dog friendly!

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