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

4.canyon creek meadows loop 5. green lakes trail 6. five lakes trail 9. heather lake 10. preston falls 11. twin lake trail 12. pinecrest lake loop 13. paradise lake trail 14. four lakes loop 15. table rock trail

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hiking
1 day ago

One of my favorite hikes. Unbeatable views.

Beautiful trail, really not to hard for the amazing view rewards. The road getting to the trail was fairly rough in sections, I wouldn’t have made it (with a Prius) if it was wet or muddy.

Was a nice & easy trail. Me, my husband, kids, & dogs had a nice hike. Will definately have to go back.

Fabulous hike with several types of terrain. Went all the way to the ridge just below Three Fingered Jack for a 7.5 mike trip. Fall weather was in full force. Saw both a calving glacier and a pronghorn sheep. The loop is pretty kid friendly and my little one (10) made it to Cirque Lake without too much trouble.

Beware though he road up has a few sandy spots that you will really want/need a high clearance AWD/4x4 vehicle to cross - especially after in rains.

hiking
2 days ago

Lovey trail. The meadows and view of Three Fingered Jack are stunning.

Great hiking trail with beautiful views. The trail is well marked and taken care of.

100% agree with Asdfasdf. I will add that during that narrow section of the Watchtower, which lasts about 100 ft, I hugged the wall & crouched low. I have vertigo & that section spooked me. Because of the peripheral vision issues & the way the cliff went, I’m not sure I could have done it in reverse, therefore I chose Hump Trail back. (Going in you can focus on the wall to your right & avoid the peripheral differences. Going back, I don’t think you can). I would NEVER take Hump Trail in if I had the choice. It is absolutely brutal in elevation gain/loss.

Amazing hike. Beautiful scenery. Pear lake is definitely the icing on the cake!!!

Some things to know before going.
The $5 fee deposit box can be found at the trailhead NOT on Forest Rd 12.
When you get to the lower canyon, go left to the unmarked trail that says “unmaintained trail”.

Great time of year to hike because of no mosquitos but we didn’t see three fingered jack because it was unfortunately socked in. Still a gorgeous hike. Signs and descriptions don’t quite add up, however.

hiking
6 days ago

Great trail, wonderful views, but it is not a Loop Trail. There is a small loop at the very top of the trail but that doesn’t make it a loop trail. We got a really good workout on this trail.

backpacking
6 days ago

Hiked this as an overnight backpacking trip with my family: two girls, ages 13 and 15, and mid 40s wife. We did so in June and it was exceptionally hot! Once we made it to the falls though we were able to hydrate and cool off in the river. Upside of the temperature may be that we had the place to ourselves. There was plenty of fuel for a campfire at the time and multiple campsites to chose from. Nice trip for beginner backpackers given the distance and elevation change. The trail itself was pretty overgrown in parts and, as others have mentioned, you have to watch out for poison oak.

*very nice hike.
*beautiful scenery, and great fun finding all five lakes.
*at the first lake a mama bear and her cub went for a swim.
*plenty of dog water too.

A very worthwhile sequence of beautiful lakes within granodiorite-rimmed cirques provide a fulfilling day of out-and-back hiking.

9/8/2018 - First, Yes. Watchtower is on a cliff, but the path is wide. If you are afraid of heights, I recommend still doing it. If you are deathly afraid of heights, Hump Trail is in the woods/does not have a cliff. (See below for details)

I day hiked from Wolverton Lot --> up via Watchtower Overpass --> Heather Lake > Emerald > Pear --> backdown via Hump Trail --> Wolverton Lot

Description of hike: The trail head begins at Wolverton Lot where you can park your car right next to the trailhead which is nice. Has a restroom for use. Wolverton to Heather Lake is 4.1 mi basically going up. The route forks at around 2 miles to Watchtower or Hump. They rejoin and you're on the way to Heather Lake. The trees provide shade for majority of the hike. After Watchtower, you are in the sun. If you keep going beyond Heather Lake, it's another 2.1 miles where you descend and ascend another 100 - 200 feet climb up to Pear Lake.

What should you bring?
1) Small day pack
2) Food + Water: I ate a light breakfast, 4 cliff bars, some chocolate, and drank 2 liters of water. If you don't want the weight of water, bring a filter plus one liter of water to get you to the first lake.
3) Sunblock
4) Hat or Sunglasses
5) Swim trunks if you plan to take a dip in the water
6) Fishing rod if you like fishing!

Should you stop at Heather Lake or keep going to Pear?
I say finish the hike and go to Pear Lake. It's a sense of accomplishment. However if you're tired/short on supplies, be aware the hike stays equally difficult all the way to pear lake. Overall, I thought Heather Lake was the best. The water is vibrant and the mountains are a nice backdrop.

Watchtower or Hump?
Do Watchtower at least one way. Yes Watchtower is on a cliff but the views are 200% worth it and a great spot to take a break and take in the view. The path is about 3 people wide. There is one portion where it's about 1.5 people wide, but it's very very short, and nothing scary. Hump trail has nothing special that you won't see just doing the normal hike. I reiterate do Watchtower at least one way.

Time: I am a slow hiker (26 yo with bad knees... ) I entered the path at 8am and returned at 4pm. I spent about 1 hr 30 minutes relaxing/taking pictures at the lakes.

Overall: This hike is beautiful. If you can commit a day to this hike, it is 100% worth it.

hiking
10 days ago

Wow!!! This is an incredible hike! Waterfalls, a creek, the lake and stunning views along the way. I didn’t use trekking poles but saw many who did. Moderate hike. I will definitely hike this trail again. Bring plenty of water.

on Paradise Lake Trail

hiking
11 days ago

Out and back Hike was terrific. Lake is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in the area.

hiking
14 days ago

much easier than we anticipated and the landslide field was easier to navigate than other reviewers suggested. we had our 10-month-old and he was super content, too! great hike to do in about 3.5-4 hours. we’ll definitely be back!

Make sure you follow signs for trailhead and not GPS. You’ll lose 4 miles if you don’t.

trail running
15 days ago

Great trail run. Ran it on Labor Day, and crowds weren’t too bad.

hiking
16 days ago

It’s a little on the tough side with boulder fields to scramble across and narrow over grown trails in sections.
The view at the top though, worth every step!

17 days ago

Easy to navigate and beautiful lakes! Perfect time of year to hike it as well.

hiking
17 days ago

First hike with a group. Was challenging for us newbies. Beautiful views of the lake and surrounding rocks. Was very proud of making it all the way around.

hiking
19 days ago

A great spur off of the PCT. Beautiful! Only a few campers on a Monday. Locals had told me that the lake is packed on the weekends but Its a pretty nice size so that should not be an issue. I recommend a visit. Stay the West side for the AM sun

My husband and I did this amazing trail last Sunday, Aug 25, and only went to the first lake. We started at 9 and reached Heather lake at 12 as we stopped to take so many photos on the way. We took the Watchtower route up and back as the views were spectacular. Heather Lake is beautiful.
It was our first hike and it was incredible. We saw a deer and her two kids crossing the route on the way back.
In my opinion, the Watchtower route is easy, safe and not scary. The hike before Watchtower was moderate. I recommend using sunscreen as the route goes above the tree line. If you're new to hiking like us, I'd recommend a full day rest after the hike. Overall, definitely recommended!

hiking
20 days ago

great hike but lots of poison oak. The trail goes right through knee to chest high poison oak especially on the first 1/3 of the trail. But other than that it was an awesome day hike!!!!

Beautiful day, no clouds, no wind... s o l a c e . . .

hiking
21 days ago

After having lunch at Upper Twin, we made the trek up to George to setup camp. The trail itself is well marked and easy to navigate but it is marked "Hard" for a reason. I don't think there is any part of that trail that is downhill, the best you're going to get is a slight incline. Most of the trail has a steeper grade than anything found on the Twin Lakes, it was certainly a fun challenge. After finding an ideallic spot on the northwestern part of the lake we decided to figure out a way to get up to Kaiser Peak. There is no distinct or marked trail but there are several unofficial trail markers that lead you in the right direction. The last part that takes you to the top of the ridge is a pretty intense climb on loose rocks. While I never felt in danger of falling, the steepness really took it's toll on our leg strength and fitness. The thinner air didn't help either. Coming down was also a challenge as we decided to scramble through bushes and stream beds all the way back to George. It was certainly fun but it's not something I look forward to doing again. When we returned to camp we ate a well deserved meal and watched the full moon rise over the glassy lake. It was a sight I won't soon forget. 10/10 would recommend this hike to anyone who is thinking of doing it.

Fantastic hike. Great balance of beautiful trees, stunning views and amazing lakes to swim in. Highly recommended to make it to Emerald Lake via Watchtower. Just make sure to bring enough water or a filter!

hiking
21 days ago

This was a beautiful hike, and our small dog was able to make it the whole way. The description on this page is accurate, and I would highly recommend this hike to anyone wanting to see Three Fingered Jack. At the time of our hike (8/24/18), the forest fire smoke wasn’t impacting views for the hike too badly. Bugs were not a problem either.

When the hike gets between the upper meadow and the glacial lake, the red path lines on the AllTrails map don’t line up with the trail. However, that section is mostly a scramble over loose rock to the lake anyway.

The route to get there is pretty easy to follow, but sections of FR 1234 have some moderate sand to get through.

hiking
22 days ago

Great hike, lots of places to take breaks along the way. We weren't going fast but reached the lakes in 2.5 hours with one break about half way. Trail is in excellent shape and was lightly travelled on a Friday. Had an excellent lunch on the NE side of the lake. There is NOT a trail all the way around, it looks like there is one but it runs out shortly after it separates from the one that goes on. There is a small trail that is right along the lake on the SE/E side, it is not that easy because of the mud and the climb up to the trail above in gravel(25 feet, using a fallen tree). Overall, will definitely hike it again and throughly enjoyed it!!

hiking
22 days ago

I like this hike as it is dog friendly. Traffic can range from light to heavy so if you’re a solitary hiker, it’s safe (use your own discretion). I easily found 3 of the 5 lakes but had trouble finding the other two. Sunscreen, a hat, and water are a must. I forgot my water bottle at the house and went ahead and did the full hike and was fine, but I don’t recommend it. I would have explored further had I packed it. My dog had a great time swimming in the big lake. Good for hikers of all levels.

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