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

Stanislaus Explorations Map

Love that this trail has different routes, flat & hilly!!

we only made it to Camp Lake but it was great!

Good place to take your little ones for a hike and camping trip. It’s gets very packed with people on the weekends!

1 month ago

This hike was gorgeous. I will say if you plan on just hiking to Disaster Creek and then heading back, then this if a relatively easier hike. However, you will need to be prepared with sunscreen and plenty of bug spray.

If you plan on doing the entire loop, this is not advised for beginning hikers or backpackers as this does require some off trail and very good preparation. Do not bring anything you absolutely do not need. This hike is totally worth it and I would recommend doing it over a 3 day period so you are not pushing yourself too hard any one day. This is important to consider as the altitude gets to you very quickly.

Quick tips:
1. Bring shoes you don't mind getting muddy
2. Bring strong bug spray
3. Start at disaster creek and end at Boulder Lake
4. Pack smart

Have fun!

Did this as an overnight backpacking trip with 8 in mid September 2017. Perfect hike for some first time backpackers that were on the trip. The trail is well marked and there are plenty of scenic spots to stop. We started around noon and made it to camp leisurely far before sunset. The southeast side of Bear Lake was pretty crowded since we started late. We continued clockwise off trail to the northeast side of the lake and were able to find a nice, secluded spot to camp.

Spent the Friday night before an Pinecrest campground, a great campground 30-40min drive from the trailhead.

Nice trail and puppy friendly. Only downfall was the difficulty in finding the entry to trail.

1 month ago

This hike is gorgeous, but the reviews and distance on here are a tad misleading. We started at the trailhead parking lot which is 1/4 mile from the general store. From the general store it is around 1.5 miles to the actual trailhead past the campground. From the trailhead it is around 7.5 miles to Kennedy Lake. Round trip to the lake from the trailhead parking lot was a little over 18 miles.
As far as terrain, around mile 2 there is some steep hiking (not too bad) but after that it levels out. It is mostly sand you’re walking on past that point due to the horses breaking down the trail. The last few miles are through meadows so there is some wetland you’re walking through. As you approach the old log cabin the trail forks; I recommend going left if you’re going to the lake and not the camp area. The trail is a little dryer and easier to follow to the lake. If you’re setting up camp then go right and you’ll see all the tents (you must cross the creek to get to camp, but you do not have to if you’re going to the lake). Also, there isn’t much shade next to the lake unless you walk around the the far side.
All in all a gorgeous hike, but it’s quite a long hike for just a day. Recommend bringing a filter for the water, it’s nice and cold and refreshing! Would be a beautiful place to camp and spend the weekend, can’t beat the views!

Nice trail, went yesterday around noon with a 12, 11, and 7 year old and it wasn’t too crowded with people. Lots of fishermen at the start. There was a lot of animal scat on the trail. Not sure what kind of animal, but lots of big piles of poop. Kids didn’t get tired until 2/3rds done so it was the perfect length and downhill walk almost all the way back.

Water views were gorgeous. I really recommend bringing a picnic lunch and leaving it in a cooler in your car. When you finish hiking, there’s some nice spots right off the side of the river where you can set up a little picnic.

1 month ago

Went here a lot in my teens, it was always a very easy hike! I was a leader in training @ Camp Jack Hazard, we got to explore many of these lakes near Dardanelle. I'm excited being back after many years away & can bring my own kid now!

Great gradual trail. Downhill start.

easy trail to bear lake, great trip for dogs! Campsites were pretty filled up by saturday, so i’d suggest leaving early friday morning.

1 month ago

This is rated as extremely difficult, and let me tell you- they ain’t lying. This is basically a challenge of man vs God. The majority of the loop is an uphill leg rape and the downhill part offers so little shade even my Mexican friend turned red. However, the trip was good, mostly cause of the company I was around. We met some PCT hikers which was-interesting- to say the least. There’s a beautiful lake next to the most perfect shaded camping spot around the 12 mile mark next to a gorgeous open green field that b**** a** Jerm didn’t want us to camp at. There are also some other nice spots to stop and pitch a tent at, if you know what I mean. Bring plenty of water or make sure the guy with the purifying pump doesn’t have bionic legs and treating this hike like a race to find the cure for cancer. Overall, between the blisters on my feet, the constant leg cramps and the overall feeling of misery- I had enough of this trail by the time I made it back to the truck. Would recommend you do this ONCE and pick bowling as your next outing.

1 month ago

I tried hiking this trail yesterday, however, the dirt road leading to this trail was closed. I ended up hiking the dirt road, which consisted of a steady incline, nothing unbearable. You cross several camping areas and streams. The mountain which is either the Dardanelles or adjacent to was burned and there are a lot of dead trees which I assume is why the dirt road was closed. I’m hoping the road opens sometime soon because I’d really like to hike it.

2 months ago

Nice and safe trail. Well marked and beautiful. It was a great way to spend a couple of hours on a gorgous day.

My family and I liked this trail felt safe and peaceful. Will come back to reach the top, we arrived a bit late.

Just went this past weekend with my 9 year old. We had a great time and would definitely come back again. Day 1: Crabtree TH to Bear Lake, Day 2: Bear Lake to Granite Lake, Day 3: Granite Lack back down to Crabtree TH

Took my 3 pre teens on this hike from Thursday to Saturday. We stayed at the mostly empty campground at trailhead on Thursday night. I recommend filling your bottles up at the bridge, cuz there aren’t any clean water sources after it. It’s 3.5 miles of predominantly uphill, and I could tell that was all the kids could do. Bear
Lake is loaded with fish, and my boys had fun casting lures. Dry wood is limited at Bear Lake, so you got to hike for it. I recommend avoiding the weekend, since there were tons of people heading in, when we were heading out. A great hike that we will surely do again in a few years.

Beautiful hike. We did it on a Sunday and most folks were backpackers heading back to their cars. It was very hot on the way back.

2 months ago

I returned to this trail on 5/11-5/12, during that time it was cold and very windy we only made it to Camp Lake, i still love this trail seeing as it is only about an hour and 30 from my house.

Just did a day hike to bear lake with my 70 year father. It is a relatively easy trail with some elevation gains. We reached the lake in about 1.5 hours. We are planning on doing some longer over night hikes on Crabtree.

Amazing place. Camped at Camp lake Friday night (rolling fog, mostly wet) and then went on to Bear Lake. There are more to see to this wilderness and can’t wait to explore more.

Day hiked from Crabtree Trailhead to Bear Lake and back on Memorial Day. Not surprisingly, there were lots of people on the trail the whole way. Great hike though. Unlike what a previous poster said, there were no mosquitoes. Not a single one. Trail was a bit muddy and mushy in places but not bad, and none of the small stream crossings were difficult.

Great trail to take the kids on! Fairly easy to follow and has some benches along the way if you need a rest.

2 months ago

Awesome trail! Went for an overnight backpacking trip a week ago. Towards Bear Lake the trail was covered with the fallen trees and melted snow from winter and was a little bit hard to follow but wasn’t hard to maneuver around it. Some elevation gain but not difficult. Beautiful views along the trail, and a small river along most of the hike. There are a lot of good spots to camp along the lake with some fire pits. We had some hail and rain for a few hours once we set up camp but it passed through. Definitely a great overnight spot to camp!

Super easy hike with the kids!

2 months ago

Bring lots of insect repellant, the mosquitoes are ruthless and have carried off small pets

It was a really peaceful and enjoyable walk. The path is nice and wide and the scenery is beautiful. Getting to the actual path was confusing at first but some locals were kind and pointed us in the right direction. The only reason we gave it 3 stars and not more is because my girls didn’t think it was an adventurous hike, more of a walking path. But it does get you outside and a day outside is not a day wasted!

on Dragoon Gulch Trail

3 months ago

Fast and beautiful.

great hike. lots of up hill but my 3 year old was able to handle most of it.

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