Explore Summer 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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The road to the trailhead for this hike is closed this time of year, so park when you get to the locked gate and then either walk on the road or take a loop trail around Wright’s Lake to find the start of the trail. It’s really beautiful this time of year, and not very busy. The trail is hard to follow at times, but you can keep your bearings by the prominent peaks and rock formations, plus the cairns, as you hike. Highly recommend!

Great trail!

Nice easy to moderate hike with lovely views. A little busy on a Sunday but it was also a holiday weekend. Try to go early! No smoke from fires when we went today (11/11/2018)

We started late not really planning on a hike but could not resist and the weather was great. We took our border collie who loved it. The high point of the hike was seeing a bald eagle! We will be back to complete the loop.

What a hidden gem! This hike was a gorgeous trek through Desolation Wilderness across huge slabs of sparkling granite. At this time of year, the lakes were frozen, but so clear you could see through to the bottom. The views were spectacular even though it was a bit smoky due to a wildfire elsewhere in California. The trail can be difficult to keep track of, especially in the open granite areas. Keep an eye out for cairns to mark the way. While it wasn’t too strenuous, there was some loose talus and shale, making me wish I had my trekking poles on the way down. It is clear that this area is popular in the peak season, so we were happy to have the trail almost entirely to ourselves!

hiking
6 days ago

Great hike

hiking
7 days ago

Loved this trail, went during the off season and was able to have the trail to ourselves. Easy walk, beautiful views. Took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the furthest lake and around 3 hours (with side hikes) to complete. You can get this trail done in 2 hours if you go straight there and back.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful hike. Lots of signs and markers. Well maintained trail. Lots of uphill but not too steep. Rock climbing opportunity if you are interested. Would highly recommend. We hiked about 8.5 miles overall but that included exploring the rocks and doing a Little Rock climbing.

*gravel road up to trailhead is a slow go, wash boards and rocky rocky.
*beautiful wonderful marvelous scenic easy short hike with lakes and forest.
*went in early November, so the crowds of summer are absent....
*lots of gorgeous other hiking in the area around here to explore.
*definately will come back here to explore some more.

horseback riding
11 days ago

Not only did i hike this but i also did the horseback riding guided tours back in summer. It was a cool experience! Definitely check out the guided tours during the summer when they are open since its seasonal. The hike was beautiful. The views were stunning.

Excellent afternoon hike with so many fantastic views. Would definitely hike it again.

I've done this hike twice in the last few years and the one thing I hate is that hike it a tad bit longer then main article here indicates. From top to bottom, this is at least 5 mile each way hike. The first I attempted it, I did it too late in the day and made it up about 4/5th of the way, but turned around as I was running out of water and light (no flashlight on me). The second time around I left early in the day and made it up in the early mid afternoon. The views are some of the very best. On the downside, their were I think 3-4 fires going on in that region so the views were also kind of spoiled too by a bit of haze. Oh well. Maybe next time?

Uphill hike all the way to the tower but sooo worth it for the views. It was extremely windy, and that made the shaded areas chilly. My dog did great on the hike up but once we hit the stairs to the tower, I felt is was extremely unsafe for her. We made it up to the third set of stairs with me white knuckling my grip on her harness before I had a bit of anxiety at the sketchiness of the stairs and then decided to carry her back down. The stairs are somewhat wide gapped with absolutely no protection around the side rails and it is a sheer drop down. My friend ended up staying with my pup so I could make it to the top by myself. And I did, but with shaky knees to be honest. If you’re afraid of heights, skip the tower itself. But the view from the tower itself is breathtaking !!!!!

hiking
13 days ago

Great hike but more like 5.7 miles from parking area. Even longer if you decide to take the detour out and back to Donner Peak from main trail up to Mt. Judah. Beautiful views.

I really enjoyed this trail! Super scenic area and the trail was easy to follow. I extended the loop a bit further by hiking off the backside of Elwell. Only saw one other person the entire journey. Really made for a great afternoon of adventure.

Wonderful trail!

hiking
19 days ago

A relatively hard hike that is completely worth it because the views are incredible. I started this hike at the Castle Crags entrance parking lot. From the parking lot I took Bob's Hat up and crossed the PCT and then connected with Crags Trail. Did a quick out and back to Indian Springs along the way before continuing up Crags Trail to the top. Nothing terribly technical, just a bit of scrambling here and there as you near the top. Fun stuff. From the parking lot (and with all of the diversions I took) I ended up at just over 10 miles when I was done. Definitely will be headed back to this area to explore more.

hiking
19 days ago

Did this hike 10/24/18. Good, strenuous 8.6 mi out an back from the Soda Creek trailhead. Last 1.5 miles was mostly out of the tree cover, and the views of Shasta and the rest of the Crags was impressive. Had my 35 mm Nikon with me and took a number of “suitable for framing” photos. Great hike!

Probably the most beautiful lake in the Desolation Wilderness area. The stark, granite landscape and the crisp, blue waters of the lake make for a breathtaking sight.

Views are awesome and very comfortable trail. Gets steep toward the end and somewhat sketchy. Hard coming down since its a constant decline.

hiking
22 days ago

unique area with great views. Leave dog at home:(

Picayune Valley is beautiful and remote. To access from the east, or to hike a loop thru the valley, there is a path from the Tevis Cup Trail. More info including GPS track:
https://paulvandervoort.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/tevis-cup-trail-to-picayune-valley-x-c-path/

hiking
25 days ago

Went here for a hike with my boyfriend and he proposed to me at the end of the hike at glacier lake! Couldn’t have been better! Trail itself was maintained good, mostly dirt, sand, some granite but not as much as we expected. Passed a lot of beautiful lakes along the way. Saw zero people on way up and only a few at the end. We went on a Friday morning though so likely more populated summer / weekends. Brought our dog. Off leash no problem ! Lots of squirrels and chipmunks. Beautiful lakes, good tree coverage, fall colors, scenic overlook. Was not a difficult hike at all. Very gradual inclines. Hadn’t been hiking once this year but have done multiple backpacking trips in our past. This was a perfect gradual reintroduction to getting back in nature. Lots of camping spots.

We took a 2001 Camry down the road, made it the whole way. Definitely would have been easier in a 4 wheel drive car or a car with higher clearance. Wouldn’t recommend taking a little car. The road was ok but the very end had a huge drop off ditch that was tricky to navigate. But we managed ! If it was rainy or had been a wet season the road would have been a lot worse.

Nice views. Get to walk on some of the ski runs and good views of Sugar Bowl ski area.

We are new to hiking and in our 50’s-60, so this is for newbies like us. Loved the views and weather was perfect in October. We actually walked the path counter-clockwise, not knowing how this app really works, and just realized, late, that the path direction is on the app. Heading down the peek of Mt. Judah Trail back to Pacific Crest was slippery and steep, the trail was hard to recognize. Now that I see we should have ascended that way, it makes some sense. We’re learning and love adventure.

hiking
27 days ago

The first 2 miles could be challenging for people who have knees problems because the trail was steep and could be slippery. We hike relatively slow with our dogs and it took us about 3.5 hours round trip.

Great hike!

hiking
29 days ago

Favorite hike of the year so far! I wouldn’t say it’s a difficult hike, more like moderate. The uneven rocks in the middle section will wear you out quick though. Views are amazing and once you get to Lake Aloha you’re totally secluded. We did take a wrong turn at the little loop near the end and it wound up being a short cut. Pay attention to the markers and your map because it’s not super well marked

hiking
29 days ago

THIS WAS HARD! But one of the most worthwhile, amazing hikes I've ever done. Once you hit the wilderness area, the trail is rocky but to me that is fun; stepping up over boulders and stairstepping in certain areas is way more fun than an flat, even trail. The views were second to none. Our legs and lungs were burning, and we didn't bring enough water (so we were VERY thirsty back at the car!). At the dome it was fun to have some snacks and explore the cool terrain. I would do this again in a heartbeat, it's such a great experience.

2nd time around..get up there to see a fire at around donner lake or hwy 89 yesterday..makes u realize hikers vulnerabilities..great views and great scramble up once you get up past first turret..not a trekking pole hiker but they may come into play on way down..

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