Explore Tahoe NF "4oJ'15" - 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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Pretty. Wasn’t overly populated. Easy to get off trail here.

*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.

Wonderful trail!

fantastic finish..larger lake then I expected..great and peacefull views to be had at lakes...moderate is appropriate rating..can be better marked at beginning..u never know who put cairns up off trail..once you cross railroad tracks be ready for a decent amount of tree root/rocky trail..great for an overnight camping trip..just pick a spot..stoves ok for now..couple good spots around 2nd lake on sandstone for fire pits...shall return next spring

hiking
28 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.

Took the trail to the falls then detoured up a lot of rocks to the top of the falls back down and to the lake. Simply beautiful.

backpacking
29 days ago

This is a great hike. Challenging, but worth the trek especially if you intend to camp. Just a couple of things I found would make it more enjoyable. Keep your app open as it is helpful to get you back on track as this one is a tough one to follow in many places. There are cairns the entire trail... thank you to those putting those in place. I wore tennis shoes which was fine, but hiking boots would have been better especially with the rocky terrain that covers most of the trail. If you’re backpacking I recommend trekking poles. This made the trip a lot easier for me just for stability while carrying the weight on the rocks and over boulders and downed trees. Day pack probably not necessary. Camped out at the last lake, had some great picks with fire pits. It was pretty and only a couple of us up there for October. Beautiful night. Had cellphone service the entire way, but could also still hear the highway at the last lake as well.

Beautiful hike! Quite the workout, but very worth it!

Was great hike today. Hardly anyone there. Despite what previous poster said, leashes ARE NOT required this being the national forest. Would be very difficult to hike this trail with dogs on leashes. Difficult for the dogs and difficult for the owners especially if your using hiking poles which btw I recommend. Besides it’s usually the leashes dogs that are aggressive or unsocialized. Or the owners’ anxiety that causes this. Our group had 6 very well behaved trail dogs that are used to hiking. And yes we pick up the poop. Overall good hike, a lot of uphill; thus, a lot downhill.

This trail is one of the best I’ve been to. I’m a beginner hiker and went with an experienced hiker who had done the trail once before. It’s not marked in certain spots so it’s good to go with someone you know. Making it to Penner Lake, starting at Carr Lake took us about 5 hours to complete walking at normal pace and only stopping to take in the view and having lunch once we got to Penner. I’d rate the terrain as medium with mild inclines once you get closer to Penner it gets a little steep, but nothing too bad. It’s a great hike in October! Not a lot of people on Monday (Columbus Day!) but we were glad to find a hunter on the trail and about three other small groups of hikers. One thing I learned here is you can hike, backpack in and camp, camp at the campgrounds, bring a pet, come for the day or the night, it will not disappoint. Every single step provides a new scene and a new Lake to see. Breathtaking views. And it didn’t cost us anything but fuel and the food we brought for snacks and lunch. I can’t wait to come back and camp here. We did the entire 6 miles in one afternoon and we’re pretty tired by the time we reached the parking lot. Stopped in Grass-valley at Big A’s for early dinner-perfect ending for a perfect day hike trip!

on Palisade Creek Trail

1 month ago

You definitely need a 4x4 to get to the main trailhead. If not you can park at the first tower. It's only about 400 yards from there. It's seven miles from the trailhead to the main north fork Bridge. There are several camp sites there. The main waterfall is about 100 yards past the north fork Bridge.

This is a great trail, but as mentioned previously, it's getting too popular and not as secluded. Hard to find camp spots at Penner as there really is only one side that is flat enough for camping. But it's still one of my favorites! Just a little harder on the climb towards the end, but nothing too too strenuous.

Be advised - this trail is for LEASHED dogs only! And please be considerate of others who might have dog fears or leashed dogs with some aggression issues. I was appalled when I walked the trail yesterday!

loved this hike, steep but so worth it!

Nice wooded hike, along the water for a lot of it. It was more of an easy hike for us but we didn’t hike up the hill after the bridge. Instead we went straight along the water to the lower part of the lake. The end was pretty but disappointing because the water is low and we couldn’t hike to it unless we wanted to climb over rocks and drift wood. We should have conquered the hill, it probably had lake access but it was getting late. We took our Boston’s and they had lots of streams to drink from.

backpacking
2 months ago

Just finished this hike over Labor Day. Started at the Carr Lake TH. The road really wasn't that bad up to the TH. Just take it slow and go around the big rocks. Not much parking up there at the TH. Creative parking for sure. The trail starts on a dirt road, travels past Carr Lake and Freely Lake. Lots of families and kids swimming here. For the most part this 6 mile hike to Glacier Lake is pretty easy if you're in good shape. Last two miles is uphill, but really not bad. I did it in less than 3 hours with a full pack and several stops. Lots of campsites at Glacier, but this busy weekend made it pretty crowded with some loud campers late at night and early am. Hiked the Sandy Ridge trail back west the next day. The ridge affords some fabulous views, but the 1000 foot drop is on a rocky, steep trail, typical of older trails without switchbacks. We took the north trail up towards Sawmill Lake finally camping at Rock Lake almost 8 miles later. You pass Shotgun lake on the way to Sawmill. No camping there. This section of trail is through forest and really no place to camp. The climb to Rock Lake was long. Rock lake is nothing spectacular but had a few nice sites. Day 3 we hike from Rock Lake south past Penner Lake and back to Carr Lake. This section is really beautiful with lakes that have some private sites near rocky cliffs. Much prettier than Rock or the Shotgun lake side of this loop. Lots of people out here on day hikes which is what I expected for Labor Day. I would do this hike early season when there might be more water and when there's snow in the higher country. I gave this 4 stars only because there were so many people out there!

Accessing the trailhead was fairly easy. the last 2.5 miles or so is dirt road, but the majority of this road is well maintained. It was really only the last quarter mile that was really bad. My Ford Fusion definitely dragged bottom a bit, so for power profile cars I would recommend stopping short and parking a little ways back from the main trailhead parking area

The trail itself was beautiful with many amazing views. The last part of the trail, maybe 1/2 a mile from Lake Penner is the steepest portion and gets a little rugged; but is likely manageable for kids 4+

Other reviewers have mentioned an accumulation of human waste and toilet paper around Lake Penner. I did not encounter too many campers around Lake Penner (there were far more campers around some of the other lower elevation lakes along the trail) and did not see the same accumulation of waste mentioned in other reviews. That being said, I did not traverse around the entirety of the lake, so cannot tell you what it is like around the entirety of the lake. However, I did not come across a single piece of trash on my way in or out and actually thought the trail was well kept given the number of people I encountered.

Unfortunately, Patrick’s review is right, this area is just too impacted. There is a fair amount of toilet paper scattered about the area, as well as other trash. It’s too bad, because it was a great hike and the views are amazing.

Great hike. Would consider more moderate than difficult. One downside is the freeway noise for the first mile or so

backpacking
2 months ago

Lovely hike but extremely busy. Almost ended up making camp away from the lakes as there was hardly a spot to setup camp. Finally found a nice little spot at the northeast end of Upper Loch Leven Lake.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trip last weekend with my eight year old daughter and some friends. This was her first trip and was as good hike for both of us. The lakes are absolutely gorgeous and the 2nd lake is perfect for camping. We got a little lost on the granite before the railroad, but the markers were pretty good to help get us back on track. The only downside is the number of people. We saw people everywhere we looked and had people hiking through our campsite on the east side of the lake constantly. Nevertheless, the experience was great for the first time and having my 8 year old say at the end of the trip " We are so doing that again!" was the highlight for me!

backpacking
2 months ago

NOTE: For those complaining about people walking through your campsite, don't camp by the trail or water! First of all, it's expected that people would walk through. Secondly, there's a rule that you set up camp at least 200 feet away from both the trail and the water. Don't blame others if you were one to not follow those guidelines (and use your judgment).

The first time I did this trail was on 7/4/2017. I went back a few weeks ago with my friend who I had actually met there, then I went on 8/11/18 to backpack with my boyfriend for the Perseids meteor shower. I was worried about it being a tough hike with our packs, but it wasn't bad at all since we averaged about 35 minutes on the way up. I also made sure to hydrate the day before and day of.

As others may have mentioned, you can take the wrong path where all of the exposed granite is. There are cairns that do help, but at least keep the map on you. Other than just a couple of those spots, the trail is easy to follow. There are lots of downed trees that are climbable, or you can walk around a few of them. Also pack lots of water or at least bring a filter, and bring food. Sunscreen is also a great idea.

After the seemingly-endless rocky switchbacks, you'll notice that this is the perfect hike your both you and your furry friend to swim in an alpine lake or three! The lakes are also never packed, so they're truly gems hidden away into the mountains. All three are beautiful. We camped at the second lake atop a granite hill. Beautiful view of the sky..

By the way, if you think you hear a bear, it might just be the common nighthawk making booming sounds with its wings. It scared us half to death.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful trail! Very fun and a great challenge, but we definitely got off trail a few times. I’d definitely recommend having someone come with you who knows the trail. There were a few stretches where the trail dwindles off and you can’t really tell where to go. But other than that amazing!

Beautiful spot to camp and hike around for a few days :)
No fish to catch in Lindsey in our opinion but lovely spot to float around.
Midweek very chill but weekends surprisingly busy for such a rough unmarked road. My Honda Element made it.

Meh. Not sure why this is rated moderate. Pretty good trail if you’re a first timer and want something more secluded I guess. Jumped in the water and was a little chilly. Finished this within 3 hours.

backpacking
2 months ago

Spectacular views, lots of campsites. Very rocky.

backpacking
2 months ago

I visited 8/19-8/21, 2018

Regarding the 4x4 recommendation: time from I-80 to trailhead was 20 minutes with our 4runner. By my estimation, a sedan could make most of the journey through the unpaved road until JUST before the parking lot (using caution and low speed, of course). There is room to park before the road worsens and its only a 1/4 mile from trailhead. We saw stock trucks and SUVS in the parking lot so special offroading vehicles aren't necessary.

Trail took us 3.5 hrs to reach north fork of the American River. Gnats surrounded us every step of shade we had, deet became necessary. Lower elevations have quite a bit of poison oak but it was easily avoided. The trail is difficult not just because of the steep decline but because the trail itself has many loose rocks. Almost twisted my ankle once or thrice. We camped just on the other side of the bridge there. I counted exactly 4 established camping spots in the vicinity of the bridge. We didn't see anyone out there at any point... Very secluded. LOTS of swimming holes that were fun to climb around and jump in.

We saw bear scat throughout the trail and on our way back we saw even more fresh stuff. No bear sightings, however, we did see a baby rattler when we first got to our spot and after that we were extremely cautious about our footing anywhere we went.

Trek out was intense but much more enjoyable than going down. I think our time out was 4.5 hrs since we took more breaks to catch our breath and eat lunch. I recommend getting out early so as to avoid the midday heat later since the last 3 miles is mostly unshaded traversing of granite (follow cairns).

For the record, we did not hike up to heath falls and we regretted not making a small day trip up since an old timer we passed on our way out spoke highly of it. Our round-trip mileage was probably around 14.5 miles between trailhead and river.

Would do again! Especially with a group to play with on the river!

Absolutely love this trail. I’ve done it three times now. It’s definitely a work out and a climb so bring plenty of water. I made the mistake of not bringing enough for both my dog and myself and it hurt me bad. Also watch your footing as the granite and loose rocks can make for an easy ankle roll (did that my second time on the hike). Lakes are gorgeous at the top and there’s plenty of spots for everyone to sit and enjoy. You’ll see backpackers and day hikers at the top and you’ll share smiles because the hike was not an easy one. Recommend bringing a lunch or snacks if you’re making it a day trip :)

3 months ago

I always forget about the bouldery portion after the train tracks- strenuous but then eases up on the knees after that. The higher lake is definitely worth getting to, less crowded.

Tough hike but very rewarding. Visited the three lakes and Lake Salmon on the way back. I’m glad I wore ankle high hiking boots over the rough, rocky and rutted trail.

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