Explore TO DO LIST - 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.

on Five Lakes Trail

hiking
8 hours ago

Great area. I went counter-clockwise and the South side of the loop was incredibly difficult to keep track of. Had to look for the trail constantly but the lakes are beautiful!

A spectacular 8.5 mile loop trail, generally well shaded, around an alpine lake. Parking is available on Mormon Emigrant Trail for a $5 self-pay day use fee. If you park inside the park (entry is just east of the cut off for Emigrant Trail), the day use fee is $13, but you can get a park / trail map at the entry station. The trail is decently marked at most places. A couple parts of the loop, especially down by the dam, force you onto roads where you’re competing with cars. Lake levels are down a bit, which lets you trim a mile or so off of the full distance at the upstream end of the lake if you stray from the trail a bit and brave some mud flats. We’ll be back: this one’s going on the regular rotation.

hiking
1 day ago

We loved this hike! Even in off season it can get busy after 10am, so start around 9.

If you’re athletic, it will take 2-3 hours.

The trails are not marked well around the lakes, so be prepared to wander around there a bit.

easily accessible

Nice hike, a little Smokey from a controlled burn nearby but a beautiful day. Great views of Half Dome, the valley and surrounding mountain ranges. Indian rock was worth the short hike and also had some nice views from the arch. The hike is moderate to hard for beginners and very easy for the young lady that jogged by us not once, but three times while on the trail, amazingly fit...

We only did the first 1.5 and it was very steep. Bring water for you and your pets! No views in that section of the trail.

Great hike with beautiful scenery

Beautiful trail and nice hike. Only downside is that they seem to have put new "No Parking" signs at the trailhead, so we were not sure where to park. We parked about a mile away on the road where we could pull off. Maybe someone else can provide recommendations on where to park!

Nice easy hike with some great views. Parking can be tricky so get here early when you can. Definitely steep at some points, wear good shoes. Lovely views of the lake.

Great trail we went with our 2.5 yo that was able to do the bulk of the trail and we we're able to carry her the rest of the way.

hiking
9 days ago

this trail is beautiful and challenging

hiking
10 days ago

Climb is up to the lakes only then a cool little loop to see all 5 lakes and all downhill from there. Just pace yourself up, and this will be a very nice outing-loop the lakes- and down. As others stated, follow your map on the app around the lakes. Not super defined, but not hard to adjust and figure out either. Have fun!

Very enjoyable journey. Saw only one couple on the way out from 3d Gate the whole way. The Maine Bar Trail is quite steep and poorly maintained, but that short struggle is the only downside, unless you do the loop counterclockwise and have to go up it. Took the Dead Truck Trail on the way back, which added a bit of a workout before it levels off. Creeks were very pretty, even with low flows. Lots of shade, so would make a nice summertime hike, with stops along the Middle Fork.

mountain biking
13 days ago

I've been riding this trail since 1962

nice views but badly marked
be sure you know where you go

Overall a short and pretty easy hike with some rocky spots towards the end. Would love to go in Spring to get a chance to see the waterfall after the creek gets some snowmelt. The creek is peaceful right now, and there’s lots of space to take in the view. Beautiful views of the lakes and granite rock formations!

*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.

the mile marker from a previous review was super helpful due to no trail markings. the hike to the lake is more moderate than hard, perfect for a short hike. its not maintained road and its rocky. lake is beautiful

hiking
15 days ago

Trail is not well marked once you get to the lakes so keep your All Trails app handy! We ended up off trail several times but were able to get back on easily by checking the app!

hiking
16 days ago

Well maintained trails but very poorly marked. I got lost several times. Maintenance workers helped me out and agreed that the summer trail markers are confusing. Lovely views over Tahoe Donner.

hiking
16 days ago

Nice trail to walk - short and easy to complete in a little over an hour. Views over cascade lake and lake tahoe were very nice.

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.

Great trail. Route finding around the loop at the top was a bit tricky. If you are not comfortable with bushwhacking, stick to the main trail and skip the loop.

Wonderful trail!

A beautiful hike with views all the way up. The trail was well marked and maintained with no obstructions. A cute little pond at the top to sit next to and watch the wildlife before heading on or descending.

The official trail dies out about 2.5 miles in, but many different use trails can be followed pretty much to the top. As a day hike, this is a pretty tough one! The summit block seems to be about a class 3, but the views are sensational. Route finding skills and a high level of fitness required, it’s a lot of elevation gain to the summit!

Definitely a moderate to hard hike. Saw a lot of bear droppings some fresher than others so I would definitely recommend not doing this hike on your own. Phone gps map helped to stay on the correct trail. The posted signs can be a little confusing. Overall, beautiful and worth while. Great workout.

Bring at least a liter of water per person! This is not an easy hike and it took us about 5 hours to complete including a lunch break. Crossed paths with many hikers who either didn’t have water or brought a single 500 ml bottle.

The first 2/3 of the hike is through a nice shady woodland, but the real payoff is emerging from the woods and seeing the Valley below you. I did lose the trail at one point trying to get to the Dome, but retrace your steps to the sign and there will be a few switchbacks along the rock wall that get you down to the path that leads to North Dome. The views are mesmerizing from North Dome—bring lunch and plan for at least 30 minutes there.

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