Explore To try with TJ - 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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hiking
14 hours ago

this Trail is pretty much all uphill with a few breaks and not any switchbacks and is out and back ...completed this hike not very many stops in about 3. my recommendation is to bring good traction shoes with trekking poles especially going back down if you reach the top of Castle Peak. A lot of loose Rock. I would definitely go again but with someone who was more adventurous and would be willing to stop to take some pictures. stunning views but be ready for sudden changes in weather especially going in October/ November

snowshoeing
1 day ago

Great winter trail for snowshoeing. Incredible views and can get some very deep powder.

Nice trail, good elevation changes for a solid hike. picnic area where the south fork and north fork meet. Its a little campground you can reserve. If you're doing this in early to late summer, pay no mind to the parking lot. Most everyone is swimming in the Yuba right there.

It’s more a walk than a hike. Very low intensity. Kind of a cow pasture really. I guess if you walk deep in the valley you’ll get to some cool spots but plan to be here for a couple hours and better be well with remembering your tracks

hiking
17 days ago

got this one knocked out right as it started to snow on November 21. I wish I had known that you are able to drive in the first 1.5 or so miles past the gate. Also checked out Andesite Peak on the way back.

Great hike, the rock scramble by the waterfall is terrible. Once you get through it evens out a lot and is so much better.

On the way down you can crab walk or butt scoot next to the waterfall for the first portion. Its a little dangerous and I only recommend it for advanced hikers. You get down a lot faster and its so much more fun than the rock scramble. Be safe and watch out for smooth granite. This hike is great and is really pretty. Goodluck and have fun!

I’m always looking for trails to take our horses on and this is not one of them. Mostly an easy hike with the exception of 2-3 granite areas that would be nearly impossible on horses. Too many hikers for my likes as well.

trail running
22 days ago

There is nothing moderate about this hike! It’s definitely an easy one! Perfect for trail running and great for dogs with water along the way and plenty of shade. Reward of beautiful lake at the end! Highly recommend.

You’ll definitely loose the trail a bit. Great swimming holes to explore near Ropi.

This is a moderate trail only if you are agile and fit. I have a fit dog, Shepherd, and it was a scramble for him with a couple of spots where I had to lift him to get him over some rock and log obstacles. It is NOT suitable for horses by any stretch of the imagination. There are some semi-steep portions of this trail that are more rock than trail, littered with volleyball sized rocks along sloped granite faces in some places and precarious dead fall bridges in others. If you don't do rocks or high steps, this is not the trail for you. Horses would not be able to negotiate these obstacles safely, regardless of whether you dismount or not. If you have little ones it will be a scramble for them too. We went in mid-November so the bogs, marshes and intermittent streams were dry or frozen allowing us to avoid the bugs. If you are looking to back country camp be aware that there are a lot of dead standing trees that are potential widow makers. Also be aware that regardless of fire conditions, the amount of deadfall and standing dead trees in the area make this bowl a tinder box.

hiking
1 month ago

An amazing hike with fantastic views at the summit.

we took this trail from the tamarack trail head to the sardine outlook, which overlooks upper and lower sardine lake. which is 4 miles round trip. the sardine outlook has a sign as well so you'll know when you get to it. or continue on to the sierra buttes. its a rocky trail so watch your step. beautiful views of the lakes and sierra buttes. not much shade so bring sunscreen and water. an amazing trail for the views

walking
1 month ago

*bring water for dogs- no water on the trail.
*uphill, then downhill, then uphill.....but not hard.
*gorgeous panaramas along the hike.
*we started late in the afternoon, and had it all to ourselves.( early November).
*no mountain bikes to be seen today.
*windy at the top- SPECTACULAR VIEWS!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike, just be ready for a steep ascent right from the beginning. Loved the views, it was a gorgeous day and there were still some fall colors to enjoy. We did get startled by some dirt bikes that came up on us quickly as they crested a hill. We heard them, but had no idea they were so close. We were able to grab our dog before she was run over, but be on the lookout!

hiking
1 month ago

This short(er) hike provided great bang for your buck. At only 6 or so miles, the views were spectacular and we reached the summit quickly. Likely for this reason, there was quite a bit of trail traffic, even given the time of year.

After an immediate and somewhat intense climb, the trail opens up along a ridge that provides beautiful views of Desolation Wilderness to the west. On one side there is a cliff/drop off that my overly curious dog would not keep away from - just something to be aware of with children or pets.

Once you get to where the peak is in sight, be sure to keep to the smaller and less noticeable trail to the right. On the left side, there is a wider and rockier path that leads to a false peak, and thanks to another hiker we met, we didn’t get stuck up there as some have!

Hiked November 3rd 2018, beautiful calm day, sunny and very light winds. Two of us and small older dog did the trek in under 4 hours with a stop at the top. Several other groups shared the trail but we mostly had the trail to ourselves. Great views of desolation wilderness, Lake Tahoe and beyond. We started late (noon) sun was fabulous, long shadows by return trip. Loon lake was glorious, mirrored reflections of the sky and golden glow everywhere.
A must hike!

Very beautiful. We did this hike on 4/13/2018, Parking lot to Hollow falls, then across to Ravine falls, the Phantom falls then down to the pools about 1/2 mile past phantom in Flag Canyon.
The flowers were out in full bloom and it was beautiful. I returned to view again on 4/19/2018.
For Drone video of Phantom Falls and Fly over to Flag Falls go to this link.

https://youtu.be/O3mOB5dVnFE

This has been my favorite hike so far. Beautiful scenery!

generally: moderate trail in Stanislaus Wilderness with good scenery most of the way, moderate difficulty, well maintained trail, decently popular for backpacking with sites scattered around the lake
permits: free, get at ranger station, fires allowed at lake with permit
trailhead: unpaved road for several miles, lots of parking at trailhead

hiked once in september with snow on trail and once in late july and swam in lake

I absolutely loved this trail....my friend who is not a hiker came with me, we made it to the top no issues. amazing views. started raining as we were on the top. As we hiked down the rocks were extremely slippery. I hit a rock just right and rolled my ankle. Continued to hike until I couldn't go any further. Had to call 911 and be rescued out. Tualome co fire dept is absolutely AMAZING. 4 firemen hiked me out. Turns out I fractured my fibula in two places, had to have surgery requiring a metal plate with screws in my ankle. Still recovering but you can bet I will be back!

Be sure to watch for cairns otherwise the trail is hard to see.

One of my favorite hikes this season. We logged 8 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

This was an okay hike for me. No amazing views on the trail except for at the lake itself since you're in the forest majority of the time. There are some small Aspen groves, which makes this hike better because fall foliage is always awesome. The trail is pretty easy to navigate and the weather was rather pleasantly cool today.

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..

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing trail!

My boyfriend and I hiked this trail in early Oct 2018. For fitness context, I am a mid twenty year old who goes to the gym 2-3 days a week and is active during my job and my boyfriend is in his early 30's and goes to the gym 4 days a week. We found this trail really great and got a nice workout in without feeling spent or crazy sore by the end. As people have mentioned, the bouldering is the main challenging part of this hike, but it's pretty short and surprisingly easy. For example, several dogs were able to do it. It took us from around 1:00-5:00 for the whole hike, but we stopped and explored the area around Cleo's Bath a bit. Also, the trail isn't incredibly well marked once you leave the pinecrest lake loop, so watch for the blue areas and stay with your group! We picked up a lost hiker on the way back to the lake so it definitely can happen. there was no place to get portable water along the trail but there was a flowing river so bring water or a filter. The only bathrooms were at the beginning of the trail.
Overall, a very beautiful hike for a wide variety of fitness levels.

Quite windy today, but beautiful skies and miles and miles of visibility. Trail is in good condition, although a bit loose going up the last 3/4 mile (all walkable if careful)

hiking
2 months ago

This was an amazing trail. It's a great deep dive into Desolation with visits to multiple lakes and sweeping views, despite not including scaling a peak. Each leg of the trail is more spectacular than the last, and it's gorgeous from the start. The view of Lake Aloha from the top of Mosquito pass is stunning. There's still plenty of water in parts of Aloha despite it being so late in the season. I'm looking forward to doing this one again early next summer.

hiking
2 months ago

Completed this trail with two friends and small dog. Nothing major for the majority of the way. Typical desolation hike in that the trail is a lot of large rocks and dirt.

Trail head at the end of the parking lot with a vehicle gate across it. First two miles are pretty uneventful with only the soda springs and old resort to be seen. Preservation work is going on at the resort. Please be considerate of that.

The rest of the trail is switch back upon switch back until you reach the top. Coming from the east coast, I was fairly used to this.

The lake is as beautiful as the pictures show. Crystal clear, blue, rimmed with mountains. The water is still as glass and cold as ice.

Stayed up there for about an hour.

Total trip about 6 hours.

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