Explore the most popular backpacking trails in El Dorado National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
1 month ago

Can feel like one long slog. Best as an overnight backpack. Have used the route to Sylvia several times over the past 20 years as a tuneup for long high altitude climb approaches. Dog poop can be problematic so watch your step.

very decent, not so steep hike. awesome forest. took us 4 hours

great primitive hut to rent, reserve online at recreation.gov During the winter snowshoe or AT ski in for a night. Spectacular sunsets during clear skies. heat and a privy are provided, everything else including water you must bring.

9.6 mike loop. Awesome trail.

Great hike. Just be prepared that parts of the trail aren’t clearly marked, so using GPS can be very helpful.

hiked back to granite lake which was nice, didn't know there are leeches in the lake. not harmful, just not expected while swimming

hiking
4 months ago

This is one of those trails which are are more about the journey than the destination. The lake itself is pretty meh. There are some granite cliffs next to the lake which are fascinating and very Yosemite-esque. I went on 11/26/17. There was a snowstorm the week before but the trail was clear. It is very hard to follow and there was swampy land and some water on the trail. So make sure you wear trail boots and socks. The ice ponds along the trail at this time were fascinating.

Vistas rad!!

snowshoeing
5 months ago

Due this trail being so popular and short, I have tried to do this trail in the winter months.
The first time in early 2017 we were unable to complete the trail due to so much snow on the ground and high water.
This time we hit it just right! Headed up right after a storm that dumped snow only above 6000' and maybe 6 to 8" of fresh powder.
I do not suggest attempting this trail when snow is deep. To many areas where avalanches may occur. There is a ton of water on the trail so bring your tall boots.
The scenery was awesome!
Our tracks are a little off due to the snow cover but managed to stay on track better on the back half.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice day hike not too far from Sacramento. Easy grade throughout the hike, until just before reaching Lyons Lake. The trail up to the lake is steep but short and the lake was spectacular. We had the trail to ourselves for the entire ten mile out and back in mid week in early October. This trail appears like it would be pretty soupy early in the season, so one probably more enjoyable for most later in the season.

hiking
5 months ago

Excellent hike. Not hard. Very nice rock formations.

hiking
5 months ago

I would rate this trail as fairly easy - not moderate. Trail is a little difficult to follow in spots. A couple of weeks ago would have been better for fall colors. Very nice hike.

I enjoyed this hike. I kept track of distance on my Fitbit and it said it was 10.6 miles. For the most part it’s a easy walk. Be prepared for the switch backs. Parts of the trail are a little confusing, but great scenery!

hiking
6 months ago

We would rate this as poorly marked Trail. Even with all trails we got way off course and basically made it up as we went. Beautiful area for kayaking. Wouldn’t hike it again though.

E xxx cellent hike!

nice track! stay to the left of Lyons creek as you approach the saddle.

hiking
6 months ago

Lyons lake was super pretty!

backpacking
6 months ago

A great trail! Took 4 friends and 3 dogs. We found that there was snow everywhere. Breath taking!! Most of the trail is well marked. The log across the stream was snowed over with ice, a bit of a challenge! Once we got to the granite, many of the ducks had been knocked over. Another challenge, but we found our way to the lake. We all had a fantastic time.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike along a river. In September all the snow has melted and there were still wildflowers and plenty of water in the creeks and river. Lyons Lake is beautiful and worth the climb up the rocky hillside.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing day- Clear sky's - Warm- not crowded at all
Definitely wear ankle high hiking boots - lots of climbing up rocks and it is steep downhill on them

hiking
7 months ago

Gorgeous hike!! We experienced an awesome thunder storm ⛈!!!

on Lake Margaret Trail

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail. Enjoyed how we were in and out of trees and up and down on the trail. Pretty rocky and some maneuvering on the bigger rocks. The trail makers were over all easy to follow until we got to the large tree trunk that kinda looked like a dead end but once we climbed over it we were able to find the trail after some looking around (over the tree trunk follow to your right and you will start seeing markers again). We headed out pretty early so we didn't see too many people on the way in but by the time we were on our way back their was a lot more traffic. Looking forward to going back.

backpacking
7 months ago

Great short trail. Too many people and watch out for skinny dippers.

hiking
7 months ago

Very scenic, fun rock scrambling en route to picturesque lake. Some moving water and smaller ponds along the way provide good birdwatching opportunities as well.

backpacking
7 months ago

it was a good up and down trail is a little harder for beginners trying to stay on the path not a good fishing area but decent swimming and camping also there are occasional nudists if that doesn't bother you beautiful scenery and sunsets

hiking
7 months ago

Splendid hike very close to numerous state and private campgrounds. No significant elevation change so doable for all age ranges. Beautiful creeks and meadows and varying amounts of hiking amongst rocky terrain and tall forests. And if it didn't get any better than that.. lake Margaret at the end which you can swim and jump off rocks into the water with above average views.

hiking
7 months ago

Fantastic hike. Affords tons and tons of views of Kirk wood to the east along with sentinels and to the west silver lake. Plenty of varying vegetation with several types of flowers. Easy to follow trail.

backpacking
7 months ago

People, leave your drones at home! Arrived at the lake to find two drones, music playing, people yelling as they jumped into the lake and later howling at the moon at night. More like an MTV real world special than anything I've ever seen in the back country. Beautiful spot, but an "interesting" crowd. Prob won't go back on a weekend.

It was 100* plus degrees in Sacramento. So we decided to head up the hill towards Tahoe. We found this trail and truly enjoyed it. Rivers, meadows, beautiful tress with very interesting bark. Mostly shade. We decided to do the loop. 9.3 miles with some very steep switch backs more then half way through. We were exhausted. It took us 4 1/2 hours. We are in pretty good shape but new to hiking.
I think when we do it with friends we'd go out and back. Not do that loop. It climbs to 1700 ft elevation
But this hikes tops our list of favorites

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