Explore the most popular fishing 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

backpacking
6 months ago

Second hike up to Spider lake. Loon Lake was pretty low in water volume. From the Pleasant Grove sign post to Spider lake there was a crew removing the loss rock up the entire hill to about Spider Lake.

Not many people around very peaceful, got very cold at night.

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.

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.

backpacking
7 months ago

I love this trail. Have been hiking it for close to 40 years. Most recently, a simple overnight out and back to Buck Lake, about 5.5 miles from the Loon Lake trailhead. 100 degree August days in Sacramento, and 80 degrees on the trail. The first 2.5 or so miles is mostly flat and in the shade for most of the way. Then the trees get sparce and the ankle rolling, knee wrenching, granite "rocks" come out, and stick with you until Buck Lake. At the southeast end of Loon Lake, the flat trail ends and a mile and a half of uphill gets the blood moving. At Spider Lake, the trail levels for a short while, then begins a mile and a half desent into Buck Lake. Others have posted that there are no fish in the lake. Not true. There just don't seem to be the easy to catch planters so common in California lakes. Take a fly rod and work the morning and evening hatch and you will be amazed at what you can catch. I recommend going during the week if you like quiet. Weekends are not only busier with backpackers, the Rubicon jeep trail is just on the far side of both Spider and Buck lakes, and the sound of grinding motors and partying can last all night. This week, I shared the lake with just a trail crew making improvements and cutting new trail leading away from Buck Lake to Rockbound. By dark they were asleep and I was just left with just a Grey Rubber Boa (a snake) for company.

hiking
7 months ago

I started the trail later in the afternoon and came back to the trailhead to a breathtaking sunset. Such a perfect time to hike. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead. The trail is overall rocky although I saw one guy hiking in flip flops. More power to him but that's not the most appropriate footwear. There are lots of streams along the way and plenty of areas for dogs to take a dip. This is a dog friendly trail and several dogs were out today including my two. I noticed mosquitoes mainly near water so if you're like me and a mosquito attractor than being some bug repellent. Some of the trail is not marked well but folks have placed stacked rocks and it makes it easy to stay on track.

on Lake Margaret Trail

hiking
7 months ago

This is one of the most beautiful place, I have ever hiked to. The hike to the lake is pleasurable and you will enjoy each and every stretch you get to pass through at the end of which is a spectacular vista waiting for you.

on Lake Margaret Trail

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike. More like 5 miles if you hike around the lake after arriving. We had heavy thunderstorms which made it all the more exciting! Going to make this trek again soon!

This hike was amazing. I love every moment of it. It's the perfect length and difficulty level. It is so beautiful out here and a great place to swim and cool off. Trail is well marked and over all I would absolutely do this again and recommend it to anyone

hiking
8 months ago

A favorite hike for sure! Beautiful with a variety of scenery...lush forrest, open meadows, rivers, lakes and wildflowers galore!

The is a fairly easy hike for the fantastic view you enjoy. And a little swim at the lake tops it all off. Definitely a great afternoon

hiking
8 months ago

Gorgeous Hike with a nice variety of terrain. "Moderate" seems about right as 95% of the trail is technical hiking watching every footfall on the oft-rugged trail. We had a great time and brought swimsuits for a dip in the Lake and jumped off the rocks. There were always people there but it still gives a nice feeling of isolation. Wildflowers still blooming in late July. We also got caught in a freak summer hailstorm on the way out. Made the hike all the more memorable.

Hiking with younger kids (8 & 9). Perfect!
And a nice refreshing swim in the lake.

Loved it!

hiking
8 months ago

This is a beautiful, varied terrain trail. Went Late July after an epic winter and the wildflowers were lush and up to my waist in areas. The creeks were full and beautiful. Lake Margaret is a gem to hop into to rejuvenate before hiking out. One tip, pay attention to the many rock cairns and "i" carving trail markers when rock scrambling. Bring lots of water on a hot day. Cant wait to go back.

Good morning for this hike Cool to start and great weather Awesome forest with all the pluses The river was coo

camping
8 months ago

1/2 a liter to 1 liter of water to get there and plenty of water along the way! My buddy caught a brook trout at the lake and on a Friday it wasn't packed at all. Easy hike but not for Grandma. A few log crossing over rivers and a bit of bouldering, but other than that it's cake.

backpacking
8 months ago

Two buddies and I went backpacking up to buck island lake. Great views the whole way. Pretty hot during the day but we expected that since the elevation on the entire route is under 7,000 feet. Limited campsites at the lake so I'm glad we left early. The rubicon river was quite impressive and so cold. We had a blast!

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike, the wild flowers were amazing. A little hazy from the Mariposa fire but not bad.

What more could you ask for? All kinds of water, terrain, flora, and wildlife. Breathtaking sights, not too strenuous (enough to feel the work but not sore the next day). I love this trip and so far it is my favorite. It's an annual "to do."

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