Explore the most popular forest 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.

awesome short hike. great for a quick getaway with some friends and a couple of beers (pack in pack out). ☺

Absolutely breathtaking views. Easy to moderate at times, but thoroughly enjoyed the hike. Would recommend you don't pass this one up!

off road driving
2 days ago

An amazing trail with several fun crawling spot and extremely beautiful

This is not a maintained trail. Tried to follow the track and it is overgrown and not really passable. Went back to equestrian camp and took the Bassi Creek loop.

I enjoyed this hike, but did not do the full loop. I went about 4 miles out, following the ridge above Kirkwood. It's got magnificent views and lots of wildflowers. A note for those who hike with dogs: I went the second week of July and there were no natural water sources for them along that part of the trail. So bring enough water for your dogs. Even though I brought water, my dogs were still hot and tired by the time I got back to the trailhead.

I hiked Thunder Mountain on July 14,2018. I have done many hikes and this hike was one of the prettiest hikes I have done. Due to late snow melting and a mild summer so far, this trail was decorated with hundreds of wildflowers and greenery. It felt magical walking through it.

The total miles to the summit and back is 8 miles. I suggest leave very early as most of the trail is exposed to sun. Also, the actual summit is extremely small (maybe big enough for a handful of people). I started the trail at 7am and I was the only person on the trail. I had the summit to myself for 40 minutes. When I started to head back down, I must have passed 20-25 people coming up. The parking lot was completely full.

The trail has many sections that are flat which allow you to take a break and catch your breath. The inclines can sometimes get to 30-35%, but very doable.

This trail is going on my annual hiking list!

hiking
5 days ago

Amazing hike! Trail is well marked except at end when you hike up a granite boulder when you near the lake. Go to the left here. Wildflowers were beautiful and lake not too cold to swim in!!!

hiking
5 days ago

This trail was really nice. Easy to follow and most driving on paved road to get there. The water was not flowing like crazy (it's July, so . . .), but there were plenty of pools to splash in and get our feet/legs wet. The only reason I dropped it to 4 stars was that there were a lot of places with broken glass lying around, and I had concerns about our dog. She was fine, but it was not a pleasant part of the trip.

on Lyons Creek Trail

hiking
5 days ago

Very nice hike but definitely moderate not hard. In addition to the lakes the meadows and wild flowers through the first few miles are beautiful. Start early!

This was a fun hike on the way back! We started out early enough to beat the crowds and the heat. Armed with a map we downloaded from AllTrails we headed out around 6:30 am. First issue, absolutely no sign indicating which way to go for Enchanted Pools. We took the trail leading to Twin lakes Island. The trail was pretty good for the 1st 3rd of the hike after which we loss all evidence of a trail. Fortunately we had a map that gave us an idea of which direction to go.
After about 2-1/2hrs we finally made it to the pools. We were there alone and it was amazing! Well worth the struggles to get there. The way back was soooo much easier. It seems as if it took us much less 1/2 time to get back. We found more defined trails- not marked- that made the hike so much easier.
I’ve seen descriptions that talked about looking for Mother Daughter rock.... have no idea what those rocks looks like.
That will probably be a fun hike second time around. Will definitely do it again.
Recommendation for first timers! Download a map that you can reference along the way. Cell service is spotty along the way. You will get service occasionally. Of course, comfortable clothing, shoes, and water and snacks.

I haven't been back here for many years, but it's still the same..and that is a great thing! (Considering how much foot traffic this trail gets)
Nice and easy trail to the Falls.

Great hike from hwy 88 trailhead to top of Thunder mountain summit. Actually 8.5 to top and back. Amazing wild flowers all along trail. Breathtaking views!

absolutely amazing!

Couldn’t find the pools but still pretty! The trail to the enchanted pools is not labeled at the trail head for Twin Lakes & Grouse Lake trail.

hiking
7 days ago

not sure i liked this hike. loved all the flowers but trail was not described well by all trails. lots of boulders to navigate and granite to maneuver up and down. Lost trail and never made it to the Lake. I hike a lot but not sure this was for me.

hiking
8 days ago

Great hike! Trail is now dry so no more slop (as of July 7). I think it's a very different hike when wet vs. dry - would rate this "moderate" vs "hard" during dry season, although the last half-mile up to Lyons is pretty steep.

Lots of wildflowers and super pretty right now!

8 days ago

love this trail! take a bathing suit

The trail is beautiful but poorly marked! I got so off track it ended up being 11 miles. I see many other have complained of the same issue.

Clearly the trail is hard to find. I was off course a few times. Keep the river to your right as you go up and on your left as you come back down.
However, the scenery more than made up for that. The river flowing by on the right as you go up toward the falls was awesome. The sounds of this river flowing is hard to describe. As you get further up you will see the Horsetail Falls flowing from the top and you can hear that as well.

9 days ago

beautiful hike and and great swimming holes. hardly anyone out there on Monday. The waters low but the falls are still flowing and the pools are safe for kids. what a wonderful day!!

Beautiful! Where a good pair of boots

Did this trail with my sister. It was my first time to squaw valley. It’s a very beautiful area. We were the first two to go on the updated trail. It’s a steady incline with a couple of mountain streams next to the trail. I used them dip my hat in and cool off. There are some really great meadows as well, and all the flowers were in bloom. It’s July, so it’s definitely a bit toasty. Make sure to bring a hat and sun block.

nature at its best!

hiking
10 days ago

Love this hike! We’ve been here twice in the past two years in early July and we absolutely love it! The trail isn’t marked all that well, but that’s part of the fun! The view from the top is amazing! We found a nice pool for the kids to cool off on the way down. Overall a great hike!

Headed out from Twin Lakes headed to Lois Lake. Made it as far as Maud before we got too tired. We only had one night so we decided to stay at Maud. Not an easy trail, it's hard to see, rocky, and narrow at times. Bring a map and compass. Beautiful trail.

hiking
12 days ago

Ralston is without a doubt one of my favorite trails around Tahoe, at least for summit views. The trek up is pretty straight forward starting as a dirt hike across moderate switchbacks before kicking up to a more aggressive mix of loose rock and more dirt as you leave the treeline. Given the consistent exposure and fairly steep upper section, be sure to bring plenty of water (see many people hiking this as if it's a couple city-miles rather than mountain ones.) For the effort, the view up top is all the reviews say and then some with so many lakes, peaks and forest lands to take in at once.

Conditions as of this post: All dirt, no major obstacles, fairly easy to follow the trail though do pay attention on the upper sections as the path can fade out over the boulders. Bring extra water, good shoes for the steeper climb, layers for the exposed summit.

Good hike and the lake was beautiful to see at the end

I would definitely rate this as hard, especially because the trail from Hemlock to Smith is marked as "primitive." I found it hard to catch the spot where you take a hard left up into the rocks. I wasn't sure if I was off trail, so I sat down until I saw someone else arrived who used their GPS to find the trail. After being at the top I came back down to find two hikers lost in the same spot that I was. Just keep an eye out for stacked rocks to the left to find that final steep ascent.

The parking lot at the trail head was open as of 7/7/18. The wildflowers were incredible! And the water running down beside the first part of the trail was serene. I dunked in at Smith Lake and felt so refreshed. Will be coming back soon to see it again.

Did the whole loop in 2 1/2 days with my 11y and 13y old sons. Rockbound pass was amazing. You go up this 10k year old trail. Easy path until you get to lake Schmidell. Past Schmidell towards McConnell Lake, Horseshoe lake to 4-Q lakes to camper Flat you better have really good map reading skills and compass or GPS because it's not marked. Walk slow look for rock stacks cuz I got lost many times, had to back track and look at the map and compass those 10miles but let me tell you the view is out of National Geographic magazine. 24.3 miles in 2 days with an 11y and 13y old.

Wildflowers are blooming everywhere right now. Don’t forget bug spray!

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