Explore the most popular hiking 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.

This was an amazing hike. Started at 7:30am with a 34 degree air temp, no wind. Moving time to the summit was just over 2 hours. Once you pass a trail junction near the summit that says .5 miles, there will be a Y in the trail. If you follow the map, you will be taking the left trail. This will add .8 miles to your hike and take you through some very gnarly terrain before reaching the summit. If you take the right trail, which is not on the map, it is a more direct route to the summit, not as gnarly, and shaves .8 miles off your hike. I'd say this hike is easy to moderate. Just enough to get the blood flowing good at times but very pleasant and a great warm up hike. The hike to the summit and back can range from 7.6 to 9.2 miles depending on if you take that short cut or not. Well worth the effort indeed!

1 day ago

Great easy short hike. Great views at the end from Lovers Leap looking down at the town of Strawberry, north towards horse tail falls, and all the peaks and forests in the surrounding area. We parked across highway 50 from Camp Sacramento. Good hike for kids, our 4yr old made it up and back on his own without any issues.

2 days ago

Phenomenally beautiful views from the peak, but significantly longer and more difficult than listed!

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.

2 days ago

Nice little hike to a nice lake — was surprised at the beauty

trail running
3 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.

I luckily had the coordinates in my GPS for the trailhead as there is no service on that part of HWY 88. The trail is incredibly easy to veer off of, but if you love adventure and climbing rocks this is the trail for you. My 5 month old, black lab puppy was loving the rock hopping. The general idea (in case you find yourself off the trail) is go up and over the rock mound/hill. I will admit that I almost called it quits but each time I found the trail. Getting to the lake was absolutely stunning, I wish I could post a photo. I went early in the morning in late October and was the only one there. Will definitely make this trek again! I think I will download the trail map the next time though..

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.

Worth the view! but definitely tough. This was 8.2 miles total and pretty steep for most of it. Going back down is easy but I would say this is more hard then Moderate.

mountain biking
8 days ago

Beautiful trail and views. Forest at its best. First time mountain biking, had to walk in a couple of areas, but not too hard. Will do this one again.

8 days ago

Great hike with a solid amount of elevation gain. The hike is 8 miles round trip with 2800 feet of elevation gain. You start winding your way through beautiful forest and emerge to views of Sierra at Tahoe (a local ski resort). After crawling up a steep section the trees begin to thin and eventually you emerge to unbelievable views. You can see more lakes and mountains than you will know what to do with. Have fun and be safe. This is a nice trail all the way to the top, not too rocky and lots of good footing.

off road driving
11 days ago

Definitely one of my favorite trails! Thank you Hi-Landers 4wd Club for all the hard work you do to maintain this trail every year!

12 days ago

Nice wilderness trail, didn't see any mountain lions.

This loop is best clockwise. it took me 4hrs30min. It took just under 2hrs to summit freel. 30 min from freel to jobs sister. and 50min from jobs sister to jobs. the hike down jobs to the road is 45 min, and a 15 min walk back to the car. I am in better than average shape, 30 years old, and would rate this hike a 6 or 7 out of ten for difficulty. This was a solo mission for me, but I do not recommend others go solo without some previous experience in the mountains. also, alltrails says 11.4 miles, and strava said it was 9.5miles. best views in all of Tahoe!

14 days ago

Great trail, however this is 4.1 miles each way (value from iWatch plus two trail guides) not the 6.5 stated here!

on Ralston Peak Trail

15 days ago

Beautiful hike this time of the year. The weather was great and helped with the steady climb to the top. Enjoyed it a lot ! Short and moderate hike.

Typed ‘Thunder Mountain Trailhead’ on google maps and it led the way. Pay attention about 300 yards up, it’s a quick turn out. You’ll know you got it when you see the large trail head sign with map at the back of the parking area. This is a well marked trail that we took our little dog on. Carried him over the sharper rocks but it was a nice hike. Got the heat rate up at times and you really experience a wide range of conditions and terrain.

Definitely a scenic hike. Had a lot of different pools to explore and involves a bit of climbing. Great for a quick trip to a waterfall.

Pretty flat trail to potholes, then lots of rock to explore. Nice swim holes for the dogs and people.

21 days ago

This a great day-hike. The trail itself is not hard; just make sure you are wearing nice hiking shoes because of the loose rocks. This is a great time of the year to do it because of the changing colors of the trees. Lyons Lake is a must!

Great hike. We cut it short before Job’s peak. Definitely do this clockwise. Going up from Job’s to Job’s sister and up the east side of Freel would definitely be worse than down.

23 days ago

Great easy hike in. Beautiful area great for a quick hike, hiking out was a bit harder

24 days ago

Moderate My Ass!

Well maintained trail.

If you're an avid hiker, this is an easy trail. If you're new to it, moderate. Beautiful hike taking you through the forest of mixed trees of golden Aspen , pine and fur and alongside trickling creek and calming pools of water. Plenty of places to stop along the trail to hike in a little bit to have a picnic lunch by one of the many water pools.

The trail is not easy to follow but it's not hard to get back on when you realize you're going the wrong way. Just make sure the creek is to the right of you. As long as you can hear it, you're good. When you are almost to the falls, you'll be climbing up and over boulders. Make sure you have appropriate shoes that have good traction.

This trail is doable in runners or cross-trainers but the terrain is a bit tricky. Rocks, sticks, logs and one small part of trail where you're walking over a pooled water area covered with logs. I would recommend shoes that have ankle support. If you aren't careful, you can easily roll your ankles. I did this in trail running shoes and was fine.

Awesome trail perfect for dogs as there is numerous places for water the whole way up. It looks like the route on all trails is point to point but the vertical is for the out and back. Be prepared to head up hill pretty much from start to finish but incredible views throughout and nothing too challenging.

Oct. 19 2018. I started on the trail by noon. With the shorter light hours this time of year I was in a time crunch. The added wrong route didn't help me either. There are several trails you can pick up.
Great scenic views and nice lakes to camp at. Things are starting to freeze at night including me!

The back part of the trail gets thin. I'd recommend GPS to help keep you on track.

Next time I do this trail I"ll give my self more time. 2.5 days will make it much more enjoyable.

This area is Desolation Wilderness and you do need a pass!

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

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.

1 month ago

Very nice falls and trails however there are lack of guidance signs to get to the starting points and also to the destination points... people may get lost if they do have maps or offline navigation, trail does not get signal.

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