Explore the most popular horseback riding 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
1 day ago

Trail is dry. No snow. No extended climbs; good for kids. 2 log crossings, but wide and fairly easy

hiking
12 days ago

Perfect day hike. Trail completely open from trailhead to summit now. Wildflowers everywhere especially near summit. Creek is still full and flowing.

Desolation Wilderness is perfection right now, get out there.

No snow. beautiful hike.

great trail! awesome terrain for novices like us. difficult to follow trail in some places. almost no snow left. prepare for some mud.

snow is all gone did this trail 3 weeks ago an you had 40 minutes of snow to go though as of 6 /2 less tha two minutes to go through great hike so awesome on top great views

Snow starts at mile 2.5 . Beautiful view at the peak as always! Ralston Lake still covered with snow.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike up but could not cross the falls in May. Views would of been spectacular i al sure

Great hike. Snow for about 1/4 of the trip near the summit. Great views!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike today. Still lots of snow near the top which makes it a bigger challenge. It was warm for the first half but once you hit the snow we also were smacked with pretty windy conditions. I would prefer it later in the summer when the snow melts but for those looking for a more difficult hike, this could be it.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this trail today with my friends. Steady climb for sure Still a lot of snow Top was very cold but worth the view Good day on Mount Ralston

Packed my snowshoes just because and was glad I did. Still enough snow covering the trail to make it more challenging. Cold and windy at the top with no place to hide. Coming down was fun, the snow was melting a bit and it mage for some slippery going. Love this hike, worth the effort.

hiking
1 month ago

Great run today, no crampons, top third solid snow stayed hard till about 10.. harder run than no snow for sure,

hiking
2 months ago

The difficulty/reward ratio on this trail is in favor of hikers who want to complete one of their first summits and boast, "so yeah, this weekend I climbed a mountain... No biggie." At 6.5 miles total, it is brief and perfect for a day hike. Make no mistake, however, it isn't a walk in the park the whole way up. Your legs will get a work out.

Shortly after the trailhead, which is located at a parking lot along I-50 that is often not plowed between Dec-Mar, a series of switchbacks zigzagging their way through a densely forested area begin. This goes on quite a bit, and takes up a significant portion of the hike. Those who want spectacular views - fear not! - as the views begin once you get in the clearer area at a higher elevation where less vegetation grows. It will start to get steep and you may be wishing for those gentle switchbacks you were on recently.

Speaking of vegetation, near the summit you will pass contorted and twisted trees known as "Krumholtz", German for "crooked wood". Looking like something out of a Guillermo del Doro film, these deformed trees live a tough life due to incessant wind and snow. Soak in the views of Lake Tahoe, various other alpine lakes including Aloha Lake, Mt Tallac in the distance, from the summit.

Bonus: at your own risk, on the right side of the summit, there is a Class 3 scramble on extremely loose rocks and climb that can get you to one of the lakes.

hiking
2 months ago

I just did this hike today. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to the top because of all the snow. I kept slipping and sliding and decided I'd have to come back and try again once it melts a little more! But the climb up was an awesome workout, and it's a beautiful trail :)

Cool hike especially if you are getting ready for longer trips. I went to the top on 4/13/18 and the last rain had washed away the previous footprints towards the top so having a gps made it a lot easier to follow. While following my footsteps out I found some bear prints next to mine that weren’t there during the hike up.

hiking
2 months ago

I give this about 3.5 really. The drive there was super rough; of course I do have a civic (which sucks for dirt roads, I know), but it's still a very muddy and bumpy road getting there, and parking is unmarked and tough to figure out where exactly to do so.
The hike itself is pretty steep, but pretty and veeery quiet, which I love. It's not usually crowded (I ran into nobody on my recent trek), probably because the drive there sucks, but it's a fun yet steep path that leads to a cute little spot to listen to Otter Creek and picnic on the rocks. :) Just know you'll be tired on the way back up, it's an a** kicker.. Enjoy!
P.S. - In the summer, especially, bring bug spray.

The last 2 miles or so driving in is a rough one-lane road. We were glad we had a truck for the extra clearance. We parked 0.2 miles from the intersection for Bottlehill Rd. and walked up Breedlove another 0.2 miles to reach the road where the trail starts. Beautiful trail. We didn't see another soul the whole day (midweek on Spring Break). We had to take our boots off to cross the creek, but it was totally doable, maybe 18 inches deep. Not much flat land on this hike; all uphill/downhill.

bring something to cross the creek in.

hiking
4 months ago

A little too manicured for our taste but a really lovely wooded walk. We took an off shoot down to the creek that was two miles round trip and that was a good workout. all in all a nice day.

Had a little trouble finding the trailhead, there's no signs until a little ways in. Gorgeous scenery though! The way back up is a little tough but totally doable. The spot at the creek is a perfect place to explore and have lunch before hiking back out. Also, once we got to the Otter Creek Trail sign, we weren't sure if we should go left or right, we picked left and were not disappointed in the slightest. We'll probably go right next time to check it out. Highly recommended spot!

Great waterfall and beautiful views of South Lake Tahoe!

hiking
5 months ago

A nice hike through portions of the El Dorado National Forest. Parking is available at the day use lot of the Dru Barner campground for $3. The trail departs south from the campground information kiosk. To get there, if you take a left turn at the sign for Dru Barner (a few hundred yards before the turn for Bottle Hill Road) you will have paved USFS access roads instead of a rutted dirt road. The trail is well marked with USFS markers.

hiking
6 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
7 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.

Almost every section is either very steep downhill or very steep uphill, should be rated as hard there was some solid scenery which started to make up for it.

Fog rising from the hills gives the place a spooky feel. Beautiful on rainy days. Dirt road there is a little iffy due to large puddles stretching from edge to edge on some sections of road. A little tough on the way back up because of the steep incline. Will hike again though.

hiking
7 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.

hiking
7 months ago

I would recommend the Mount Tallac hike to this one. Also the distances are a bit skewed. At the trail head it lists it as one way 4.1 miles. I tracked about 3.8 miles one way - so much shorter than what is listed (Alltrails lists it at 3.2 miles one way which is a bit short than what it really is). The elevation gained also is about 2800 ft - a bit lower than what is listed in alltrails. The views from the top are excellent though.

great views

My soul is filled with the holy spirit of Mother Earth. Such beauty!

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