Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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!

6 days 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.

Beautiful hike!! The trail is very hard to follow but it doesn’t really matter, it is very difficult to get lost! Just follow the creek and you won’t get lost. This was a very fun hike, not too difficult at all and lots of area to explore. We ended up taking the very low creek/river bed back to the trailhead and it was a great way to take back. Beautiful and fun!

Definitely not my favorite hike! According to my phone and two others that I went with, the hike ended up being an average of 6 miles, 15,000 steps, and 90 flights of stairs. Beautiful lake but even in October there were icicles forming all around the lake. I am not a very skilled hiker but I do love to hike. I have done several hikes this year that were just as difficult but had more scenic views than this one. Very uphill and then right back downhill. I am glad I did it and it was beautiful but not a hike I would do again!
I would also like to point out that there is no way to get a desolation wilderness permit at the wilderness boundary on this hike, unlike several other hikes we have done. Every time I have gone into desolation wilderness from a trail there is a station with permits to fill out, not here! We got to the point where it says a permit is required but there were no permits available there or the trail head.

Beautiful views all around difficult for certain but excellent and well worth it!

Steep rocky climbs. Small creek at the beginning/end. There were several areas where the trail was not clearly marked.

hiking
9 days ago

Super fun bouldering toward the upper part of the falls. The trail is not always real obvious, but you’re always in cell service and GPS works great. Lots of friendly people on the trail, too. The lower part of the trail is pretty shady and there are a lot of picture perfect places to stop along the way.

Beautiful, relaxing trail!
The trailhead is right on the side of 89. Limited parking.
I went to Scott’s Lake and back, so not the full loop.
Lots of trees were turning, especially around the lake. I went on the 8th of October.
I saw a couple of guys mountain biking on the trail. They seemed to be having a pretty tough time. So wouldn’t recommend for biking.
Scott’s Lake itself was not anything to write home about. The water was very low and it smelled.
Dog friendly!

Best in winter/spring when the falls are flowing. Trail is a little difficult to follow.
Views are stunning at the top.

This trail is not for the faint of heart! We went counter-clockwise because the steep side of Job's Sister is extremely sandy, and we felt that would be safer (although harder) going up rather than down it.

We parked at the trailhead to Freel so we would not have to end the long hike with a mile walk up the service road. Instead we started with that, and then once we reached the trailhead for Job's peak, the climb up to the summit was pretty short, albeit steep.

After backtracking down Job's Peak, we started heading over to Job's Sister. A search on Google Earth after the fact revealed that there MAY be a better trail heading up that side of the sister; however, we could not find it while we were on the mountain face, and I'm not eager to go exploring up there any time soon. After being a bit disheartened by a grueling trek up the steep side of Job's sister and reaching a false summit, we finally made it to the top.

Once you make it to this point, it's easy-peasy lemon squeezy. Going down Job's Sister is easy, but I do recommend trekking poles. Going up Freel from that direction is strenuous, even for my husband and I (we are 30 and 33) who are in very fit hiking shape.

From there it was smooth sailing. The trail can be a bit tricky to follow on the way down - I've done Freel twice and temporarily lost the trail both times heading back.

If you are fit and feeling adventurous, then this a great hike for you. I am glad to say I've done it, but in the future I will summit Job's Peak on a different day than Freel and Job's Sister.

Great hike! Took around 4 hours with a few stops! It was very windy at the top which made it hard to enjoy the view but I would definitely hike it again with warmer clothes! The trail was easy to follow with the exceptions of one or two spots.

on Ralston Peak Trail

hiking
15 days ago

Great work out in a short distance.

hiking
16 days ago

Was hard to follow at times. Loved the ability to stop and enjoy the water on the way back. Got caught in a little rain. Be careful! Rocks became slick pretty quickly.

hiking
19 days ago

One of my faves. Short and sassy!

hiking
19 days ago

Awesome hike! Trail can be difficult to follow but well worth the time.

hiking
22 days ago

Great hike to enjoy the wilderness, also easy hike for kids

Beautiful day for a hike. Trail is well marked, wear good hiking shoes and bring water. Great training hike.

Parked next to the creek just across he bride into the camp. Only saw 2 other hikers the whole time. Took about 30-45 minutes with three dogs to get to the top. The views are outstanding. You can see pyramid peak in the distance.

Definitely family friendly. Nice and quiet. Highly recommend.

backpacking
24 days ago

The trail is fun and well-marked. The hike to Sylvia is easy and to Lyons gets very steep but lasts only .4 miles. Sylvia Lake was a bit low but had clean filterable water. I climbed up Pyramid Peak which was great. There's an unmarked trail at about 85 degrees bearing from Sylvia Lake up to the peak.

Lyons Lake is beautiful and had more water than Sylvia. I recommend visiting both lakes and climbing Mt. Agassiz or Pyramid Peak for the great views.

You cannot do this trail in a stock jeep without lots of careful wheel placement, lockers, rock stacking and even then there are large portions of the trail that a stock JK or JL couldn’t do with out body damage or mechanical damage. It’s a super cool trail with lots of traffic during events. With heavy traffic it can easily take you 8hrs to drive from loon lake to rubicon springs and back.

I only summitted Freel, but I was planning to hike all 3. I started hiking at 9AM, thinking I would have plenty of time since a previous comment said it took them 6 hours to complete the whole hike. I'm in good shape, and would say I have an average hiking pace. It took me 3 full hours to get to the top of Freel, and that was with minimal, short breaks. Hiking to the top of Freel is hard. The elevation gain is pretty slow and steady until you get to the bottom of the mountain, then It's purely sand and very small gravel which is very hard to hike on. The sand and gravel is even harder to hike up when you're switchbacking and hiking straight up a mountain. I'm 22yrs old and fit, and I had to stop many times because it's just so damn hard to hike uphill in sand. Once at the top, I asked a couple who was up there, if they had ever hiked the whole loop. They said they had, and it took them 11 hours to do the whole hike. They also said that after the peak of Job's sister, the trail starts to become pretty spotty the rest of the hike and there's a lot of unsteady gravel going down the other mountains. They also said they do not recommend hiking it alone, as it could be easy to lose the trail by one's self, and it could be easy to get injured hiking down. They said that it is a very difficult, exhausting hike. I was so tired from just hiking up Freel that I decided to turn around and just hike back the way I came. I also did not want to tackle more elevation ups and downs in sandy gravel- talk about killing your ankles and knees. I'll probably come back and try all 3 next summer, when it stays dark later and I will know what I'm getting into. Be prepared and don't push yourself beyond your limits! Start early and plan an entire day to do this hike because it's not a fast paced, knock it out quick kind of hike. Give yourself time to enjoy the beautiful views.

Drive slow on the forest service road! it's very rocky with deep holes and pits in some areas. It's also a skinny road at times with no room for 2 cars to pass at the same time.

This was a great trail with beautiful views throughout. I see that All Trails has rated this trail as “easy”; however, at the trail head it is ranked as “moderate” by the National Park. Moderate is a much more accurate ranking. It’s easy to lose the trail so try to pay attention to the piled rocks people have made to assist. Although, we did get led astray by this as well, given we took. a wrong turn and there were still piled rocks. I ended up downloading the map. Enjoy!

Beautiful! One of my favorite hikes. You can either stop once you get to the falls or keep going and climb up to the top to Avalanche Lake and beyond. I’ve done this hike 3 times now and I will still keep coming back!

Great view at the top...well
worth it! The thing that was hard tho there were no creeks for water. It’s more a fall winter spring hike.Still a great hike tho!!!

So worth the eight bucks to park. Great trails up to spider. My eight-year-old nephew made the hike.

We loved this one! The trail is hard to follow but there is so many outcroppings to explore and climb you dont really mind losing the trail. There were enough people coming back to point us in the right direction.

Great hike with beautiful views. The trail is well marked. The lake was amazing and had several great spots to fish or relax in the sun.

on Sayles Canyon Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely stunning view at the top. I could’ve stayed there all day. We were lucky at got a spot at Lovers Leap Trail parking inside Camp Sacramento. We did this hike at 2 pm on a Sunday so maybe that’s why, most folks were heading out as we arrived. Trail is mostly shaded in the afternoon. Rocky in the beginning and then again near the top. There a few forks, you generally stay going “straight” (don’t turn off on any of the forks) to get to lovers leap. All Trails map helped us stay on track.

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