Explore the most popular forest trails in Golden Trout Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I’m ok shape, middle age, 20 lb pack. Got to Summit Trailhead at 2:00 Friday. Camped about 2 miles from Lakes at 5:00. Saturday hiked around all three lakes and back to car by 3:00.

Middle Lake is prettiest. Some snow, a few hunters. Very similar to Dinkey, Cliff and Jenny Lakes, but no other people.

Great way to get up high into the Sierra Nevada without having to climb far. Trailhead begins about 10,000 ft, next to good campground facilities. We did full-on steak, wine, the works, at the trailhead, then left non-hike gear behind...all "smellables" in the roomy bear-boxes. Plenty of water on the trail. Everything beyond the trailhead rises to "no open fires" altitude. So, bring warm camp clothing, and enjoy the stars.

Loved it. Nice easy day trip or overnight.

backpacking
1 month ago

We went in early June. The meadows were green and the lakes were gorgeous. There are plenty of good camping spots around the lakes. The hike cuts through various types of alpine scenery and is capped off by a killer view of New Army Pass.

The trail is beautiful but be advised that the Casa Vieja backpackers campground is on a meadow that is frequented by herds of cattle. They moo loudly all night long and defecate near the creek. If you can plan on camping at the hot spring it is a better choice. The hot spring and nearby campground is beautiful and well-maintained. From Casa Vieja to the hot spring the trail is steep but worth it.

backpacking
1 month ago

Completed the Cottonwood Loop yesterday (8-17-18). The Old Army Pass was a bit scary. Coming down New Army Pass was in much better condition. Breathtaking scenery! The weather was good. Did have some rain, which made the trip even more enjoyable. This trail is a must and will definitely expand our trip in to the Sequoia National Forest on our next trip!

We hiked this trail july 29- august 1 in the opposite direction. First day was spent at long lake where a lot of people had camped to summit mt langley. Then over new army pass the second day and into rock creek. We camped at rock creek but we should have headed to soldier lake. Oh well. Last night we spend at chicken spring lake before we hiked out the short 4 miles out the last day over cottonwood pass. Not too many mosquitoes and no ice. Great hike! The fires did spoil our views in some parts. Lakes were beautiful.

backpacking
2 months ago

Pretty nice hike. Drove up Friday night and slept maybe a mile before the trailhead. The road getting to the trailhead was rougher than I expected. Some decent sized rocks. I saw a sedan at the trailhead so I guess any car could make it, but there was a piece of a broken off skid plate from a car up there too. We left Saturday morning and it took us about 5 hours to get there. It’s mostly shaded and the trail is well defined. Some meadows and flowers. The lakes are very pretty plenty of good campsites. The upper lake reminded me of something out of a fairy tale. It’s small with a tiny island and a single funny looking tree. We stayed the night and made it back in 4.5 hours. Overall it’s a really nice hike!

Awesome scenery in this loop! We did a variant wherein were cut down to South Fork Lakes, otherwise the same. All the lakes are spectacular. Chicken Spring Lake was on my list to see and it didn’t disappoint. Lower Soldier Lake was also great. Tons of fish to catch at South Fork. There was still some snow blocking the trails at both Old and New Army Passes but nothing insurmountable. Good number of mosquitos and Lower Soldier but no surprise this time of year (late June) so we had nets and spray. Some marmots about but our food was only hassled by chipmunks. Nothing proper storage didn’t fix. Would do this again for sure!

My favorite place. Easy hike from shake camp along the Tule river, lots of water. The trail crosses the river maybe three times, The last three miles is up, after the switch backs there is summit lake. After catching Brook trout and turning in for the night we wake up and head out over sheep mountain, up then down to twin lakes, after a nice break its Maggie. Maggie is awesome, three lakes to play with, trout fishing is ok. Nights are nice, afternoons are nicer, naps in my hammock was very nice. Bears, deer, coyotes. Scouting the area fishing the creeks below for Golden Trout, then packing out the trail to quaking aspen cause its shorter. The pack station at Balch park, is why the trail to summit lake and Maggie is open, not the Forrest service, there was no trail from twin to Maggie after the fire, I was there and the pack station new where it used to be and made the trail to Maggie. I would also tell you to have them pack you into Maggie in a day, stay longer with extra food, then backpack out and enjoy. Its an easy trip, plenty of water sources, and ok fishing. I would recommend this for first time and seasoned packers all. Depends what time of year, mosquito head net is a must, and I use mosquito wipes, they work ok for a while. I like the pictures here, I saw the rocks I made around my tent in the pics. You must have went after I did, what happened to the big yellow pot with lid? I found it at one of the old camps, brought it to mine, used it to boil water for dishes and clothes and stuff.

Hello, first time using this app, have been on this hike before with a different buddy and loved it. Just one concern does the map take you right to the trail head?

great hike, seemed like we went uphill both ways.
the views at the lake were great and you could see the trout cruzing the banks.
the trail is challenging to follow in a few flaces and theres a lot of down trees to walk over or around.
plenty of water supply along the way

4 months ago

Went in May and all the lakes were frozen over. Beautiful place, will definitely be going in July to fish.

hiking
8 months ago

Amazing

backpacking
9 months ago

This was my first experience overnight backing packing and I absolutely loved it. Beautiful location and quite. This place made me fall in love with the back country.

beautiful in the spring

backpacking
10 months ago

Difficult with a heavy pack but views and the lakes (lower and upper Maggie) were awesome!

backpacking
11 months ago

Stunning area to see. Easy to navigate area. Great for acclimatizing.

Other than the gusty wind it’s a great trip.
Fly fishing was tough windy but the Golden’s were there.

hiking
11 months ago

This was a pretty easy hike with beautiful scenery the entire time!

hiking
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

World class. Spectacular. Relatively easy day hike.

backpacking
Friday, August 25, 2017

Probably my favorite trailhead in the sierras!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

We set up base camp at the 1st creek crossing approximately 1 mile in. Then we ran to Maggie Lakes 8 miles. Did some swimming and fishing with no luck. Ran back and had fire going by 5pm. Weather was perfect and views spectacular. Did another 4 mile run before coming back home.

backpacking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

Took my Boy Scout troop there this weekend. Awesome sites, beautiful meadows, streams, wild flowers, hiking under a canopy the whole time kept us cool. We went all the way back by Mike's cabin, about a 5 mile hike and camped at the fire pit. Very cool hike, would do it again. Best fishing was at Casa Vieja, so stop there and fish. The other streams were flowing too fast.

Beautiful hike with great views during the first couple miles in, and then a pretty neat fiver crossing at Kern. No joke though, that uphill hike basically the entire hike back is very tough.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Did this in 2009 and it was great! Had a minor detour as we got to the farthest point of the loop where signage was scarce. Spent about an hour trying to find the trail through the middle of a bog.

backpacking
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Backpacked for 4 days in Mid June plenty of snow above 11000 feet, Took my two teenage daughters on our second trip to the cottonwood lakes, they were still amazed by the beauty of nature. We saw many deer and a coyote so they thought it was amazing.

First of all, the trail you take is not called Maggie Lakes. You take the summit trail all the way. Wish I knew this in advance because once you get up there, there is no reception and I had to drive back down to Nelsons camp to get figure out what trail I really needed. I used this app and it had me at a completely wrong point so don't rely on the "get me there" coordinates. Go to the summit trail.

This was tough. I was definitely not prepared for the uphill battle. Beautiful scenery and lots of wild flowers and beautiful meadows. However, it is definitely not a horse friendly trail. Having been on a few tough trail rides I give horses a lot of credit. However warning to you would be equine trail enthusiasts, I wouldn't take a horse on this one because there are too many downed trees that don't have a way around and once you reach the lake there isn't anywhere to set up a fence or hobble to allow grazing. I took my dogs on this trip and wish I had gotten booties for them. Careful if you bring a dog to mind their paws. The tree sap causes some real damage between their paw pads. And lastly, make sure to bring plenty of water. There is only a reliable source at the beginning and end. I ran out and had to melt snow as it took me two days to get back instead of one. Again, I'm a little out of shape and my pack over weighted to have made this my first hike of the season, but if you're looking for a challenge and a beautiful vista I would recommend it.

hiking
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Parts of the trail were difficult to follow due to snow and winter. We had downloaded the map from AllTrails and had no problem finding our way. I would highly recommend downloading the map before you go.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Just finished hiking up to Lake 3 and 4. Beautiful!!! The snow on the ground made it even better!

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