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.

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!

backpacking
1 month ago

Got back today. The weather was great and the meadows were still very green! Worth the trip, especially in June!

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

2 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

Amazing

backpacking
6 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
7 months ago

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

backpacking
8 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
8 months ago

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

World class. Spectacular. Relatively easy day hike.

backpacking
10 months ago

Probably my favorite trailhead in the sierras!

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.

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!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Good hike definitely harder on the way back. Great signage initially but sparse indicators once you reach trout meadow, big thanks to those who maintain it. This is a well maintained trail. We found heading left at unmarked forks got us to trout meadow. We did find a water source next to the rustic federal building in the meadow, although a barbed wire live stalk fence prevents access to creek that runs parallel to the meadow.

backpacking
Friday, June 16, 2017

Completed this hike over fathers day weekend 2017 after tons of research trying to find a trail that had open roads, safe river crossings, and was without 5-10ft of snow. We hiked into Trout Meadows Friday night and made camp and day hiked down to the Kern River from there returning on Sunday. With the current snow melt situation there was plenty of water to filter along the way and the meadows were lush and alive. The little Kern and especially the big Kern were raging. We had hoped to find a little spot by the river that we could splash around in but the most we put in were our feet due to the current. Well maintained trail through diverse communities with moments of sweeping views of the canyons and snow capped peaks. All in all we roughly covered 30 miles. We saw deer, a bear, a bit of bear scat along the trail, lots of baby frogs and wildflowers in the meadows, heard bears, heard a huge group of coyotes, watched a helicopter make 3 flights over head (still not sure why), and warded off mosquitos. As others have said the reverse grade was quite a butt kicker and hiking out during the heat wave was tough as well as through the sandy trail. But overall it was magical and beautiful and we had an amazing time.

Absolutely loved this hike, except for the whole retrograde elevation aspect. Climbing uphill to finish the hike isn't ideal, but this hike had enough goodies to more than make up for it. The first 2 miles or so you have great views north into the High Sierras. This time of year (early June), most of the peaks were still snowcovered. Occasionally to the south you can catch a glimpse of the north side of the Needles. You'll come across water access about 3 miles in, which is consistent the rest of the way in to the Little Kern River. Once at the river, hang out at a river access point down by the bridge for a moment before heading on further into the trail, or turning back. The footbridge across the Little Kern is very sturdy and well engineered, and can be crossed anytime of year.

backpacking
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

This is a great hike for beginners and the experienced. It's a slight downhill path all the way to Casa Vieja once you reach the Golden Trout Wilderness sign from the parking lot. From the sign for about 100yds it is the steepest decline of the entire trail. Bring your camera and take plenty of pictures. There is an old Forest Service Cabin on the other side of the meadow that is worth seeing. They still use it in the summer, so make sure you announce yourself. The views are out of a postcard. If you have the time walk around the meadow - don't walk through it, you'll get a crash course in why it's a meadow (Swamp!). There are golden trout in the stream and springs all around.

backpacking
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Round trip in one night with my wife. We should have spent two nights. Took us about 12 hrs each way. Beautiful but rugged on the downhill. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Completed this in July of 2015.

backpacking
Thursday, March 09, 2017

Fantastic trail. Did this back in 2014....twice. Only negative was the recent burn area from the Angola Mountain Fire. That area can be easily bypassed though. Water at Trout Meadow from a spring box, and also at Willow spring. Continue on for an easy drop down to the Kern. Camp at Grasshopper Flat. We were trying for Kern Lakes but didn't make it.

backpacking
Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Great hike well maintained the first steam is the only reliable one till the lake, amazing vistas and meadows with flowers of ever color

Load More