Explore the most popular birding trails in Stanislaus 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.

on Preston Falls Trail

hiking
1 day ago

This is one other amazing trail to hike. You hike along the bank of the vibrant river and its very refreshing.I had been on a mid spring sunny day when the weather was around 70F. I had started to hike by 1030 hrs and found it highly draining and had got dehydrated by the time i got back, may be I am used to hiking a lot during fall and winter and had still not acclimatized to the spring weather. My suggestion is to hike during dusk or dawn so that you will to get enjoy the hike thoroughly. It took 0430 hrs for me to hike this 8.9 mile hike.
Note on the travel direction: after you cross the vehicle bridge in the cherry lake road while driving from Highway 120, please turn to the right towards the cottages. There is no sign board directing to the trail head and mostly you will tend to get lost. from there it is just a 3/4 mile to the trail head and it is called as Stanislaus National Forest Trail Head.

Was definitely a great trail to run! Pretty challenging with all the rocks to climb and hop over. the bridge you have to cross over a waterfall was a bit spooky but totally worth the views!

Nice and easy trail but heavily trafficked. Have to constantly move out of the way for oncoming hikers or people behind you. Some people almost take pets out and doesn’t clean up after them. Either than that the trail is beautiful and worth it if you have the patience.

Easy hiking with a well maintained trail and easy to find markers. The main water inlet is absolutely amazing, plenty of great spots along the way to take pictures, pinecrest can get overwhelmed with guests so we like to do our adventuring as early as possible.

Moderate scrambling, but fun for the whole family ! The pools are awesome and if you don’t mind cold water take a swim!

Perfect day hike with dogs. Enough people on trail in early May for guidance (as needed), else terrific solitude. Good uphill ascent to get your blood flowing. Will try to stay at the cabins at the trailhead or pack in next time to hike deeper into Emigrant.

beautiful - hike by Pinecrest Lake, Stanislaus River, forested area, waterfalls and Cleo's Bath at top. the rock scrambling is rigorous in one spot.

Definitely a “easy” trail. Not moderate at all. Great Lake and cold swimming most of the year.

Great hike however it was extremely difficult for me but I am also no where near being in shape

backpacking
1 month ago

The Dece Scouts headed to Preston Falls for an early season backpacking trip. The weather was supposed to be horrible. We started the hike in the rain, walking along the very high and flowing river. The rain died down after an hour or so, and by the evening it was clear skies. Lots of trees down on the trail, and parts were flooded, but all in all, a great hike.

Nice hike, great views and the snow on the ground made for great pics! animal tracks in the snow indicate a bear or mountain lion were present beyond the water tanks. I would never do this hike during tourist season but February 2018 was a perfect time!

One my favorite mc runs that I've done many times...

Loved the view . It’s a great little hike :)

Great hike with good views! Not hard but has a bit of it all on this loop!

Great hike. Loved that there was actual climbing required to get there. Not too hard to do, I saw dogs and children as young as 7 doing it. The best part is having a nice cold bath waiting for you at the end, with some great views of Pinecrest Lake.

It’s a beautiful trail, my first and only time there was during winter time. The shore was covered with snow, not a soul around and the water eerily calm. With proper footwear and clothing trail was doable and I managed to do about 1/2 of it until I started to freeze. Looking forward to spring and summer, looks like a fantastic place to go swimming.

hiking
4 months ago

A fantastic day hike on a very mild Jan 2. Beautiful river with pools and rapids. We were the only two people on the trail. We didn’t start until noon so only got to large pool and falls about 3.5 miles in and came out to finish by dark. Will definitely come again to have more time.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked it with my wife and 2 year old. Definitely a bit too tough for the 2 year old, but the hike and the view at the end are totally worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Love this hike! Have done it multiple times. Definitely some good climbing. Did this with my 7 and 4 year old. It was tough but they made it up and down

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike, but lots of hikers on the main trail around the lake. A word of caution: the end of this trail requires bouldering several hundred feet up...a challenge for humans and an even bigger challenge for dogs!

hiking
4 months ago

Make sure you take the other way back around the side of the lake that you didn’t head out on. The side with the dam is amazing and offers more of a challenge than the side with the majority of houses. Just completed this hike in Dec and the weather was fantastic, minimal snow pack.

Beautiful hike around a high mountain lake.

backpacking
5 months ago

Backpacked out to the falls with the dog weekend of 12/16 -12/17: his first backpacking overnight and this was a nice introduction on a pretty gentle trail. Trail was mostly clear, but especially in the last mile the path was covered in downed trees, branches and debris from a previous fire. Pup is about 20 pounds so I had to carry him for a lot of this final stretch as it was such a mess.

It was very quiet-- one other truck when I arrived but otherwise not a single person on the trail the whole 24 hours. Beautiful hike, and the waterfall at the end makes for a beautiful rest at the end. No snow or ice yet, just some frost in the shadowed areas of the canyon.

I put the coordinates from alltrails in Google Maps and it took me most of the way there: it ended on the switchback road down to the canyon. At the bottom of the switchbacks, turn right and drive past the dam and water plant all the way to the end (it looks like it might lead to a back lot for the plant at one point) and you'll get to the large trailhead parking lot.

backpacking
5 months ago

We had a great time backpacking here the weekend of December 2nd 2017. This time of year it is hard to find a sutible place to go backpacking with my wife and 6 year old son. I was drawn to this place for it's low elevation, paved road access and close proximity to my home in the bay area. We were rewarded with a beautiful hike. We found a really nice camp spot about halfway. I really wanted to push on to the falls but my son was getting tired and the sun was soon to set. The natural beauty was abundant. This is a hidden gem that has been cast in the shadow of and often overlooked by Yosemite's grandeur.

This trail is relatively easy, however it is extremely rocky so small children should have a carrier, their are high cliffs and boulders that can be dangerous it is not a leisurely stroll. So bring water and sun screen pack a lunch and enjoy the amazing sceneries.

Awesome trail. Good up hill the way there. The lake is beautiful. I did it 2 weeks ago and the snow wasn't bad at all. A little here and there. The trail was pretty easy to stay on.

Adventurous trail

Beautiful day and clear skies on 10/28/17! Trail is maintained well and very easy to follow. After the second bridge, you either go right or left. We went up the right side and down the left side. I think the right side is much better on the knees and less steep but I could be wrong. It just felt like there were more rocks/boulders on the left side (coming down). This is a beautiful hike as you get to see waterfalls along the way. I thought this hike was easy (I hike 2x a month or so) but my friend said it was hard for her (she doesn't hike).

elevation gain is actually only 880FT
mileage: 5.6 miles from Kennedy resort

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