Explore the most popular forest 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.

hiking
7 hours ago

Great hike! Great views! Great swimming area!

Short, dog friendly hike with great views of Lake Alpine.

backpacking
19 hours ago

Camped up at Boulder Lake on a Sunday night and didn't see a soul either day. Great views to be had from some boulders just south of the lake. The lake itself is nothing special, but the trail follows the river/creek the entire time which makes for a relaxing hike. Some great flowers were out as well. The last mile and a half or so are a consistent climb of nearly 2000ft, but it earns you those nice views! Recommend for an overnighter.

backpacking
20 hours ago

Beautiful hike out to Wheeler Lake this weekend. The trail gets lost under a snow at the ridge, but after that it's pretty clear and navigable down to Wheeler Lake, though streams run down it pretty frequently as the snow melts. I lost the trail on my way out thinking I had to stay on the ridge longer, but you really just crest it, wrap around the Mokelumne-side of a small hill, and descend. Lake was beautiful and quiet, and the pup loved the hike too. Plenty of water from streams the whole trek.

Not going to lie.. thankful to the hikers that made the stone trail markers climb up was hard but doable.. you’ll feel proud after! Beautiful waterfalls and areas to soak your feet and relax

Just went this past weekend with my 9 year old. We had a great time and would definitely come back again. Day 1: Crabtree TH to Bear Lake, Day 2: Bear Lake to Granite Lake, Day 3: Granite Lack back down to Crabtree TH

Great area to get away from the crowds. Plenty of areas along the trail to dip in the water. Water is very cold but refreshing after the hike in.

Beautiful views and rocky terrain. Very worth the hike!!

on Carlon Falls Trail

hiking
4 days ago

The trail runs along the river for a good portion of the route, which provides for nice scenery in contrast to the absolute devastation from former burns if you look in the other direction. Ease of navigation leaves something to be desired - there are countless offshoots and no blazes to reaffirm whether you are on the actual trail. The falls at the end of the hike are a worthwhile finale.

Took my 3 pre teens on this hike from Thursday to Saturday. We stayed at the mostly empty campground at trailhead on Thursday night. I recommend filling your bottles up at the bridge, cuz there aren’t any clean water sources after it. It’s 3.5 miles of predominantly uphill, and I could tell that was all the kids could do. Bear
Lake is loaded with fish, and my boys had fun casting lures. Dry wood is limited at Bear Lake, so you got to hike for it. I recommend avoiding the weekend, since there were tons of people heading in, when we were heading out. A great hike that we will surely do again in a few years.

Beautiful hike. We did it on a Sunday and most folks were backpackers heading back to their cars. It was very hot on the way back.

Really cool hike it's a little hard to follow the path. But they have blue arrows directing you for the most part! Really pretty views along the trail

hiking
14 days ago

This hike is gorgeous! I’ve hiked around Pinecrest several times and always wanted to hike back in. The water was really moving today, and we could hear the waterfall from pretty far away. Be prepared to scale some large boulders. We saw one small ran snake, but I’m sure there were others hidden in the rocks and plants so watch your toes! The trail can be hard to find at times. Keep an eye out for blue spray painted arrows, piled rocks, and occasionally arrows that look like they were done with crayon! If all else fails, follow the water up! A lot of dogs were on the way back, but once we scrambled up the rocks a lot stopped at the bottom. It’d be very difficult for them and young kids/elderly.

backpacking
14 days ago

This trail is far off the beaten path, be prepared for a long dirt/rock road to get to the trailhead, but well worth it.
The hike starts in a forest setting and is pretty mild, until it opens up to a large river basin where you cross the river and head up the other side to Lake Hyatt. The river was pretty full this time of year due to the snow melt, so be prepared to get a little wet.
We didn't make it to the lake because one in the group got altitude sickness, but still had a wonderful time camping out in the river basin.

hiking
15 days ago

This is a beautiful hike but more than moderate in difficulty in places, especially in the uphill portion to Cleo's Bath. The trail is not well mark in place that resulted in a number of side tours for us and other hiking at the time. The last stretch to the top of the falls can be outright dangerous if you take the almost vertical route.

backpacking
15 days ago

I returned to this trail on 5/11-5/12, during that time it was cold and very windy we only made it to Camp Lake, i still love this trail seeing as it is only about an hour and 30 from my house.

hiking
16 days ago

Hiked up to the top of the third crater and the view was amazing!

hiking
16 days ago

Great out and back trail. It was pretty warm when my husband and I did this and we definitely should have taken more water. After the first couple miles there’s not much shade! We took a couple dips in the water to cool down and it was amazing. Make sure you have a hat and bring enough water! :)

Just did a day hike to bear lake with my 70 year father. It is a relatively easy trail with some elevation gains. We reached the lake in about 1.5 hours. We are planning on doing some longer over night hikes on Crabtree.

hiking
18 days ago

Nice little day hike. Mostly shaded. Nice little falls/cascades at end. When water volume over falls is lower, many swimming opportunities would be available.

We hiked around the lake on Memorial Day with our kids (ages 7, 5, 3 and the 1-year-old was on our backs). Our 7 and 5 year-olds hiked the whole loop with no problems. It was not only a scenic trail, but the trail itself was a lot of fun to walk on.

Nice trail, as of May 2018 they are removing some trees from a valley so there is a large fire road. We ended up following the larger road instead of turning off to a smaller trail which is I think what we were supposed to do.

Amazing place. Camped at Camp lake Friday night (rolling fog, mostly wet) and then went on to Bear Lake. There are more to see to this wilderness and can’t wait to explore more.

Day hiked from Crabtree Trailhead to Bear Lake and back on Memorial Day. Not surprisingly, there were lots of people on the trail the whole way. Great hike though. Unlike what a previous poster said, there were no mosquitoes. Not a single one. Trail was a bit muddy and mushy in places but not bad, and none of the small stream crossings were difficult.

main trail is easy to miss. entrance is just before the parking lot

backpacking
23 days ago

Awesome trail! Went for an overnight backpacking trip a week ago. Towards Bear Lake the trail was covered with the fallen trees and melted snow from winter and was a little bit hard to follow but wasn’t hard to maneuver around it. Some elevation gain but not difficult. Beautiful views along the trail, and a small river along most of the hike. There are a lot of good spots to camp along the lake with some fire pits. We had some hail and rain for a few hours once we set up camp but it passed through. Definitely a great overnight spot to camp!

backpacking
25 days ago

Bring lots of insect repellant, the mosquitoes are ruthless and have carried off small pets

on Preston Falls Trail

hiking
28 days 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.

off road driving
28 days ago

Great trail but definitely go with others. My stock two door rubicon did well, tho I did scrape the skid plates underneath a bit. It’s better suited for vehicles with more ground clearance and bigger tires.

hiking
30 days ago

Nice and simple trail, crater was a cool lime green color surrounded by some trees.

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