Explore the most popular lake 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
3 days ago

Hiked this today, there were a couple very manageable stream crossings but we did have to take off our boots for one of them. After one of the stream crossings, there is a false trail leading off to the left that eventually falls away; we put rocks across the path and built a few cairns to mark the right trail. I'd suggest a topo map to help make sure you're on the right track.

backpacking
3 days 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
3 days 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.

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

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

7 days ago

Went yesterday. I would give it at least a week. These are the first hot days on the pass and the watershed made the creeks dangerous at best and snow bridges are a no go. We passed 2 groups that had turned around bc they werent able to find a safe crossing. Still lots of ice/summer snow covering the trail so wear waterproof boots. By the time we hiked up to a point that we would have been able to wade across(.75mi further) we ran out of time. Bummer because we were really looking forward to the destination. We'll be giving it another go after the snow and rivers work things out a little.

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.

Weather was nice this last weekend. An excellent hike. A couple mosquitos and some horse poop along the trail is the only downer.

backpacking
17 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.

backpacking
18 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
19 days ago

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

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.

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.

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.

Went there yesterday. There is a wide and pretty deep Creek you have to cross at the beginning of the trail.no bridge I could see. and there is tons of snow on the trail as well currently

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

backpacking
26 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
28 days ago

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

off road driving
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

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.

does anyone know if slick rock is open yet? I would like to go up this weekend

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.

Pretty nice, we did it in the snow so it took a bit longer. 1 question why do people pick up their dog poop, but then leave the damn plastic bag? Retards.

on Lyons Dam

fishing
1 month ago

Easy and scenic hiking and quiet fishing on most weekdays.

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