Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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

backpacking
1 day 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.

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

This is a delightful trail on a cool Spring day. It’s easy walking and the trail is wide. The views of the Tuolumne River gorge are wonderful and the wildflowers are numerous. A warning: The trail’s entrance is a bit hard to find.

This is a dangerous hike if your not extremely careful! Did this with my ten year old daughter who does lots of hikes with us, this is definitely the most terrifying for me as a mom! No rope was on the very beginning steepest part like some reviews had stated. Clavey River is absolutely beautiful. The actually baths are amazing but be careful when swimming, it's very cold and rapid. Some guys jumping off the cliff had to be helped out of the water because they lost strength. Very dangerous but awesome place. So be careful and have fun! Also there was groups of people on a Sunday so not a hidden place.

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
15 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

2.3 miles to the summit - pretty steep at the end, take your time. Stunning views, perfect place for lunch at the summit in the little rock circle. Tons of snow fields on the way up - thought we were done with that, but tons of snow after as well, except not flat and a bit treacherous. Thankfully others had gone before us and left footprints. We got pretty severely off trail due to the amount of snow - would’ve ranked it a 5 if it weren’t for the snow and ice and we’d been able to stay on trail. Seriously beautiful though, not one to miss!

hiking
16 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.

hiking
17 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! :)

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.

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
29 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.

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!

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

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

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

backpacking
2 months 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.

on Hiram Peak

hiking
2 months ago

I've completed this hike a handful of times as Upper Highland Lake has been a family favorite for camping for as long as I can remember. There are a couple of ways to tackle the summit. The quick but more difficult way would be to go up the summit from the right side of the lake. This side is extremely steep and rocky with no sun coverage, I would definitely recommend walking sticks if you take this route. The route on the left side of the peak is much more gradual, with some tree coverage until you approach the summit. Be sure to wear a pair of good hiking shoes, otherwise you'll feel every little rock once you approach the summit or if you come down the rocky side of the peak. The views from the top are absolutely breath-taking (so is the altitude!). To quickly get down you can come down the rocky side of the peak, although I will admit that the last time I did this I spent most of that time sliding down on my backside.

Some notes regarding the area: There are only toilets available in the campground near the lake. Otherwise, it is extremely remote. The road into the lake area turns into an extremely bumpy dirt road, so I would not recommend driving in with a car that is low to the ground.

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!

This trail has dangerous fall situations. Not for children

This trail is very dangerous and should never be mistaken for less. I personally have assisted in two helicopter rescues from this trail, both being fall victims. On three different visits the the bath, I have seen the remains of dogs that had fallen to their deaths. I am a local and have frequented the bath for over forty years and say this trail demands caution!

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

This trail is near level with little grade. It is an out and back trail, unless two or more people will be hiking together. In this case a vehicle can be left at the far end for an easy return to the trailhead.

Easy and flat trail with beautiful views. Our dog loves it too. I can't wait to see the wildflowers in spring.

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