Looking for a great trail in Stanislaus National Forest, California? AllTrails has 73 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 37 moderate trails in Stanislaus National Forest ranging from 1.4 to 78.8 miles and from 1,558 to 9,635 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

views

forest

nature trips

wildlife

lake

wild flowers

bird watching

walking

trail running

dogs on leash

dog friendly

camping

kid friendly

river

backpacking

fishing

horseback riding

waterfall

mountain biking

off road driving

Stanislaus National Forest is a United States national forest which manages 898,099 acres of land in four counties in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California. It was established on February 22, 1897, making it one of the country's oldest national forests. It was named after the Stanislaus River.

off road driving
1 day ago

We started this trail from the bull creek ohv trail in Briceburg. This is the first trail that I have taken my Fj cruiser on. It’s pretty much stock. I have bilstein 5100’s front and back, all pro rock sliders, and rci skid plates. I made it with no issues. Found a few fun hills to to climb off the trail. I put it in 4 low and locked the rear dif. Climbed them with no problem. We had lots of fun. We saw deer and other wildlife. Followed the trail to the end and made a huge circle towards Coulterville. Most of the trail can be done in 4x2 with a little clearance. Just watch out for a few deep washouts. There are some fenced areas with private property/no trespassing signs posted. Just stay on old Coulterville rd and you will be fine.

Today was my first time hiking this trail. Finding it wasn’t a problem but only the steep downhill and rock wall climbing was a bit challenging but we used rope. So far I’ll be back next time for sure, this place is amazing! Also plenty of swimming spots along the way Incase you wanna go for a cool dip. Good luck and don’t wanna slip

Beautiful just like every year! The rope down from the bridge is sketchy since someone took the good rope that was there.. now it’s the stretchy rope when you get 3/4 the way down. So watch your footing and pull ahead of you before putting any weight on it.

hiking
6 days ago

Easy hike to the top. Beautiful views!

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

warning that the lake Alpine side has a reroute that has a steep climb with loose rocks followed by a sharp turn with stacks of medium rocks with not much of a line. I would recommend 35s for the new section, and lockers since it's a steep climb coming from Utica towards Alpine.

hiking
6 days ago

Great.

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 days ago

The hike was great.. Last part right before bath requires a bit of climbing and rock scrambling.

Parts of the trail were pretty dusty and it was a bit more crowded than I thought it would be, but overall it was a nice two day trip with an overnight at Gem Lake. Only encountered a few mosquitoes at one point on the trip — somewhere around 3/4 of the way through the loop.

backpacking
6 days ago

Great dog friendly backpacking weekend at Y Meadow Lake. Tends to be windy but sheltered sites can be found. Beautiful hike to the lake overlooking other lakes and meadows, and sweeping Sierra views.

hiking
6 days ago

Very easy, nearly flat, lots of shade, 5.2 miles each way on a forestry service road the whole way. The path listed here does not go on the the flumes, if you want to walk the flumes, take one of the roads that breaks off to the left down the hill. Amazing dam at the end and is well worth the walk.

hiking
7 days ago

Just over a mile hike . 3 wonderful swimming hole spots . We were the only people there from noon until about two but apparently it’s the locals swimming hole so I would come before three bc then it gets crowded. Very cute lil oasis though and my dog was in LOVE. Will defn be back

off road driving
8 days ago

Great off road trail, took about 3 hours from start to finish then another 30 minutes on the fire road to get back to highway 4. Definitely some tricky and tight spots (wouldn’t recommend for stock vehicles) some places have fallen trees across the trail, look for the path that other 4x4s took to get around. The trail wasn’t overgrown. We took this trail in a ‘11 FJ TTUE with 33s, we made it through fine but I’m not gonna say we didn’t clench our butts in some places. Great day trail that is very close to Arnold.

hiking
8 days ago

Great flowers and view. Section from Sonora pass is much longer than the other trailhead. Highly worth it if you have time, otherwise back track from Saint Mary's pass trailhead is faster and great.

Started the hike on the south side of the lake and headed to Cleo’s Bath. Not tons of people which was nice. Easy to follow around the lake but more challenging as you get closer to the falls. Watch for arrows spray-painted here and there. They will can reassure you that you are on the right trail. The falls were beautiful and the water was crystal clear. It’s a hard hike so they’re weren’t many people there when we arrived today. You have to do a bit of boulder scrambling and we got a little off trail on the way down but such a good hike! But I’d definitely come back and do it again. Don’t let the mileage fool you. My phone died with 1.4 miles to go so it was a full 6.7 round trip.

Great day hike. Got on the trail at 8am. Wed. Arrived at Bear Lake at 10am. Scenery was spectacular. Lots of green meadows, streams, wildflowers. No crowds. Fly Fishing was excellent! Set up with 9ft 5wt rod, 9ft tapered leader and 24 inches of 5wt flourocarbon tippet, with a size 14 parachute Adams dry. Spent 5 hours at the lake exploring, fishing, left at 3pm, back to the car just before 5pm. Dinner at Mia’s.

off road driving
9 days ago

Completed the trail with my jeep group, we did the trail from North to South, did it on 33s and one locker and I would say that is the minimum if you know your rig and have sliders and skid plates.

The nature and the views get 6 stars out of 5. Unfortunately, the Kennedy Meadows operations ruins it somewhat: dusty roads, with non public campgrounds, and very very sandy trail due to all the horses destroying it. On top of it, they don't seem to enforce any kind of quiet hours on their private campground, so the party noise spilled over to our public campground. Another wilderness hurt by commercialsim. Go late in the day might help you avoid too many horses, but you might be tight on time.

hiking
muddy
9 days ago

We hiked this trail as part of a day hike. We left relief reservoir around 11am and got back around 7pm (we took it slow). We hiked in from Kennedy meadows, set up camp at Relief Reservoir, and the next day, we hiked to Kennedy Lake. Amazing and different scenery the whole way. The trail is dusty and has horse poop, um, everywhere, but it was still beautiful. The meadows near the last half of the trail were insanely beautiful, with amazing 360 views. It was a bit marshy, and so I would recommend trying to stick to the upper trail (a bit hard to find until you get really muddy and think, maybe this isn't the trail). The bugs weren't so bad, which was a surprise after reading a ton of reviews saying they would be killer in this area. It was too windy to swim at the lake, but a gorgeous lunch spot. An absolutely beautiful area and a perfect balance of strenuous and rewarding.

hiking
muddy
9 days ago

We hiked this trail as part of a day hike. We left relief reservoir around 11am and got back around 7pm (we took it slow). We hiked in from Kennedy meadows, set up camp at Relief Reservoir, and the next day, we hiked to Kennedy Lake. Amazing and different scenery the whole way. The trail is dusty and has horse poop, um, everywhere, but it was still beautiful. The meadows near the last half of the trail were insanely beautiful, with amazing 360 views. It was a bit marshy, and so I would recommend trying to stick to the upper trail (a bit hard to find until you get really muddy and think, maybe this isn't the trail). The bugs weren't so bad, which was a surprise after reading a ton of reviews saying they would be killer in this area. It was too windy to swim at the lake, but a gorgeous lunch spot. An absolutely beautiful area and a perfect balance of strenuous and rewarding.

hiking
closed
9 days ago

Due to the fact that no one had written a review, I went to this hike completely unprepared. First, the road in is 4 miles of gravel and put holes. I drove my car and I would never do that again. The road also becomes very narrow towards the end and it becomes rather confusing as my GPS wasn't accurate towards the end. But I got there. The trail in was beautiful. Meadows, flowers, slightly sloped, a few small streams. Then you get to the Vista point and it is simply breathtaking with the granite domes and slopes and boulders all around for as far as the eye can see. Then ... the surprise .. you go DOWN the granite canyon. I didn't find the trail for most of the time, so I ended up going on my behind and sliding for many of it. Once I got to the point where it kinda leveled out, the hike got much better. The lake was so peaceful and Serene. Not real big, but absolutely gorgeous. Definitely a great place to swim, fish, relax and sunbath, and camp for the night. But what goes down must go up, and that was the challenge. Many times I scrambled using all four appendages but with the help of some other folks that came along to go back up, we were able to find the stack of rocks that led us out of there. The stack of rocks were hard to find sometimes as they were granite, and granite on granite wasn't always easy. If you are part mountain goat, this trail is perfect for you. The people that helped me out loved it. The Meadows did have a lot of mosquitoes as the streams are not running like they used to be earlier in the season. So bring lots of bug spray. Also, hiking poles would help a lot and longer shorts or pants. You will be hiking through brush.

Drove up from the Bay Area on a Friday as a group of 5; picked up the permit along the way from the Stanislaus NF HQ in Sonora. Hiked the first few miles on Friday evening; slept just before Chewing Gum in a great campsite we had to ourselves. Hiked to Gem Lake on Saturday and enjoyed the changing scenery, particularly the last few miles of the day. Some mosquitoes, a small amount of snow, great views. Jewelry Lake was a standout. Hiked out on Sunday, making our mileage breakdown something like 4 / 12 / 9. The flowers on Sunday and big wall views were wonderful, and reminiscent of Yosemite without any of the crowds. A ranger did check for our permit at Gem Lake.

Worth it!!! Hike to the right of the waterfall when you finish. Its about another hundred yards or so, and you will find a pleasant surprise! Keep going and it even gets better. The views are stunning!!!! Start early and there will be no traffic and you will have the place to yourself.

hiking
no shade
10 days ago

Great hike. It is steeper than “Easy” but well worth it for the views.

The trail is not well marked.

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