Explore the most popular camping trails in Tahoe 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.

Backpacked into Rock lakes from Lindsay lake. The trail is a fairly good 4x4 road to Lower Rock lake. Easy hiking with slow uphill grade. Lots of water and lakes. Beautiful scenery once on top. We went in Mid May and there was still a little snow around. Strong winds and one night we got lots of thunderstorms and hail. Lots of camping options in this area.

We went while there was still snow in May. This was a beautiful hike even though I didn’t see any wildflowers. There was a huge river running down blocking the other side of the trail about 2 miles in. Fantastic hike!!!!

Great to take your dog here. Great hike and easy for kids.

So...another person wrote about the trail not marked so well. So true...I felt Times we were always looking for the trail...but I think it’s because of the amount of snow still on trail. Plus my phone died and I forgot to track the whole trail. We marked it at 10 miles. My friend tracked it on her phone. All in all...beautiful trail with amazing views. Plus once we made it to Glacier Lake....Awwww just amazing! Will do this one again!

Love this trail into Round Lake from Carr lake. The drive is tough up to Carr for the last couple miles. But the hike in is easy and beautiful. Round Lake is kind of secluded and hidden from the wind. A great place to base camp and explore from.

This trail will be GREAT in about a month. It’s got great elevation gain and beautiful views, but you can hear the freeway for much of the hike. When I went in early May and there was enough snow that I started to post hole in places. Once my feet got cold and wet I turned around. I would definitely try this hike again when it’s not covered in snow.

backpacking
12 days ago

Tough trail in parts with steeper climbs and downed trees, but worth it for beautiful views of the American River.

My favorite place!

hiking
15 days ago

Nice walk up to the first snowfields, but had trouble finding the trail. Trust the footprints in the snow to keep you on track. Got as far as the first lake, but the snow started to get rotten and we turned back to avoid post holing. Only saw a couple other hikers.

hiking
16 days ago

Fantastic hike as always. Still a few feet of snow beyond the railroad (as of May 5, 2018), but getting up to the first lake is entirely doable in waterproof shoes or boots.

Sadly completely covered in snow. Looks like a great trail... will check back in a month or so.

App keeps closing on me, the activity is snowshoeing, I went in shoes that vented and my socks were wet. There is still a lot of snow up there. There are trails on the snow made by snow motor vehicle that you can't really miss. It's really peaceful and beautiful up on the peak where you can see mountain ranges in 360°. It was cloudy so it for chilly for me. Would definitely go again when the snow melts!

Did this trail as an extra mileage add-on to an overnight trip on the Halls Ranch trail. I went about 2 miles beyond the junction of the two trails. The path was nice, consisting of relatively moderate grades along the ridge once the initial climb from the trail head is endured. The first part is relatively shadeless among manzanita, but that soon gives way to taller pines. There are some nice spots to see the surrounding ridges and also the canyon of North Fork of the Yuba River below.

DONT TAKE IOWA HILL RD FROM COLFAX TO GET THERE!!!
Great loop, but the back side of the trail from the dam to the day use area has alot of fallen trees and debris on alot of the trail. about 1/4 mile in from the dam a huge fallen tree has taken out almost all of the trail. After that though pretty smooth sailing. Park at the boat launch and take trail to the right all paved for about a mile and a half good out and back if you dont want to do the whole loop.
Over all great trail, would recommend and do it again.

Definitely take I80 to the Foresthill exit- longer ride but much more relaxing. We walked the entire lake and it’s almost 5 miles (not the 3.5 that we were expecting). The trail starts at the bottom on the boat ramp. The unpaved trail still needs a lot of tree removal and trail repair. Stay on the paved trail and go in/out unless you want adventure! Very beautiful and quiet.

Great hike. Still a lot of snow to trek through.

1 month ago

Hiked up the peak yesterday. The snow was well packed, needed snowshoes only on our way back. Great hike and wonderful views!

backpacking
1 month ago

Our family has enjoyed this both as a day-hike and as an overnight.

Went on an overnight out and back backpacking trip, camping about 7 miles in, near a creek crossing on Deadwood Ridge. The trail was definitely challenging but had no other redeeming qualities, other than a nice creek to rest at early on the trail. The trail is well shaded, but because of that there are few opportunities for good views. The trail was well graded and appreciated at first, but I found it to be monotonous after crossing El Dorado Creek, relentlessly marching up the side of the mountain. In addition, the trail going up towards the ridge was very narrow. There were few places to take a break. On the ridge, there were few good places to camp. I would not recommend the place I camped (creek crossing along ridge), I was running out of daylight. If I had more time I would have backed up a half mile and camped at the water pump. If you want to camp closer to the trailhead, there is at least one good spot (probably more) along El Dorado Creek.

I did not encounter any bears on my trip. That was a good thing because I forgot to put all my food in the bear canister. The food was not touched.

Some folks have mentioned parking issues but I had no problems parking at the end of the pavement, about 0.2 mile before the trailhead.

This trail is best for trail runners. Lots of elevation change and consistent grades. If I was trail running I would rate it 4 stars. I would not recommend for backpacking except as an early season shake-out.

This listing is pretty mislabeled. This is a part of the Western States Trail and this portion should be labeled Michigan Bluff to Last Chance. Since you are going in and out of 2 canyons I would also label as Hard. Especially if you're backpacking and have a pretty heavy pack.
Here are some things we learned: There is no parking next to the trail head. We parked next to the old cemetery and the Michigan Bluff monument. We left our car for 3 days and it seemed fine. We talked to some locals when we got back to our car. They thought we were just going out and let us know about several locals recently losing dogs to mountain lions.
BRING BEAR SPRAY. It is also a good idea to have a bear bell and make plenty of noise on the trial. We saw a lot of trail runners out so the trail is well traveled. You will also do a lot of stream crossing depending on how much it has rained recently and how much snow is still melting.
Trail breakdown: 2.5 miles in is entirely downhill and takes you to the first bridge and river. Almost 6 miles from the trail head and just before Deadwood Cemetery you will find a decent place to camp. For an even better place to camp and a little more walking, head on to an established spot between Deadwood and Devil's Thumb. There is a great area with a picnic bench and water pump with potable water (if we had gotten an earlier start on day one we would have camped here). Ditch your pack at the water pump to lighten your load and make your way to Devil's Thumb. A closer look shows that it is not one big rock but many rocks. Head down the canyon from Devil's Thumb to get to the swinging bridge. Lots of switchbacks but the pay off is worth it.
What we did:
Day one: hiked in and camped right before Deadwood.
Day two: packed up and ditched packs at Deadwood. Made way to water pump and filled up. Hiked all the way down to the swinging bridge and had lunch. Made our way out of the canyon back to our belongings. We then hiked down to Eldorado Canyon (aka 2.5 miles from trail head) and made our camp near river in an established spot.
Day three: hiked out.
Things I wish I had known:
-how steep the trail was
-the amount of mountain lion and bear activity in the area
-how bad the ticks are
-the different points of entry for the trail and the relative location of established camping spots
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I know this review is long, but I'm hoping it helps someone who is looking at this trail.

Great trail. Very peaceful. They are currently doing some tree cutting, so part of the trail is blocked off. Trail goes around the entire lake.

This is one of my most favorite trails. I always go counterclockwise. Be mindful of the time of year you're going - because it crosses through Sugarbowl, you'll need an Uphill pass to stay on the trail during ski season.

hiking
1 month ago

I would rate this hike as better if the sun hadn’t dried everything out so much already when it’s only March. I started my hike at 1200 and it was 74 degrees outside, so I suggest you guys start this hike out early in the morning. I would definitely agree with the hard rating, it’s consistently steep downhill all the way down to the bridge and coming back up hill is doable but it takes a while. I walked down for 30 minutes and drank half my nalgene water and decided it was time to hike back up and to finish it on another day. The directions given were great and led me right to the spot. There was still a couple small patches of snow on the drive up there which was beautiful, and there are bathrooms there at the parking destination. The view from the parking area is the best view out of the whole hike, truly was beautiful from there.

hiking
2 months ago

It was an amazing beautiful hike! Took me roughly an hour going down to the bridge. Make sure so bring lots of water, good shoes, and maybe grab a walking stick to help down. It was roughly 65 degrees and it was perfect out (its March). Lots of butterfly’s out and cool rusted bikes and cars to find. The way back up IS HARD!! All incline, took about an hour and forty mins to go back up. But very rewarding climbing the entire mountain & a gorgeous part of the river.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Be prepared to sweat on the last mile back. The elevation gain is insane (close to 2,000 feet). A sunny, cool day in February was perfect for this hike. I couldn’t imagine doing it in the heat except there is a STUNNING water hole about 1.5 miles into the hike at the suspension bridge that would be nice to cool off in. The water was incredible. We only hiked from the trailhead to the bridge and back. It was more than enough and I feel very accomplished. I’d recommend this hike to anyone who is up for a challenge and enjoys beautiful views.

As others have mentioned, trail is a little hard to follow at first. look for footprints in the snow and cairns. Lots of ice on the trail, recommend yaktrax. Snow is deeper after the foot bridge. I turned around just below the first lake as the trail disappeared and I began postholing to my knees, snowshoes would be helpful here. Fairly strenuous trail and good views along the way. Dog loved it and I was the only one there on a Tuesday.

Peaceful trail, beautiful. It is not always accessible if has snowed. Easy for kids & beginners.

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Had a great sunny day today. Snowshoes the entire trip. I will be doing this again.

The only reason this hike/walk didn’t get 5 stars was due to the drive required to get here. Long, lots of sharp turns and bends, hard on the car, only room for one car at times. But the lake is wonderful, path fantastic! Clearly marked, well maintained. Just a great way to spend a day off!

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