Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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.

backpacking
1 day ago

I did this as a solo overnight backpacking trip to test new gear for an upcoming long distance trip (JMT) in the summer. 2800 up and 1200 down on day 1, 1600 up and 3300 down on day 2 (including side trip on Fiddle Creek Ridge Trail). On this April day, I started encountering snow around 4000 and found significant coverage at 4300.

Trail started at Highway 49 rising 1500 feet up over several switchbacks to the top Fiddle Creek Ridge. From there one can get a view of the surrounding mountains. Continuing on, I went 500 foot down to Fiddle Creek. There is no bridge here, and early spring runoff prevented any rock hopping. I crossed in my water shoes with no issues, about 18 inches deep. Next, up the hill 700 feet to about the 4300 foot elevation. Started to see snow, but after a short level section the trail went down again 600 feet to Little Fiddle Creek and another creek crossing (shorter crossing but slightly deeper). Then up again 600 feet to the snowline, which was encountered right after the single track trail transitioned to fire road. I did not want to trudge through the snow, so I found a camp spot on a section of old fire road, just off the main trail. Next morning I went back the other direction, crossing two creeks and back up to the main ridge. I decided to travel along a couple miles of the Fiddle Creek Ridge trail in order to increase the total mileage of the trip.

What I liked: I enjoyed the lack of people on the trail. A dirt biker passed me on day 1, and didn't see anyone else until noon the next day when I crossed paths with a small group of day hikers.

Things I didn't like: There were a few vistas but overall less scenery than some of the higher Sierra trails. Also a lack of suitable camping locations. I didn't find anything easily accessible by the creeks. The best spot was on a ridge at 4100 feet near the end of the trail, and was not near any water.

This trail would be suitable for an early season trip when the higher elevations are still snowed in.

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.

hiking
1 day ago

We have done this hike many times and again today 4-23-18. The wildflowers are in full bloom. We had lunch at the river at 4.08 miles on my Garman. I'm not sure why all the write ups say 9 miles. I've run my GPS several times and it shows just under 4 miles at the creek crossing at the river. You would have to walk another .5 miles along the river boulders to make it 9 miles out and back. We were off the trail before 2:00 pm which I am grateful for as the weather was getting hotter. I suggest an early departure in the warmer months. We did the bike loop and came up the fire road which added a little distance. We measured 8.29 miles at about 1350' gain. It was a great hike!

hiking
1 day ago

Great trail! Pretty scenery throughout!

Super easy hike. The driving directions to the trailhead are wrong the actual trail head is right off of Highway 89. Beautiful wildflowers a little bit muddy

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.

There is still a good amount of snow on this trail, but it’s beautiful and doable without snow shoes right now. We saw some very fresh bear tracks in the snow (!) in the meadows, which made us all a bit on edge for the rest of the hike!

4 days ago

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

hiking
6 days ago

beautiful trail. not moderate in my opinion but that is because the elevation change. really a stretch for the return trip, all up hill

backpacking
9 days 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.

15 days ago

A great hike with gorgeous views of the American River. Take a good 4 hours to enjoy it in full. lots of wild flowers along the trail.

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.

19 days ago

Excellent hike beautiful wild flowers

hiking
20 days ago

A very beautiful and scenic hike. We stopped just after Secret Ravine as the trail tapers off along the river bed. On a lovely/mild day like today, I would still recommend wearing sunscreen, and bringing LOTS of water. As an out-and-back trail, you start high and descend down to the river, so prepare to walk pretty continuously uphill on the way back.

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.

hiking
22 days ago

Great hike, went all the way to the river, had lunch and turned back. I had a later start so was hiking back in the afternoon and it was warm. Beautiful wildflowers right now, really enjoyed the views. My only slight concern was crossing the waterfall halfway through, as the water was moving pretty quickly, but the rocks were not slippery and the trail picked up right on the other side. Wonderful hike, highly recommend! (Bring water!!)

hiking
23 days ago

Great hike! I would totally go back.

Amazing views

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
25 days 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.

My favorite local trail❣️

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

Scenic hike. We went on a Saturday and the trail was fairly busy. I would disagree with the hard rating, however. Moderate would be more appropriate. The hike is downhill so getting back is the only 'difficult' part.

Fun trail, a little technical, but definitely not thet difficult for an experienced rider. No major drops or jumps that I've come across.

1 month ago

My fav trail run with gorgeous views and sounds throughout entire trail! Very tough running uphill the way back but worth the challenge!

hiking
1 month ago

A gem of a hike. It's on BLM land and our dogs were stoked to be able to explore off-leash. The trailhead is right off of the 80, an easy find. The hike starts off in a forested area until the trail becomes narrow along the mountainside. It's a very steady decline to the river and was a fairly easy 9 mile loop. Beautiful views of the American River! The trail can get quite muddy and the air is chilly during the winter so come prepared!

hiking
1 month ago

If you have a fear of heights, this is not the trail for you. The majority of the trail goes along the edge of the mountain with an extremely long drop. The trail is thin and when you come up on other hikers, you have to maneuver around each other. Dogs are good on the trail though my dog gave me a couple small panic attacks when she’d loose her footing. The views were amazing !!

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