Chain Lakes Trail is a 14.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Oakhurst, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 14.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,434 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

beach

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

The trial doesnt seem as far as it can be. I tracked 14 miles going to the third lake. You can easily make it shorter and not "miss out" by stopping at the first lake and have a great day. Lots of fish jumping. Going to the third lake doesnt feel that much farther until the last couple miles going back to the parking lot. The drive is another story. I know people say you can take a car on the road in but if you have another option take it. The road is long and does have plenty of ruts. We took a 4 wheel drive truck and a Subaru and they were fine but I was glad I left my 2 wheel drive Lexus behind. Several spots of heavy mosquitoes. Two or three stream crossings.

camping
10 months ago

Great secluded campsites located right when you enter the upper 2nd lake. There will be 1 tucked away on your left about 100 yards from the lake shore. Fantastic hike.

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
off trail
snow
washed out
11 months ago

Still lots of snow and the upper two lakes were frozen over. Really pretty lakes but tough travel without All Trails or GPS to keep you on track.

hiking
Sun May 12 2019

Tried to get to this yesterday May 11 and couldn’t even get to the trailhead because of the snow. Might have been crossable in a 4wd car. It started about 12 miles from the trailhead. Recommend waiting a couple of weeks unless you have snowshoes and 4wd

Fri Nov 02 2018

12 miles round trip from Quartz Mountain Trail head to middle lake. Easily doable in a day, in and out, but pretty uphill on the way in. About 3 hours up and 2 hours back with a daypack.

backpacking
Thu Aug 16 2018

I'm interested in taking the Chiquito Pass Trail up into Yosemite toward Crescent Lake and Johnson Lake with my daughter for a few days, and then connect with the Chilnualna Falls Trail that takes me down Wawona Dome and into North Wawona where we have a cabin right by the trailhead. I am planning on driving up Beasore Road and then on to the 5S04 to catch the start of the Chiquito trail there. I have a question: will a Lexus SUV (RX330 survive the 5S04 or am I taking a lot of risk to drive the couple of miles on that road? From Google Earth it doesn't look that bad. Update: The 5S04 road is just fine, at least in the summer. Took the Chiquito Lake trail into Yosemite and stopped at Johnson Lake for the first day (about 10 mile hike). Definitely got my heart pumping. Virtually no (running) water all the way to Johnson Lake. The lake is beautiful, but like many up there, it is surrounded by marsh and hard to actually get to the water. Camping on the south end up on the rock platform about 75 yards from the water. Day 2 was a day hike to Buena Vista Lake, about 3 miles round trip from Johnson Lake. Awesome lake with amazing rock formations. Fishing was excellent although nothing much bigger than 8 or 9 inches. Swimming was fantastic and the lake was very accessible and crystal clear, especially at the north end below the ledge with the granite arches. Day 3 was a 15 mile hike along the trail headed west out of Johnson Lake, which passes Crescent and Grouse Lakes, and eventually merges with the Chilnualna Falls trail that takes you down Wawona Dome and into Wawona, where we have our family cabin about 200 yards from the trail head. Passed a lot of burn area from the South Fork Fire that was in November 2016. Very sad to see a place I have been visiting since 1966 has this much burn. Also burned out from the swinging bridge in Wawona to about a mile upstream and along the stream.

Sun Jul 22 2018

We did this trail from Quartz mountain trail head, on July 12 we had a bit on rain on the hike in, plus rain that night, we camped up in the rocks way above the 2nd lake to get away from the mosquitos I would rate the mosquitos as moderate, plenary of sunshine Friday, a bit of smoke on Saturday due to the fire near the entrance to Yosemite. All in all a great trip and the fly fishing was good with brook trout, browns and rainbows. By Sunday the hike back to the trail head was a bit hazy due to smoke. Day time and night time temps where great, down sleeping bag was over kill.

backpacking
Mon Jun 04 2018

Great weekend trip to Yosemite Wilderness without the crowds.

backpacking
Fri May 25 2018

We did this on May 23rd and was not able to access the last lake (Chain Lake) and the one before that because there were still lots of snow that covered the trail from Swamp Lake. Ended up camping at Swamp Lake instead. I wouldn’t recommend this trip during May, because the trail is washed out a lot with broken trees, rocks, and streams. It will be easy to get lost as me and my group lost the trail a couple of times. Took 6-7 hours to get there due to the trail condition during May and 3 hours back down.

hiking
Wed Aug 02 2017

We started the hike from 5S04 road which is a dirt road. You get to 5S04 from 5S07 or Beasore Rd. You have to drive on 5S04 dirt road for about 2.4 miles and park your car on East side of road and trail head will be on West side. You pretty much will hike along the Chiquito Creek. My watch said it was 16.5 miles round trip from parking lot to Chain Lakes (last lake). Water was great to jump in. Plan on 7 to 11 hours for the hike round trip . Just depends on pace and how long you hang out at the lake. It took us 4 hours to make it to final lake and 3 hours to come down. Great hike overall.

Tue Jun 27 2017

I've been taking this trail for many years. I return again and again as it is a great trail for the first time backpacker or folks who just want to get there and relax! The scenery is typical Sierra, high peaks to climb, quiet meadows and beautiful lakes! The fishing is usually good as well.

Tue Aug 16 2016

This is one of my favorite pack trips. The trail is long and steep in places, but that's what makes it so great. There is not much traffic and you'll hardly ever see another soul. So, if you are looking for a trip to get away from it all with amazing scenery and good fishing this is your trail. Allow yourself a whole day of hiking, at least 5-6 hours, longer if you are traveling with a group. Coming down plan for 4, at a nice easy pace. This is one of the most picturesque locations I've ever packed to. We camped at the lower lake and made day trips to each of the upper lakes. The top lake is stunning! If you make this trip, be sure to hit all three lakes.

Thu Aug 04 2016

Great weekender trail and overnight !

backpacking
Wed Jun 15 2016

This is a great hike, a bit hard for myself being a beginner but I made it. There was a storm that rolled through the day before so all the lakes were over flowing. A few streams/rivers to cross with no bridge so getting wet was a must. We under estimated how cold it was going to be at the upper lake and how wet we were going to be. But nothing better than the landscape. Picture perfect.

hiking
Tue Mar 22 2016

Super fun back packing trip, we started out from Quartz Mtn. Trail head then entered into Yosemite national park property a fairly moderate hike, we camped at the middle lake, the upper top lake had great brook trout fishing. I really would not call this an Oakhurst trail more like a Yosemite national park trail because a bear canister is required.

camping
Thu Aug 14 2014

We left from the Quartz Mountain trail head, which is a little tougher to get to than Chiquito TH, but worth it. We hiked in on a Friday morning and departed on Sunday. The hike in took us about three hours to get to the middle lake and the return a little over two hours. We were able to snag one of the prime camp sites at the middle lake (north of the trail, and at the northwest end of the lake). Even though there were fires burning to the northwest and southwest of our position, we had surprisingly little smoke. We did a day hike on Saturday that took us cross country to the ridge overlooking Breeze Lake. The lake was warm enough for a swim and the mosquitoes were surprisingly absent. I got no bites, my son only one. This will definitely be an annual trip for us.

camping
Thu Jun 20 2013

I've done this trial probably 20 times, usually for a couple of days on the way somewhere else, but sometimes just hang there. I'd rate it as a little bit easier than moderate, but that's subjective I guess. I'm planing on going back the week of July 7 to 14 but may switch over to the East Side of Madera Peak and shoot up to Chittenden or Twin Lakes just East of Kaiser Peak, depending on crowds and weather. Take the Quartz Creek Trailhead. There is one water crossing over depending on the season. Many great campsites on the north side of the middle lake closer to the upper lake. The upper lake is a little rocky for camping. It's a short hop cross-country North to Breeze Lake as well and, if you're in the mood, you can catch the trial just north of Breeze Lake to Fernandez Pass and cross over to Rutherford and the lakes east of Sing Peak.

hiking
Sat Jun 16 2012

Beautiful, short, and to the point. Large trees, vistas, and of course alpine lakes. Elevation gain/loss is minimal, a good hike for families I imagine. Several excellent dispersed campsites along the lakes which make good base camps. Backpack in, set up and day hike to your hearts content!

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

recorded Chain Lakes Trail

hiking
10 months ago

11 months ago

hiking
Sat Sep 15 2018

hiking
Sun Sep 09 2018

hiking
Fri Jun 15 2018

hiking
Sat May 19 2018

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