Cliff Lake, Mystery Lake, Black Peak, and Helms Meadow Loop

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Dinkey Lakes Wilderness

Cliff Lake, Mystery Lake, Black Peak, and Helms Meadow Loop is a 27.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lakeshore, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length27.4 miElevation gain3,166 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingDog friendlyForestLakeRiver
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (2)
Photos (199)
Recordings (2)
Completed (4)
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Jay Weisberger
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Hiking

Wonderful entry into the wilderness. Hike is straightforward to the junction with the Nelson spur. From there, a steady climb that isn’t grueling, but, if not used to elevation (me!) can be a test.

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Michael Carey
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HikingBugsOver grown
First to Review

Hiked & recorded this loop weekend of June 19, 2020. 27 miles total. Trailhead: Cliff Lake Trailhead, on the West side of Courtright Reservoir. Easy to get to. No need for a 4-wheel drive car. Trail Conditions: Hiked this loop counter-clockwise. From trailhead all the way to Mystery Lake is decent condition, easy to follow. The middle section of this loop leading up to and going around Black Peak is NOT recommended for beginners. It was poorly marked, easy to lose and combined sections of what looked like abandoned OHV trails. Please go with someone experienced and have good navigation skills. The last section of this loop south of Black Peak to the reservoir was OK, but overgrown with lots downed trees and a little tricky to follow at times. Bug Factor: 9 out of 10 for mosquitos! Yikes! Bring a net, spray or whatever new solution is out there to deter the skeeters. Might want to try a different time of year, and is the main reason why I’m not giving this 5 stars. Water: Tons. Always bring enough regardless. Streams, creeks, lakes were plentiful and flowing basically the whole route. Dog Friendly: Yes! Scenery: Mostly woods, with a few vistas, and of course all the beautiful lakes. If you are looking for meadows, Rock and Helm meadows are amazing. Crowded: Yes, at the lakes. Not surprisingly, all sites were occupied and day hikers were fishing there. Outside of the lakes, didn’t pass anyone. Overall this was a great hike! Mosquito factor put a big damper on things and would have been much better. Do not attempt this full loop unless you are experienced or with someone that is - you need navigation skills! If you’re experienced, interested in a little adventure and want to immerse in wilderness, this is for you. Otherwise, just go for the lakes, out and back.

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