Cliff Lake

MODERATE 35 reviews
#10 of 84 trails in

Cliff Lake is a 9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Shaver Lake, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,505 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

rock climbing

forest

lake

river

bugs

Very well marked and maintained trail. Starting near Trapper Springs Campground, this trail will take you to Cliff Lake and other destinations. Cliff Lake is a great place for camp, and to day hike from.

1 day ago

Completed an out-back from the Trapper Springs TH. 3 hours in and 2.5 out with a dog. Bugs were tough and head net + DEET make it more enjoyable. Lots of mountain storms this weekend so rain for much of the afternoon and night. Check weather and prepare accordingly. This is a day hike destination but from here you can bag peaks or fish the other lakes in the area.

backpacking
24 days ago

Awesome trail! Beautiful lake! Was closer to 5.5 miles out, so 11 round trip. Bring plenty of mosquito repellent!

backpacking
25 days ago

Great hike, the trail had a couple of deadfalls to hike around. Last river crossing by the lake on the way in was higher than usual but no reason to get wet. I did not stop much on the way in because the skeeters were so bad. I applied Deet at the trailhead, all day, and into the night. I ran out of Deet the next morning so I jogged out early. Caught a Brookie on a frog popper.

backpacking
1 month ago

Giving it 4 stars out of 5 only because of the mosquitos. When my group and I took small rests, mosquitos swarmed us. Got to the lake, and they were even worse. The trail itself disappears here and there so be careful. Resources there are also scarce. There will be stacked rocks for guidance. Cliff Lake is also a highly used area for backpackers, so resources were scarce. Besides that , absolutely a beautiful place. Great fishing. Great campsites available even though there were multiple groups camping there. If time is enough, try to hike to Dogtooth peak.

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely perfect for my first overnight backpacking trip! The trail was fairly easy to follow, and in places where we were a little unsure, stacked rocks were easily found guiding us in the right direction. The very last segment does include some switchbacks that sort of wind around the stream running down the mountain (for now, probably going to dry up in the next couple weeks) and it is definitely the most difficult park of the hike. It took us 4 hours to get to the lake from the trailhead, with many rests in between. There are many snow patches on the ground still, but plenty of dry spots to camp around the lake. Also, the fishing was great! My husband was able to catch breakfast, lunch and dinner!

1 month ago

I hiked from the gate at the turn off for Court Wright lake. 8.8 miles to the TH then hiked the 4.5 miles to cliff lake. I started towards rock lake but turned around at the top of the ridge because I dropped my sunglasses and all the snow was getting to my eyes. I found my glasses about 2 miles from the TH on the road walk back to my truck

4 months ago

Great campsites near the lake.

backpacking
7 months ago

it was longer than expected, a little over 6 miles from trail head to the lake but well worth it

backpacking
9 months ago

The trail to Cliff Lake is well marked with either stacked rocks or intentionally scarred tress which are marked about five or six feet above ground level. None of the tracks that I have seen online indicate a portion of the trail traversing through switchbacks, but you will go through a short section of them as you get closer to the lake. Just prior to the switchbacks you will begin to wonder if you should continue to follow the stream, or follow the defined trail. Follow the trail so you don't have to bushwhack. The last mile and a half of the trail will definitely test your resolve!

Fishing in the lake was productive with the proper tackle. Mosquitoes were an issue, so I treated my clothes with Permethrin prior to the trip. Between that, bug spray, and a bug net, we were fine. Absolutely beautiful lake and campsites. I do wish the mosquitoes weren't so bad on the western end in the grassy meadow.

backpacking
9 months ago

Great place for overnight backpacking trip!

11 months ago

The trail was beautiful, it was marked fine in my opinion. There were mosquitoes but if you sprayed stuff on you, it was fine. There was a significant number of people camping out by the lake. We backpacked in and spent the night. The next morning we did a day hike up further past Cliff Lake to one of he Dinkey Lakes. I wish we would have camped there instead, it was much quieter. We then went back up and hiked up to Dogtooth Peak, gorgeous views from there. I recommend this place.

backpacking
11 months ago

On the third decade of July, 2017 myself with three other folks had a backpacking tour to the Cliff Lake from the trail head at Courtright Reservoir. It is very beautiful trail along crystal clear creak to the lake through the wonderful sierra forest. Mosquitoes were pretty active from sunset to dawn. Under the sunlight on hike we did not have any significant problems with mosquitoes. We found that DETA based 30% repellent works for a hour or so then needs to be re-applied. Mosquito Head Net solves the problem but limits some freedom...
Our other concern was about snow coverage after 2017 snowy winter (two weeks ago we stuck in snow on Tuolumne pass). As it is seen on photos it was a few glaciers on shadowy lake shores and occasional snow packs around trail. It was hot enough that we swim in Cliff Lake and Courtright Reservoir.
Trail is marked and seen quite well up to the Cliff Lake. Just before Cliff Lake it forks for two, as shown on all maps. The one which goes to the Rock Lake is good, although sometimes it is hard to find it on stony ground. Another one, which presumably goes along the lake, disappears soon after the fork and all directions look like equally good trail.
Next day we had a nice hike without heavy backpacks along the Dinkey Lakes trail and visited Rock, 1st and 2-nd Dinkey, South, and Swede Lakes. Nature is astonishing there. Unfortunately all summits there are covered by trees obscuring the view. A short climbing from summit between Cliff and Rock lakes to the top of the cliff is easy enough and bring me in an open space with magnificent views on all surrounding lakes and High Sierra mountains.
In summary, all of our team were very excited about this trip.

11 months ago

Trail was poorly marked and difficult to follow. My buddy and I went bushwacking several times. The terrain is also quite rough as there is a lot of sharp river rock and boulders to walk over and through. Finally, the mosquitos were some of the worst I've ever seen, absolutely relentless. There are a lot of nicer trails to better lakes. I'd skip this one.

backpacking
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I really enjoyed this trail back in May of 2016 for Memorial Day weekend. Snow pack still on the ground in some places, but trail and markers were easy to navigate. This was my first family back backing adventure. I see this hike being great for hikers of all skill sets. Want to do again and go deeper into the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness.

backpacking
Monday, June 20, 2016

This was our first backpacking trip. The lake and surrounding areas where so beautiful. We will be going back again.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I hiked this trail with three of my girlfriends… we hiked it in middle of July. The weather was cool mid 60s. I think 5 miles is probably pretty accurate. It was harder and further than we all thought but so much more beautiful than we could've ever imagined. There were lush green meadows sprinkled of wildflowers most likely due to the recent rains. The trail had stunning forest and lake views on the way up. Dress in layers, wear good shoes, and take water and food-great day hike!

camping
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hiked in and camped for a couple of nights in early June. Trail was easy to follow and well maintained. It's a solid 5 mile hike with some decent elevation change the last mile or so to the lake. The trail also starts above Courtright and drops for the first 1.4 miles. Don't discount this, it was tougher than I thought on the way back out.

We had the full gamut of weather during our brief stay... massive thunderstorms, hail, snow, and rain each afternoon along with a fair share of sunshine in the morning and clear skies at night.

We snagged a wonderful campsite that had a great fire pit up against a huge granite boulder. Great views and best of all, NO mosquitoes. Pretty sure it was the weather that kept them at bay, it certainly wasn't hot at any time. The highest temperature was probably in the mid-60's and it dropped into the low 30's at night. All in all a very enjoyable trip. Quite possibly my new favorite place. Another big plus of this trailhead is that the road in is very nicely paved all the way to the TH parking lot.

hiking
Monday, August 11, 2014

Went mid-August. No bugs and mid-70s heat. The trail from trail head to lake seem longer than the 2.75 miles listed here, would estimate closer to 4. Good cover along the way with some good forest views. Views at the lake are spectacular and well worth the trip. Wear good hiking shoes and bring a water filter if temps climb

hiking
Sunday, August 10, 2014

did this trail as a day hike... it seems like it's longer than 5.5 miles! but trail is well maintained and the last 4 miles up to cliff lake is all up hill and plenty of loose rocks "so watch your step!" definitely made me stop for a few breathers! but cliff lake is awesome and well worth it! the overall trail was pretty difficult for me...

hiking
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Easy trail. Very well marked and maintained.

hiking
Friday, February 14, 2014

Cliff lake is absolutely beautiful! Well worth all the mosquitoes (which are pretty bad in the month of July). Camped at Courtright and hiked to cliff lake just for the day. Too bad the only way to camp there is if you have backpacking gear or a horse. Went swimming in the lake, also did some fishing.

camping
Monday, July 29, 2013

Great trip for the weekend. Trail well marked and maintained. Fishing is amazing all season, caution to those who don't care for mosquitoes, be sure to go later in the year.

hiking
Monday, July 08, 2013

Awesome hike and beautiful area. Great campsites along the lake. Would be 5 stars but the mosquitos were horrible.

backpacking
1 month ago

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backpacking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

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10 months ago

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