Crabtree Trail to Bear Lake

MODERATE 53 reviews

Crabtree Trail to Bear Lake is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pinecrest, California that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from September until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1020 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

bugs

rocky

snow

backpacking
2 days ago

Just went this past weekend with my 9 year old. We had a great time and would definitely come back again. Day 1: Crabtree TH to Bear Lake, Day 2: Bear Lake to Granite Lake, Day 3: Granite Lack back down to Crabtree TH

8 days ago

Took my 3 pre teens on this hike from Thursday to Saturday. We stayed at the mostly empty campground at trailhead on Thursday night. I recommend filling your bottles up at the bridge, cuz there aren’t any clean water sources after it. It’s 3.5 miles of predominantly uphill, and I could tell that was all the kids could do. Bear
Lake is loaded with fish, and my boys had fun casting lures. Dry wood is limited at Bear Lake, so you got to hike for it. I recommend avoiding the weekend, since there were tons of people heading in, when we were heading out. A great hike that we will surely do again in a few years.

13 days ago

Beautiful hike. We did it on a Sunday and most folks were backpackers heading back to their cars. It was very hot on the way back.

backpacking
15 days ago

I returned to this trail on 5/11-5/12, during that time it was cold and very windy we only made it to Camp Lake, i still love this trail seeing as it is only about an hour and 30 from my house.

17 days ago

Just did a day hike to bear lake with my 70 year father. It is a relatively easy trail with some elevation gains. We reached the lake in about 1.5 hours. We are planning on doing some longer over night hikes on Crabtree.

21 days ago

Amazing place. Camped at Camp lake Friday night (rolling fog, mostly wet) and then went on to Bear Lake. There are more to see to this wilderness and can’t wait to explore more.

hiking
21 days ago

Day hiked from Crabtree Trailhead to Bear Lake and back on Memorial Day. Not surprisingly, there were lots of people on the trail the whole way. Great hike though. Unlike what a previous poster said, there were no mosquitoes. Not a single one. Trail was a bit muddy and mushy in places but not bad, and none of the small stream crossings were difficult.

backpacking
24 days ago

Awesome trail! Went for an overnight backpacking trip a week ago. Towards Bear Lake the trail was covered with the fallen trees and melted snow from winter and was a little bit hard to follow but wasn’t hard to maneuver around it. Some elevation gain but not difficult. Beautiful views along the trail, and a small river along most of the hike. There are a lot of good spots to camp along the lake with some fire pits. We had some hail and rain for a few hours once we set up camp but it passed through. Definitely a great overnight spot to camp!

backpacking
25 days ago

Bring lots of insect repellant, the mosquitoes are ruthless and have carried off small pets

backpacking
7 months ago

We went out for backpacking and fishing for 2 nights, 3 days. Fun trail, seen some wildlife. Beautiful views and lakes. Not too successful with the fish tho. lol

backpacking
8 months ago

Great hike, just backpacked it Sept. 29 - october 1st, fun hike for all levels of hiking experience

backpacking
9 months ago

south trail has larger and more creek crossings than north trail

backpacking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike. Took our first family backpacking trip here from a Sunday-Tuesday. The kids (15, 13, and almost 7 years) and my husband did great- although 6 y/o didn't carry his pack the whole way. :) A nice mix of uphill/downhill both ways, although a little more uphill on way in. Moderate seems about the right rating. FYI- There is a 1-night camping restriction at Camp Lake and Bear Lake... and not really good water sources to camp anywhere between the two lakes. Lots of great campsites at Bear Lake with fire pits. We only saw 2 other parties camping- felt like we had the place to ourselves. We had a great time jumping off rocks into Bear Lake on Monday. A little weather- rain, thunder and lightning on the hike in, thunder and lightning on Monday afternoon but the storm blew over us. A friend told me the mosquitos would be bad but we had no problems at all (a few- no need for bug spray even!). Also, the Mi-Wuk ranger station is closed except for Fridays now, so you have to get your wilderness pass at the Summit Ranger station. Large parking lot with pit toilets at the Crabtree trailhead.

10 months ago

Great hiking.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice trail, fairly easy. Not too exposed. Went during the week and only ran into a handful of people. Very dusty and lots of horse poop though.

10 months ago

Beautiful hike

11 months ago

The most beautidul hike I have been on so far! Lots of scenery. I went during the week in September in 2014 and there was little to no one there.

hiking
11 months ago

We left SF on Friday after work and drove to Mi-Wuk Village and spent the night at an Airbnb. In the morning we headed to the Summit Rangers Station to pick up the permit waiting for us in the mailbox and then had a short drive to the Crabtree Trailhead. The actual trailhead was closed due to hazardous tree removal, but we were able to park (along with maybe 20 other cars) along the side of the road. We hiked in to Bear Lake with beautiful weather. Along the way we stopped at Camp Lake for dip. After setting up camp at Bear Lake we scrambled up the slope towards the Gianelli trail (which was covered in snow) and looped back around. The next morning we hiked out with another relaxing stop at Camp Lake. When we got back to the road side parking, the amount of cars had probably quadrupled.

backpacking
11 months ago

Great hike, we did it this weekend, no problems in terms of snow. Camped at bear lake. Also, if you plan to go further: it was hard to get to Piute meadows. Some people made the river crossings, but was a bit too much water for us.

backpacking
Sunday, April 02, 2017

nice trail trail. Quickest way into the Emigrant Wilderness. Bear lake is a nice little lake with decent fishing. Popular camp sites , so it gets crowded at times.

hiking
Friday, November 25, 2016

Wonderful hike. I loved the rolling granite hills. Lots of sun exposure but there were trees all around; the lakes were great respites. What I liked most was that you could just keep going and connect through to other routes. The trail is fairly obvious but there weren't many markers. The most ambiguous area is between Camp and Bear Lakes where the sandy trail criss-crosses with a stream. It's hard to tell what is the stream bank and what is the trail (I'd say to follow your gut, the stream leads the way).
Nov 5/2016

hiking
Saturday, September 17, 2016

I love this trail! One my all time favorites. Camp lake is breathtakingly beautifully!

backpacking
Saturday, September 17, 2016

I've hiked out of the Crabtree Trailhead a few times, typically following the Crabtree trail east to Gem, Jewelry and Deer lakes and crossing down to a parallel trail to the south (trailhead at the Pine Valley horse camp) for the return trip, usually camping at Grouse Lake the last night before hiking out. I don't recommend the reverse journey, as there is a pretty long ascent from Grouse lake to the upper Lakes without many water sources.

Deer lake is absolutely stunning.

Mosquitoes can be pretty gnarly early in the summer, though they typically fall off pretty dramatically late in the season.

Also, if taking the lower trail back out to Crabtree (heading west), the "official" trail back has you climb 500ft in less than a mile - there is a much easier (though slightly longer) way back if you keep heading towards the Pine Valley horse hamp.

hiking
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I and my hiking partner hiked from the Crabtree Trailhead to Camp Lake last Saturday afternoon. (NOTE: This is NOT the route that the original backpackers took.) I logged the hike with another app that is not compatible with AllTrails. So, here is my written report.

The distance from the Crabtree Trailhead sign, at the parking area, to the near edge of Camp Lake logged in as 2.42 miles (one way) and took us 57 minutes. There was an appreciable elevation gain of 573 feet, starting from about 7200 feet. The second climb, starting at just less than a mile from the trailhead, was fairly long and made me puff. It's about a half-mile incline here. Once you are up on the top the elevation changes were small in comparison, with the last climb getting you up to Camp Lake. It's a fairly small lake but very nice to rest at. We had considered continuing on to the larger Bear Lake (about a mile further) but chose to just stay and enjoy the day. The flowers were out, the breeze was wafting, and all was well.

The trail was kept in fairly good shape, and was mostly shaded. Horses also use this much hiked trail, so be observant.

backpacking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nine men ranges mid 30's to late 40's hiked this trail. Eight out of nine were first timers. The trail research lead us to believe it would be a moderate hike. Some spots are on the way out to Camp Lake and Bear Lake. Everything after Bear Lake up to Gem can get a little more difficult for first times at different physicality levels. Still, very doable. Five of us continued to Gem after taking in the beauty of the prior three lakes. We camped at mosquito infested Gem one night. Great camp site on Granite. Not many other campers. Mosquitoes are no joke there however so take more repellent than you would normally carry. Two passing hikers headed home generous to give us their remaining repellant to make it through our 4 day adventure. Fishing at Gem sucked. No bites out of 5 poles. Next day, two guys headed to Dear Lake and Three headed back to Camp Lake to meet up w/the remaining four guys. Dear lake was reported beautiful and the guys killed it fishing (go figure). It's true, saw the pic's of many fish. They also got a photo op of a large Black Bear headed away from them. Quite a few badgers near the trail were no bother either but cool to see. Few fish were caught at Bear and Camp lake but a great trip over all, key points, mosquitos, pack light, and don't count on catching just fishing. The rocky areas 20-30 yards from camp lake have great camp spots w less mosquitos and outstanding views. Bear Lake is probably the best option for large groups bug can be a little crowded. Bear Lake is the better for stream fishing and swimming.

backpacking
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I did this loop solo, setting out early from Crabtree Trailhead. Note that there's a campsite at the trailhead, making it easy to reach the trailhead Friday night and start hiking early on Saturday morning. Being alone, I powered through the milage on both days in about 3/4 hours. Lots of exposure (specifically hiking on flat, slabby rock for much of both days), and lots of picturesque mountain lakes. I camped at Long Lake for the night; had it all to myself. It was quiet, a bit breezy, and the lake itself was serene.

hiking
Sunday, June 01, 2014

A buddy and I backpacked this area on Memorial Day weekend 2014. We started at the Crabtree trailhead and headed in going down into the valley and crossing cherry creek (tricky this time of year). We were able to cross it without wading but it was like a maze trying to find a dry route to hop over all the fingers of the stream.
We found a slight trail that led up to gem lake which was pretty packed with people and seemed to have a good amount of fish as well. We hiked down out of gem to the other parallel trail and had to wade cherry creek that time. We bushwhacked up piute creek for a ways then headed up the slabs to granite lake. Packing into this area will definitely get your heart pumping, but if you want solitude, you'll get it. There were no others at granite (8600 ft) and half of the lake shore was snow despite the nice temperatures.
Overall it is a beautiful area and reminded me of Yosemite. I'm sure it would be less busy the farther you go in from the trailhead.
P.s. Bring strong mosquito repellant!

hiking
9 days ago

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