Crabtree Trail to Bear Lake

MODERATE 73 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
1,020 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

bugs

rocky

snow

hiking
7 days ago

Definitely will be doing this trail again. We only went to camp lake this day but will be back to continue to bear lake. The beginning is mostly incline and was heavily traveled with a few large groups. Once at the lake we explored a bit. It is worth while to hike up to the ridge to see the views.

backpacking
7 days ago

Hiked this as an overnight backpacking trip with my family: two girls, ages 13 and 15, and mid 40s wife. We did so over Labor Day weekend and were not expecting big crowds at the Crabtree trailhead. Fortunately, we were able to find a nice campsite at the lake. Most folks had already set up at the south end (where the trail enters the lake) but there are a lot more spots if you continue north/left. Fuel here is at a minimum. Also, it's easy to pick up that this is a popular spot (toilet paper, bit of trash, no low limbs on trees, etc). Overall, a nice beginner's backpacking trip. The lake itself was quite warm at this time of year and good for a dip.

1 month ago

Loved it.

1 month ago

we only made it to Camp Lake but it was great!

1 month ago

Good place to take your little ones for a hike and camping trip. It’s gets very packed with people on the weekends!

hiking
2 months ago

Did this as an overnight backpacking trip with 8 in mid September 2017. Perfect hike for some first time backpackers that were on the trip. The trail is well marked and there are plenty of scenic spots to stop. We started around noon and made it to camp leisurely far before sunset. The southeast side of Bear Lake was pretty crowded since we started late. We continued clockwise off trail to the northeast side of the lake and were able to find a nice, secluded spot to camp.

Spent the Friday night before an Pinecrest campground, a great campground 30-40min drive from the trailhead.

backpacking
2 months ago

easy trail to bear lake, great trip for dogs! Campsites were pretty filled up by saturday, so i’d suggest leaving early friday morning.

backpacking
3 months 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

3 months 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.

3 months 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
3 months 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.

3 months 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.

3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago

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

backpacking
10 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
11 months ago

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

backpacking
Friday, September 15, 2017

south trail has larger and more creek crossings than north trail

backpacking
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Great hiking.

hiking
Wednesday, August 02, 2017

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.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Beautiful hike

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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
Saturday, July 01, 2017

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
Monday, June 26, 2017

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.

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