Dinkey Lakes Trail

MODERATE 47 reviews
#4 of 71 trails in

Dinkey Lakes Trail is a 6.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Shaver Lake, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
925 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bridge out

bugs

snow

1 month ago

The bridge to this hike is out, so it’s necessary to take a different route off the 168 through the Tamarack Ridge turn off. It’s best to call the forest service prior to driving there for more specific recommendations. We were told the bridge would be repaired no earlier than summer 2018. This route is definitely best done in a 4WD vehicle, especially the last 2 miles.
This is my favorite hike in all of California. It’s not too strenuous yet there is incredible beauty. If you have the stamina, definitely do the off shoot trail to Island, Second, Rock Lakes. If you only do the loop, it can be completed in under 3 hours. If you add the extra trail, add 1-2 hours depending on how long you want to explore these higher alpine lakes. We tried to drive here once in July and the roads were still closed due to snow. We’ve hiked it in August, September and today. Today was a bit chilly. August and September are probably the best months. Be ready for unexpected summer storms though. Overall, be ready to be awed by the Sierras at their best.

backpacking
1 month ago

I've read multiple reviews that mention the bridge being out on 9S10 from Rock Creek Road. However, You can go in from the Tamarack Snow Park off of Hwy. 168 (Tollhouse) and follow Rock Creek Rd. from the west side of the Tamarack Ridge. It takes almost an hour to get to the trailhead from the Snow Park and the road is VERY rough (I wouldn't take a passenger car), but that is way better than adding six miles to your trip by hiking in from the damaged bridge.

Now about the Dinkey Lakes Trail. I really enjoyed the hike. Go clockwise for a much easier go of things. Beautiful scenery. No mosquitoes in the end of September 2017 because of snow the week prior.
Other reviewers are correct about the trail. It is really easy to get lost between First Dinkey Lake and South Lake. There are little rabbit trails running all over the place and before you know it, you'll be heading off to Second Dinkey Lake and Rock Lake instead of the Dinkey Loop. My best advice is to hug the north and east shorelines of First Dinkey Lake until you pick up the more prominent trail. Other than that, the entire loop is awesome!

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

Done this trail in the past and it's great. But the road is closed with a sign that says the bridge is out. Oh well!

backpacking
2 months ago

Hiked in from the closed bridge. There was still a lot of snow mounds and the creeks and waterfalls were cool.
I'd give it 5 stars except there were so many people and 4 wheelers.

backpacking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail, and the lakes are all close enough together that you don't have to hike far before you're treated to another gorgeous scene. The short distances make this a very leisurely backpacking trip--this might be my first trip where I can say that I didn't leave feeling destroyed! I shared more about our trip in a blog post: http://chrisdoesthings.com/2017/08/04/dinkey-lakes-backpacking-trip/

hiking
3 months ago

Fun, easy, and beautiful trail. Make sure to hike to Island and Fingerbowl lakes. Wild flowers in abundance. While First Dinkey Lake can get crowded the other lakes are less so.

Fun, easy, and beautiful trail. Make sure to hike to Island and Fingerbowl lakes. Wild flowers in abundance. While First Dinkey Lake can get crowded the other lakes are less so.

4 months ago

Well marked trail except if you stop by any of the lakes. There are other trails that circle the lakes. It was a little difficult for us to find our way back on the main trail.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Loved this hike! Not easy to get to the trailhead, but totally worth it. Beware of the mosquitoes!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike! Loved it! Getting up there is a challenge but worth it!

backpacking
4 months ago

Been here many times. Do yourself a favor and start at the ranger station in Prather to get a permit and a free detailed map to navigate the rough 10 mi 4WD trails between Hwy 168 & Willow Meadow Trailhead. There is a way around the closed bridge. If you are hiking the loop, finding the beginning point of the trail can be confusing. Stay left walking out of the parking lot toward the trail. Start on the left side of Dinkey Creek and stay left of the creek all the way to 1st Dinkey. This is the easier direction of the loop due to the steep stair climb between Swede & South lakes. There was some snow on the trails but it is melting fast and will be gone any day. The Mosquitoes were as bad as ever so bring a head net and extra bug spray. Lots of swampy areas so make sure your boots are waterproof. Fishing was excellent as always at 1st Dinkey, South, Rock & Cliff. Slow at Island and dead at Fingerbowl although it is well worth the effort to hike up for the views and a bonus was snowplay for the kids at Fingerbowl under the Three Sisters peaks.

backpacking
4 months ago

We walked in from the closed bridge on Rock Creek Road, adding 6 miles to each end of a 1 night trip.
The trail disapeared between Mystery Lake and Swede Lake. We used GPS coordinates to find the second lake on our junket.
From there the trails were pretty clear. The trail at Mystery Lake has mystified me on each of my trips to the area however, it would be nice if it were ribboned or otherwisw marked - and clear of the marsh!

4 months ago

Took alternate route from tamarack ridge to get to trailhead due to damaged bridge on usual route. Portions of trail by lakes and snow were very muddy or filled with water. Had to find alternate routes numerous times. Lakes and creeks were beautiful. Good fishing at swede lake and island lake. Looking forward to coming back again. 4x4 definitely helpful on dirt road out. At least need awd.

5 months ago

As of July 9th, 2017, the bridge on rd 9S10 is closed (looks like a tree fell and hit it?) about 5.5 miles from the trailhead. I don't believe there is an alternative route to the lakes.

backpacking
5 months ago

I gave this 5 stars because, even though we didn't actually make it to the trailhead due to a tremendous amount of snow, we had an absolutely epic 18+ mile trip trying! Rock Creek Road was gated, so we figured we would just hike the whole damn thing back to the trail. It felt like it was uphill in the snow both ways. Camped at some truly wild spots, had some amazing campfires, a ton of laughs... and a fair share of suffering too. Nothing like spending most of your time surviving to help you out with some gratitude for the things you do have in your daily life. Can't wait for them to clear the road and get a little snow melt so we can actually get back there and fish those lakes.

As of Memorial Day weekend, if you want to get back to the trailhead and visit the lakes, bring snowshoes and be prepared to get your hike on.

5 months ago

This is one of my favorites! I love that it's a loop, love that it's dog friendly, and love the lakes along the way. The only con is that it's a bit of a drive but it's worth it! Take a car you don't mind beating up or take a vehicle with clearance and drive slow.