Five Lakes Trail is a 5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Olympic Valley, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, horses, and snowshoeing and is best used from June until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,118 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

Nestled in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness peaks just north of Lake Tahoe, the Five Lakes promise dramatic yet tranquil surroundings, a place to relax, fish, or swim. Best visited after the snow has retreated in the summer, the Five Lakes Trail is one of the easiest and most accessible hikes in the Granite Chief Wilderness so you're unlikely to have this trail to yourself. Don't be disheartened if the trail is busy however, as the lakes themselves allow for plenty of chances for quiet and solitude. Great views, beautiful wildflowers, and plenty of room for exploration. It's like a playground but better. Stretching is encouraged since almost all of the elevation gain is accrued during the first mile or so of the hike. Once at the lakes, you can take it easy, swim, eat, and lay out, or you can continue on and hike around the ski resort, or head west or south and hit up the PCT and other trails. Ample parking can be found alongside the road both before and after the trailhead.

hiking
19 minutes ago

Great find. First mile is tough (uphill) but it gets easier. Easily worth it! FYI- there is no formal marked loop around the lakes. We ended up with an additional 0.5-0.7 miles (5.5ish total) after we made our way around. Not much snow left now. Started to get really busy around noon.

hiking
snow
6 days ago

Great hike! Lots of rock formations. Lots of people/dogs too. Kind of difficult to follow trail in some places by the lakes due to snow

hiking
13 days ago

Popular trail. We must have shared it with 50 dogs today! The first mile is hard going, as it's up, up, up, but it's perfectly doable for everyone in okay shape. It's family-friendly too; we passed lots of children, some around 3 or 4 years old. It's clear until just before the first lake and then you hit the snow. It's easy to get to the first lake, but the snow is a bit more of a challenge thereafter. It's melting fast though. I imagine it'll be completely clear before too long. A great way to pass a couple of hours, have a picnic at the lake and enjoy the views.

hiking
muddy
off trail
snow
13 days ago

hiking
icy
14 days ago

Easy to find, lots of mountain springs. Lots of dogs! About 5-10 minutes from the top it got dicey: slippery snow and path disappears. Had experienced hikers with us and they turned around. But a beautiful view and hike until then.

hiking
off trail
snow
15 days ago

This hike had some pretty epic views. After first I was a little disappointed bc you can see the road and houses for the first bit of the hike but once you get high enough the mountains open up and it’s just gorgeous. Definitely need water proof boots if you want to explore around the lakes bc it’s still all snow. If you bring snowshoes you could get off the beaten path even more. There’s so many options for exploring around. I didn’t bring trekking poles and don’t think they’re necessary. My dog had a blast jumping around in the snow and swimming in the lake

hiking
snow
21 days ago

Beautiful trail. Took an hour and a half to get up to the lakes. Recommend waterproof hiking boots and poles as the snow is slushy and slippery at the top. Was windy at the top so recommend layers. Lakes are mostly frozen but you can find a dry area at the water edge to stop and take it all in.

hiking
28 days ago

Great hike! Still a bunch of snow at the top, but a great way to spend the day!

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
1 month ago

Great challenging hike! Great views! There is snow for the majority of the hike. Very slick and makes things difficult. Definitely recommend good hiking shoes and trekking poles. Had packed a lunch and planned to stop at the top and relax for a bit but everything is covered in snow and the lakes are not visible right now. Will be better in the coming weeks once the snow melts.

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Very pretty views! Towards the end of the trail it is covered in snow, but there are some tracks so you can find your way to the lakes which are frozen over. Not much room to sit down unless you want to sit in the snow! Still enjoyed it. Definitely wear hiking boots and maybe have trekking poles if you are not the most steady hiker :)

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Trailed opened yesterday. In the beginning small patches of snow. Totally passable. Towards the top is snow but you can get to the lakes. Beautiful hike and worth the wet feet. Waterfalls and streams were flowing. I wore shorts and trail runners. Go for it!!

hiking
closed
private property
snow
2 months ago

I assume this trail is magical when it’s open, but during the winter months, expect it to be closed. Luckily, there are other trail heads nearby, so you can still winter hike if you choose.

hiking
no shade
rocky
6 months ago

First solo National Forest hike. Beautiful, changing scenery! Most of the hiking is uphill and I definitely used my trekking poles but I also saw everyone from 30 years older to 30 years younger than me scrambling the trail just fine. A picnic is a nice treat when reaching the lake at the top.

hiking
7 months ago

Cold and windy day with beautiful views. The trail gets a bit hard to follow once you reach the lakes.

hiking
over grown
rocky
7 months ago

Like the trail, views were great. Lots of people on this trail, so you never felt secluded which was a bummer. Got lost going off the mail trail because the loop isn’t marked or very obvious. Lots of trees down in that area too!

hiking
7 months ago

Loved it, beautiful day on the trail

hiking
bugs
no shade
7 months ago

Nice and easy trail. Some parts have no shade but others do. There are gnats or some similar type of bug up at the lakes. Pretty nice!

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