Five Lakes Trail

MODERATE 283 reviews
#4 of 145 trails in

Five Lakes Trail is a 4.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Alpine Medows, 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 and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1092 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

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.

hiking
3 days ago

Great trail, uphill and unshaded until the lakes so beware of that. Lakes are very pretty, though you have to get through some brush to get to more than the first one. Trails around the lakes were often wiped out by the winter weather or fallen trees, and you couldn’t see or find these trails easily. Big snow patches were still on the ground in early June when I did that trail.

hiking
6 days ago

Awesome hike! Pretty steep going up to the lakes, but a great workout. The lakes are beautiful! There were helicopters flying over head every few minutes too!

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike, lots of sun and up hill most of the first bit.

hiking
20 days ago

New to the area but this is one amazing hike! Only made it to the first lake because we started around 4:15pm and didn't know how long it would be until we lose sunlight. Made it back to the car around 6:45pm. Snow at the 1st lake but wow what awesome views. I can't say enough great things about this awesome hike. Jealous of the people that live close by! Bring Jackets, waterproof boots and lots of water!

1 month ago

Great to take your dog here. Great hike and easy for kids.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice walk up to the first snowfields, but had trouble finding the trail. Trust the footprints in the snow to keep you on track. Got as far as the first lake, but the snow started to get rotten and we turned back to avoid post holing. Only saw a couple other hikers.

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing Trail here one of my favorites so far!!

snowshoeing
4 months ago

I chose this trail and location for my first foray into snowshoe backpack winter camping.
Before I describe the trip and trail I will leave a word of caution: don’t park at the trailhead anywhere during the winter months. You will get “snow towed.“ I did!
Despite that headache, I had an awesome time blazing Pristine trails through 8 inches of fresh powder, which had just dropped the preceding week prior to my Saturday morning trip.
Despite being obscured by the snow, the trail was easy to follow and AllTrails map is spot on.
Gorgeous winter-scape and views. See pics.

4 months ago

Beautiful hike not to bad of an elevation gain

hiking
5 months ago

Although there were a few spots I wished I had yakttax on, this was a wonderful hike. I was amazed by the frozen lake with a snowman built on it. The views are spectacular.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful mountainous hike.

5 months ago

Great hike. The first 100 yards were a bit icy given the time of year but after that the trail was clear to the top.

6 months ago

Great hike with stellar views. Have shoes that can handle snow y slush (it was a warm December day). Casual incline. Do it.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice short hike. A lot of switch backs since the start of hike is a very rapid ascent. Lots of slushy snow and melted ice causing wet boots. Need to come back in the summer since too much snow at the top to make it enjoyable without proper foot wear. Also no where to park except side of the road.

Signs that state: private property. Thankful to the owner that allows us to hike on this property.

There are also signs of Avalanche warnings!

You are in between squaw valley and within alpine meadows resorts so you’ll hear a lot of cars from the freeway and also pass by ski lifts on your way up. Don’t expect a private hike during winter ski season.

Good place for summer hiking but not for winter.

hiking
6 months ago

We did the five lakes trail hike with our kids (5 & 9) end of November and it was great. The trail is challenging when snow covered, but fun. It was just the right level for our kids. But you want to make sure to wear proper hiking shoes. The trail offers Great nature and views. The only downside: there are no garbage bins, so many people dispose their dog poop bags along the trail... or just leave their dog's droppings behind.

hiking
7 months ago

It was awesome!

7 months ago

Love this trail!!! Amazing views. Started hike in am so little icy in spots...slushy in others, but turns into fun snow near the top.

hiking
7 months ago

A bit slushy right now in the first mile or two. Would probably be better with a bit more snowfall. Have also done it in summer and it was great.

8 months ago

Love it

hiking
9 months ago

I enjoyed the views of the alpine lakes near the end of the hike, great place to sit and eat a lunch. The ascent isn't as spectacular as there is little to no cover/shade. We hiked on a Sunday and there were a ton of hikers. Plus, the fact that chair lifts are all around you takes away from wilderness factor in my opinion.

Pretty end point, pretty forgetful ascent. Busy/crowded

9 months ago

Daily trail always awesome with the prize at the top

9 months ago

What a hike! Uphill for most of the trail but well worth the climb.

hiking
9 months ago

My family did this hike Labor Day weekend. This was a good hike, the beginning was a challenge. An uphill battle, coupled with the hot sun! There is a stretch that is completely exposed, it felt like a good while before we were in the shade again. Bring a lot of water. My husband and I brought our two little ones. He had an Osprey Child Carrier for our 2 yr old and I wore our baby, 4 months old, in a Tula carrier. They did very well on the hike, we just made sure to go hard for as long as they could handle and took as many breaks as they needed. Which, to our surprise, wasn't many! Our toddler wanted to walk most of the hike, and our baby slept in the Tula for most of the hike. We picnicked and swam at the Lake, but bring slippers or water shoes if you are going in the lake, the rocks hurt bad! Lol
Also, if you have a bit of a load like we did, make sure to use trekking poles. They were a tremendous help in balance, and helped take the load off the legs a little.
BTW, we both have nothing but good things to say about both carriers. The Osprey Poco AG is as light as it can be for as strong as it has to be. And my daughter was so comfortable in it. The Tula is also amazing. My baby feels as though she is being held or hugged the whole time, and she would fall asleep so fast once we would get started. And a plus, they were both very comfortable for myself and my husband to wear. Just make sure you take the time to really adjust them to fit you properly.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice hike. Great views. Basically a up and back, climb up walk back down about 2 or so miles each way. I would not recommend for fishing as it seems like the lakes are shallow enough to freeze solid in the winter, no signs of fish that I saw. Pretty lakes though. When the main trail hits the first lake if you keep left you will see the others, or check the map.

hiking
9 months ago

this was a beautiful hike. biggest downside was all the people! otherwise, really good challenge. mostly uphill from the start, and pretty exposed. bring lots of water!! the lakes were beautiful, and the views and rocks were amazing. definitely worth the challenge!

hiking
9 months ago

Not too hard to get to the Five Lakes, mostly uphill. Took us 46 minutes to get to the end of this trail. Would do it again.

9 months ago

Great views nice breezes. Water was fantastic. Most refreshing. Have hiked five lakes multiple times and will do it again.

9 months ago

The ascent in the beginning is steep then at about 1.2 miles it levels out. You are exposed at this point and it is hot. Had to turn back .5 mile from first lake. The heat got to one of us in our group. All is good. Otherwise beautiful hike and amazing views.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice hike. Hot and steep early on with the serenity of the lake to soak your feet at your halfway point or go for a dip if you desire. Still snow in August above Alpine Meadows.

9 months ago

A good chunk of the elevation is done in the first mile or so. The views after that are breathtaking. The lake was fairly warm (end of August) and great to swim in. Highly recommended!

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