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Five Lakes Trail

MODERATE 647 reviews
#2 of 195 trails in

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
no shade
rocky
19 days 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

Loved it, beautiful day on the trail

hiking
bugs
no shade
1 month 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!

hiking
1 month ago

We hike this trail October 8. The air was a perfect cool to keep us from over heating on the 1,100 foot elevation gain over 1.8 miles. No shade on the way up, but lots of shade at the lakes. The uphill is a steady 12% grade with few steps. Cool views of Alpine Meadows and the back side of a couple Squaw Valley lifts.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Hard to find the trail up by the lake but worth it for the view. Got here just before 8 and was completely alone. On the way down it was super crowded. Get here early if you like peace and quiet with your nature.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike though it’s not well marked at the top once you reach the lakes. Check your gps or you may get a bit off track. The lakes are stunning as are the views both along the way and at the top. Plenty to explore around the lakes if you want to add mileage.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was a great morning hike with the dog. Highly recommended.

recorded Recording - Sep 08, 04:38 PM

hiking
2 months ago

the all-trails version of this trail goes pretty far off-trail to the lakes.

hiking
3 months ago

great hike for any time of the day. shade for lots of the hike. lake at the end is beautiful.

hiking
3 months ago

sunny exposed uphill at the beginning. bring water. the lakes are in a chill valley with shade. gorgeous little hike!

hiking
3 months ago

Great sand/gravel trail with an immediate uphill climb! Some parts of the trail require good foot maneuvering. Once you hit the trees at the top covered in moss you made it. Loop around for at least 4/5 lakes. Did it over Labor Day weekend and it was plenty busy! Loved it.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Very well groomed trail straight up to the 5 lakes. Lakes are not easy to find and no markings. You will walk at least a mile finding the lakes in total we walked 6 miles in 3 hours. No traffic and nice intermediate hike.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

We started at 9:00 am, heading up the sunny climb while it was relatively cool. Swam in the first lake, and followed the signs in the woods to the other lakes. The trails on the AllTrails maps do not show you exactly how to get to the other lakes(which are beautiful!), but there are wooden signs that you can follow. Note: hikers we saw starting as we were finishing were in for a very hot climb. Go early!

hiking
bugs
private property
3 months ago

We did it in the middle of a hot day (not the best idea) but it was nice and short. The fifth lake is definitely the swim spot! The others were more like ponds with no sandy beach. We went in late July 2019 and there was still some patches of snow melting into the lakes, but still warm and swimmable on a hot summer day!

hiking
3 months ago

Highly recommend coming early for this trail. We came around 8 am in the summer and it was cool and less crowded. We had our dog off leash too! The first bit is a steady climb but wasn’t as bad of a climb as some other places I’ve been to. Once this patch is over, it’s relatively flat. We managed to go to all lakes or at least past by them all. Our dog was eager to take a dip and swam in a couple. The hike is beautiful with lots of nice scenery, rock formations and foliage. It started getting crowded as we headed back down and some of the paths are narrow so you have to wait for traffic.

hiking
3 months ago

Steady ascent for 2.5 miles with little shade. Beautiful mountain view’s. At the top, you are rewarded with cool shade and serenity of the forest and lakes. Lovely place to have lunch and cool off. A sign at the second lake indicated no lakes beyond the second one (Perhaps they were dried up for the summer). Regardless, we didn’t even try to find lakes 3-5. It would have required some bushwhacking and the likelihood of getting lost. Overall a great hike but take lots of water for that climb!

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail with amazing views! Heavily trafficked is correct. Bummer that there were quite a few bags of dog poop along trail. Definitely a family-friendly trail. Slick from sand/rocks in some spots. Will do again for sure!

hiking
3 months ago

Great!!!. Hot in the sun.

hiking
3 months ago

great views, great weather lots and lots of people. would rate it more easy/moderate

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

A great escape from the heat; it was overcast when I went. Perfect for dogs. Would advise boots as there is a lot of loose gravel.

hiking
no shade
off trail
over grown
rocky
4 months ago

Beautiful lakes. I saw all 5 on the loop around. If you do the loop around (instead of trailing back on yourself after lake 2), definitely use this app to see lakes 3-5. The “loop around” is not a trail and it’s unmarked, and you go through brush and it’s easy to get lost without the app’s gps. But if you stay on the trail the whole time by doubling back on yourself, you’ll be fine without it. Most was full sun. Some bugs, but not bad. Lakes were gorgeous and warm enough to swim. No snow on trails, but some snow by lake #3. Hiked 8/7/19.

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