Indian Pools Trail

EASY 66 reviews
#6 of 85 trails in

Indian Pools Trail is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Big Creek, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.3 miles
636 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips






wild flowers





A nice walk along a river with nice views and places to enjoy nature. Water is cold but if you are brave or overheated this is a great swimming hole.

45 minutes ago

I enjoyed the hike but the trail was not always well marked.

13 days ago

Fun hike. Like others have said it’s easy to lose the actual trail because of boulders, but as long as the creek is on your right, just keep going. Some bouldering if you want to keep the creek in sight. Didn’t go all the way back because of time and smoke from the Ferguson fire but still a good hike. Took a little dip in a larger pool and little fish swam around me. Lots of people at the beginning but less as we continued on. 8/3/18

18 days ago

Beautiful. Definitely a little bit difficult to stay on the trails, but there were plenty of places to stop and rest.

19 days ago

Beautiful trail with so many natural swimming holes and small waterfalls. The trail starts off well-defined but as we continued, we lost the trail multiple times. We had to clamber over massive granite slabs to try to pick up the trail again. Between using All Trails and keeping the water in sight, we always managed to find it again. But our hike ended up being 5.1 miles due to losing the trail multiple times. Wear appropriate footwear!! This is not a flip flop trail. Breathtaking views, lots of water, and no mosquitoes made for a great hike. 7/28/18

20 days ago

Can’t wait to go again and bring our swimsuits. Natural pools are beautiful. No mosquitos spotted. Warm weather in the sun, but consistent breeze and shade cover for much of the hike is present. BUT the trail to the pools seems to stop abruptly in several areas. As long as the river stays to your right you should be able to come upon the trail eventually if you get off of it. The start of the trail is in the back of China Peak. Drive in and head straight back. When you come upon 2 trash cans and a wooden pool you know you’re at the trail head! 7/26/18

1 month ago

short, easy and lots of rocks to climb over! We went with a 3 year old and she loved the rock climbing! and the pools are amazing!

1 month ago

Beautiful scenery! But the trail was incredibly tough to follow! I even downloaded the map from here and we were zig zagging like crazy and climbing over giant rocks trying to find it. So if you’re into creating your own adventure, this is the hike for you! Otherwise, I’d suggest finding another trail. We saw a coyote (at least that’s what we think it was) on the trail and decided to turn back early. There weren’t many people on the trail and it made us a little nervous.

Follow the directions from other reviewers on how to get to the trail head (there is no sign), but it’s at the gravel parking lot at the back of China Peak. There are a couple of trash cans and a wooden pole to mark the start. Even if you don’t make it the whole trail, it’s gorgeous and you see some of the pools very early on! Great weather, too. Hiked on 7/1/18.

2 months ago

Awesome trail, great views of the river. Trails was hard to find at times but, overall great little get away.

2 months ago

A short but fun hike for my family and our dogs. Be forewarned: the water is freezing!

2 months ago

Amazing views of the river throughout the entire hike! Did this with my 10 year old daughter without a problem. Trial is hard to follow at times but as long as you stay near the river, you’ll be fine. Will definitely return as soon as possible!

2 months ago

Awesome trail, but largely unmarked and definitely a choose your own adventure kind of deal, especially towards the end. Great views of the whole valley if you make it all the way to the last waterfall.

2 months ago

Kid friendly for sure. Easy to moderate hike 30 minutes north of shaver lake. Worth the drive from there. Trail was challenging to find at times but as long as you stay near the river you’re good. Didn’t make it past 1 mile as I was on a time limit but worth the mile there and back. I definitely plan on going back to complete.

Views there were amazing with hard running water in late may/2018. Had the opportunity to fish at some pools. Great for family.

2 months ago

First off, thanks to all the previous AllTrails members for the parking recommendations. Directions: go through the China Peak entrance (the gates were open enough to fit a car through). Drive past the following places: the restaurant, the bridge to the lifts, the boat storage, and past the employee mobile homes. You are not there yet--drive on the gravel/dirt lot toward single post and blank sign (see my photo for trailhead entrance). The six of us started in pouring rain (mid-May) and it included kids age 2 and 3 and a spry 75 yr old. Views are certainly a big reason for the 5 stars. The river was raging. The trail itself is about 80% flat with the remaining some rocks to climb over; easily marked but with one or two spots that required a bit of investigation (mostly where there was some granite to get over). Took us 40 minutes to get to the top clearing but we stopped several times for photos and the little ones have small strides. At the main clearing you will see a few stacked rocks (ducks) and a mini chair made from a tree stump. We very carefully dipped our toes in (along a pooled edge) and snow run off isn't for the faint of heart. We went on Monday and were absolutely the only people on the trail. Highly recommend for an easy trail walk with amazing river sights and sounds.

6 months ago

Great easy trail to hike! Love the river. highly recommended.

7 months ago

The trail is beautiful this time of year, just a little snow and ice here and there so be careful going over logs or rocks with ice on them. China peak gates were closed so our family parked across the road and walked in to the trail head. It was worth the extra walking. We have done this trail before but with the closed gate we were the only people hiking it on a Saturday morning.

7 months ago

Really fun trail that is actually 5 miles This app is awesome!!! Without the app there isn't any visible trail to follow after the first 100 yards We spent four hours on the trail and hiking over rocks and taking pictures of the icy creeks The app made it very easy to stay on course

It was in the low 30's today with scattered areas of snow

9 months ago

Amazing view!

9 months ago

Loved it here! Wasn’t hard at all and kids had a good time too!

10 months ago

This trail is really nice. Right along the creek the whole way. We will be back again to do this one. Ideal family trail for all ages. Saw no Poison Oak around at all. Great views of creek pools and lots of granite. Head into China Peak and drive past the employee housing (mobile homes) keep driving to the back of parking lot. Trail head was not marked but you can see the trail if you look around, literally in the very back of the parking area.

11 months ago

We used the directions from alltrails to get to the trailhead. It actually led us to a parking lot that was not the trailhead. we crossed the highway over to the China Peak ski resort and asked the locals how to find the trailhead. come to find out we could have driven all the way up to the trailhead instead of walking to it. Probably only added about three-quarters of a mile each way to the hike but it was through the ski resort and parking lot and was not easy to find unless we asked, which we did several times when we saw people. once we did find the trailhead the trail was very obvious and easy to follow. we had kids with us aged 7 11 and 13. as well as our two dogs. we took the trail to where it ended on the map and hung out at the pools for about an hour. they are very cold! Then we went back the way we came and walked back to the parking lot on the other side of the highway. my recommendation is to turn into the China Peak resort and go all the way to the back to find the parking lot to the trailhead for Indian pools. all in all we very much enjoyed the hike there were many rocks to climb on and logs to walk across at the pools.

11 months ago

Great trail for a quick easy hike. Stay near the creek when the trail is hard find.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beautiful Hike.

Friday, July 14, 2017

It is a beautiful walk along the river. But there is no posted trail head. I think there was once a sign but now just a post in the ground.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hiking for the first time with 2 kids, 3 and 6, everyone made it to the waterfall at the top in 2 hours (and 2 hours back). Really enjoyed the scenery, got lost at times, but thanks to the rocks on the trail we were able to find the right way. As everyone says, follow the rocks and it will be alright. Head of the trail was easy to find even though there is no sign, just make sure you pass the gate, little restaurant, parking lot with mobile homes on your right and all the way to the end of dirt parking lot, the trail head will be there. Trail is extremely clean, no water bottles laying around and no garbage, beautiful. Take your swim wear with you if you don't mind cold water pools, we all swim there. Really like it!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Hiked to some fabulous waterfalls past the pools! It was a 6mile hike round trip. Follow the ducks aka stacks of rocks. The water is rolling strong down the mountain. Be careful of the strong current if you get in the water. It was gorgeous, tons of wildflowers and a great meadow mule ears.

Friday, June 23, 2017

was not able to hike due to the river being so high last weekend but it sure was beautiful and a fun place to wonder around on the rocks. nice and cool.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Water levels are high, so the pools are not visible right now. Difficult to follow the trail as lots of trees have fallen and covered it up. Fun area to wander around in and watch the raging river. Not recommended if you need a trail to hike.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Great, easy trail for kids and dogs. River was raging and beautiful! Some rocky areas that. Pups be hard for elderly or dogs, but manageable. Trail head not marked. Definitely recommend!

Friday, June 09, 2017

A river (rapids) runs through it! No Indian Pools to be found, but gorgeous! Trail head is not marked. It is all the way back at the end of a gravel parking lot at China Peak. I used the GPS on the AllTrails app to find it. You will start about half way along the line marked. There were a few patches of snow in the shade. Trail was dry. You have to scramble over rocks in a couple places, but otherwise an easy hike.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

I really enjoyed this trail. Very easy. Walking on flat land most of the time. A couple inclines but not steep to where it's difficult. The only hard part is that it does get confusing because the trail sorta disappears. What helped was the stone placements. Just follow where the stones are stacked up and you'll be fine. If you pay attention, you'll know what I'm talking about. If anything, just follow the river if you get lost.

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