Indian Pools Trail

MODERATE 139 reviews
#5 of 96 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 rated as moderate. 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.

Distance: 4.3 miles Elevation Gain: 636 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

fishing

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

Located next to China Peak Mountain Resort, Indian Pools is a great moderate trail next to a river that takes you many great swimming holes. The water is cold, but in the summer heat and after a long hike it sure feels good.

hiking
3 months ago

The trail is hard to follow

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

It’s a good trail for beginners although the trail is not very well marked. Go to the last parking lot and look for “Indian” wood sign and enjoy the adventure!

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

trail is difficult to follow. Make sure you have some kind of map. There are spots where you crawl or climb over rocks. there is water flowing to filter. The scenery was beautiful & people. Only people at the end. older kids could do this.

hiking
4 months ago

Cairns are so helpful! We lost the trail many times, but followed the cairns most of the way to the top. Then loop at the top wasn’t much, but stopping down at the creek is a nice break. Will definitely do again.

backpacking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

This is a fun low stress hike with lots of small cascading waterfalls and clear pools along the way. You feel a little awkward finding the parking area because you drive through the China Peak parking lots, past and employee living area with a bunch of trailers, into a large open area where you can't go any further east. The hike generally follows the creek uphill. Often there several different side trails you can use that all lead back to each other eventually. The trail is not apparent in some sections because it is on rock, so look for cairns and if all else fails follow the creek.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike. Kept losing trail, though. My teenagers lost interest about halfway through. Going back was much easier. Thanks for the cairns! Will come back in the spring or summer to finish!

hiking
4 months ago

The trail was predominantly near the creek or swimming holes along the way with two small falls and crystal clear invigorating water. Saw three young’s bucks grazing just off the trail. The trailhead sign is gone and has been replaced by an itty bitty piece of wood maybe 10” x 3” that says “Indian”

hiking
4 months ago

Next to a creek with pools. Can dip in to cool off. No lake. Mostly easy with some rocks.

hiking
4 months ago

This was a great trail. Took 6 kids between 4 and 11 and everyone did awesome. There are lots of places to hop in the water, definitely recommend attire suited for that, unless your just not going to. We didn’t actually finish the loop bc we kept stopping at beautiful stops and we ran out of time. We were often a little off trail, but kept using the app to find our way back. Definitely want to come back and finish the trail and also swim a bit.

hiking
5 months ago

Parked behind China Peak resort; facing away from the resort, start walking toward the trail on the left at the end of the parking lot. A wooden sign would point to the trail (“Indian”). It was a good hike, challenging, with many boulders and rocks to climb. Trail not easy to follow but I thank those who placed the cairns to help guide the trail. Made it to the end after 2 hours and spend a good 40 min for a well deserved picnic. The hike back was as challenging but mostly downhill so much faster and less breaks in between since we had stopped at the many spots along the trail and as long as you can hear and see the creek, you are on the right path. Definitely wear shoes w good soles as there were a few slippery sites either on the rocks/boulders or sandy areas or areas w lots of pine needles. 4/5 overall because area not well marked but worthwhile.

hiking
5 months ago

great trail filled with beautiful views. we did veer off if the trail at times, but it was easy to find our way back. the trail head is in the back of the back parking lot at China Peak. park back there unless you plan on adding another mile to your trip!

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Great hike! Would definitely do it again. Expect to climb some rocks and keep an eye out for cairns to help with the trail direction. Some areas the trail is hard to follow and is not marked. Overall a little strenuous at some points but well worth it! Some beautiful scenery and pools. Water is very cold but feels good on these warm summer days.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike for the family. There were beautiful views and many areas to relax.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

Great hike, took us about 3 hours total, which included stopping for pics and a dip in the creek (it was COLD!) trail is not marked well, but there are cairns along the way, just keep an eye out for them. On the way in, keep yourself to the left of the creek, and if you can’t hear the water, you’re probably off the trail! There is one spot that has lots of mosquitos and a thicket that you need to pass through.

hiking
off trail
scramble
5 months ago

Lots of shade when near the water, when your on the trail your in the sun. Falls where flowing nice, just not as strong like a few weeks ago. But still a great hike. Trails not marked well, just look for the cairns. Your always close to the water. Took me 3 hours round trip. That's with a lunch break and pictures along the way.

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

Nice hike, not marked well at all, 6 miles round trip. We walked past the last pool further up. With a break and stopping for pictures took us 3 hours at a gentle pace.

recorded Recording - Jul 21, 04:45 PM

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Definitely hard to follow the trail at times but pretty nice trail. Majority of the time in the sun with fair amount of shady spots. Nice spots to stop along the creek on the way to the pool.

hiking
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

This trail was really fun! It was my husband, my 5 year old, my 7 month old in a carrier and Siberian husky. As others have stated the trail was difficult to find and we wound up taking the trail right next to the creek up, as opposed as the one that veered to the left which I believe was the main trail. Looking at the map now I'm not sure we actually made it all the way to the biggest waterfall at the end, but a couple bends before. We looked around and weren't really sure the trail continued, and we were all pretty tired anyway so we headed back down. It was more of a moderate hike mostly because of the boulders and stone outcrops that had to be maneuvered up and down - it wasn't always easy for us or our pup, and a few times we had to let our husky climb as he needed off leash to avoid him pulling us down. And our bodies weren't well acclimated to the thinner air, either, so we definitely felt the burn here! Overall a very lovely day and a trail we'll visit again!

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike! Did this with my 5 year old. Keep going til you reach the large waterfall at the very end. It gets pretty overgrown in some spots.

hiking
7 months ago

This is a fairly easy trail. Saw some kids do this and so it shouldn’t be too challenging. My dog was able to navigate this fairly easy as well. River was flowing very high so swimming is limited to about 2 isolated pools. Trail was also a bit hard to track on rocks and boulders but we re-stacked some cairns and stacked a few new ones as well just in case.

hiking
off trail
rocky
7 months ago

The trail isn't marked very well and it's easy to go off it. Great way to discover thought.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

June 5th - parked in the china peak resort area all the way in the back with no problem, trail head is very easy to find with the sign ‘Indian pools and beyond” on a wood post board but the trail wasn’t really well marked, left a few cairns to show the way to the nice spots along the river, which was flowing very high ! there are a couple trails closer to the river, but it’s very rocky, so it’s best to stick to the left side of big rocks after the harsh left of the trail. mostly an out at back, not a true loop trail.

hiking
Sun Dec 23 2018

I did this trail on 20 Dec 2018. It was about 2 weeks since the last big snow. I began hiking around noon at approximately 43 degrees. The snow was packed, powdery, or slushed enough to not require crampons. The trail was fairly obvious because of a couple weeks of hikers stomping through. Some clearings or spots where people meander can be confusing, but check your AllTrails map, look ahead, and you’ll be fine. Even if it snows right before you go and obscures tracks, keep the creek to your right and use AllTrails, it’s not terribly difficult. After the first pool (mostly frozen) about a mile in, my dog and I were the only prints continuing on. I made it another half mile before turning around. We just weren’t stoked about walking through mid shin to knee high, icy snow, searching for a possible trail route. The 1.5 miles (one way) we did were absolutely gorgeous though! My dog had a blast in the snow. The creek was frozen at parts. Beautiful boulders and trees. Well worth it. My dog and I came back around 10 AM on 21 Dec (every other trail we wanted to do was closed or inaccessible) and of course it was a bit more frozen over. The snow was less enjoyable and some spots were slippery, but each area had an alternate way to traverse besides stepping over ice. I suggest wearing typical snow hiking, waterproof attire. Hiking was still quite warm, I only wore a long sleeve shirt and snow pants. Boot sleeves to keep snow out of your boots/pants in the deeper parts would be nice. If you’re going in January-March, based on today’s conditions, crampons or snow shoes may be warranted depending on recent precipitation or freezing temps. The gravel parking lot is covered in snow, but still parkable. Or you can park where the China Peak employees park right next to it. The trail sign may be obscured by plowed snow mounds.

hiking
Tue Nov 13 2018

Hiked both Rancheria Falls and this one with 2 friends on the same day. This hike that goes about 2 miles alongside a creek and ends at the pools which were almost completely frozen over. Beautiful views and very peaceful, perfect for small families and for kids who love climbing rocks but make sure you wear appropriate footwear. The trail is not well marked at certain parts but pay attention to the path or stay close to the creek and you will be fine.

hiking
Sun Oct 28 2018

Great hike. Some strenuous parts, rock climbing but not terrible, doable. Just be warned. Water was still flowing into the 2 pools. It was a peaceful hike. Not too many people in site. Our wiem was in heaven with the sites, sounds, and smells. We Even witnessed a doe with her fawn eating from the nearby foliage. Fall is evident here with colored trees and definitely on your drive up! Beautiful! Young families would adore this hike!

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