Jackass Lakes Trail

HARD 2 reviews
#77 of 84 trails in

Jackass Lakes Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near June Lake, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, fishing, and horses and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,666 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

rocky

scramble

backpacking
13 days ago

This was an amazing trail, but a difficult one. Hubby and I were bringing in packs for an overnight stay, but even with day packs it would have been difficult. The first mile or so is straight uphill, with loose rock and a steep, steep incline. In the heat, I had a lot of difficulty getting up the trail.

That said, the payoff at the end is spectacular. It's worth spending the night (be prepared for the overnight chill!) if you can't leave early in the morning, or even just to spend the night. The lakeside camp area was closed when we arrived, so we set up camp down the trail a little way.

The lake is gorgeous, but mosquitoes clearly think so too, and they are abundant there, so be sure to bring bug spray for you and your pets (we were packing in with 5 dogs, and bug-sprayed the heck out of them). If you're planning on spending the night, be sure to stop at a ranger station and get a wilderness and fire permit. Camping without one in the national forest is not allowed.

A word of caution to the driver of whatever vehicle takes you to the trailhead - it's a rough road. If you can, take a car with decent ground clearance. If you can't, know that my little Hyundai Accent made it up, but we had to drive about 5 mph when the paving on the road vanished. Some of the washouts are pretty bad.

Parking at the trailhead is limited, but we were able to find a spot on a Sunday afternoon.

Overall this made for a great hike, and I highly recommend it :)

backpacking
1 month ago

I proposed to have this trail added to AllTrails because it's a great alternative to the Norris trailhead in the early season that still ends at the Jackass Lakes. Not having done Norris, I can't compare the difficulty. Early season meant a little snow on the ground, but only in the shady areas. Not on the trail.
Getting there - it takes about an hour and a half to drive back Beasore Road after you turn off from Bass Lake. The road is unpaved at times, but I don't have 4WD and it was not an issue. But if rain is in your forecast, call the ranger for a road report. Make sure you either load the route into your Google Maps app before you lose service, or keep an eye on mileage so you know when to expect the parking lot. There is a large trail head sign for Jackass Trail head - you just start guessing the meaning of life that far back a dirt road and if you missed it some how.
The trail - the elevation climb is no joke. We did it in 2 hours with our packs on which sounds like cake to the experienced. When you start out, you're pretty pumped to be heading out, so you tend to not let it phase you. Just keep a trekking pole handy. We met a dad and daughter at the lakes, she was 10 and it was her first over nighter. So take that for what it's worth. Trail has a lot of shade, but some open hot spots as well if the sun is out. Since we went up so early in the season, some of the trail was hard to follow - look for stacked rocks to keep you on track. You shouldn't have much of an issue. Props to the USFS for going out there and clearing the trail - lots of fallen trees over the winter.
The lakes - lower Jackass Lake is great. I won't even try to explain the views, too incredible for words. There were 2 other campers up there, so 3 total sites set up along the lake and that was a good capacity. There is an upper Jackass Lake, we hiked to it the next day. You can see it on the map here. It was still frozen over but totally stunning. Again - views on views. Hike will make your glutes talk.