DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1669 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

backpacking
26 days 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.