Jenkinson Lake Loop Trail

MODERATE 581 reviews

Jenkinson Lake Loop Trail is a 7.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Pollock Pines, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.6 miles Elevation Gain: 629 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

cross country skiing

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

snowshoeing

walking

running

forest

lake

partially paved

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

fee

Park Fee $5 Summer boating, fall colors, winter snowshoeing, and spring waterfalls make this El Dorado park enjoyable year round The trails around Jenkinson Lake can be visited on horseback, mountain bike and foot. This guide, however, is going to focus on hiking. The full route, if you go all the way around, is just over 8 miles. With the continuous ups and downs it can feel like a lot further though. The total elevation change is insignificant but the small "whoopdedoos" can amount to hundreds and even thousands of feet perceived elevation change. Good physical endurance is a must if you're going to make it all the way. Jenkinson Lake at Sly Park has outdoor activities all times of the year. Snowshoes, cross-country skiing, boating and swimming are enjoyed by many. It's a huge park with more features than most people can visit in one day. There are events in the park that include everything from community mixers to the yearly "Run on the Sly". This park has been voted "Best Recreation Facility by the Mountain Democrat newspaper year after year.

Moderate difficulty and beautiful views of the lake through the whole path! I highly recommend this trail. We were short on time so only went about 2.5 miles out and then took the same trail back, but it was still very enjoyable.

So...the lake is a reservoir, which I never prefer. Water level was low. The trail on the south side of lake was fairly nice. Had a nice picnic lunch by the waterfall. On the north side you are basically walking by/through campsites and day use areas. Some dude was singing karaoke at one. Loud enough to hear 500’ away. Weird. We made it around the entire lake, so no need to come back.

1 month ago

Nice hike with easy well maintained trail. Lots of bikes today. Dogs liked it!

hiking
1 month ago

Well maintained trail with great views. After recovering from a motorcycle accident and not hitting the gym this was a great warm up. Loved it

Waterfall is still going strong!

mountain biking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

North side not much shade , returned on the south side . Just warm , much better with the shade.

Great hike! Several restrooms along the way.

hiking
2 months ago

Dogs are not allowed to swim in the water and no restrooms available. Otherwise, the trail was fun and views of the lake were beautiful.

Love this trail! We did the waterfall trail which is 3 miles in and 3 miles back. Shaded basically the entire time. We went Labor Day weekend so it was pretty busy on the lake and trails. There was 12 of us that went so it was a lot of fun. Swam and jumped off the waterfall and swam in the lake. Suggest wearing pants and it’s very dusty with the dirt. Little hills up and down the entire time but a very peaceful beautiful hike

hiking
3 months ago

My husband and I, plus our dog did the three mile hike to the waterfall and back.. it was actually 8 miles total.. What a great great hike! I love that it was pretty dang shaded.. super nice in the morning, but did get a bit hot on the way back. The waterfall really was beautiful.. people jumping from a rock and swimming around... It really wasnt that crowded... The lake it self was beautiful... Not alot of people out in the water and the ones that were, was having a great time!.. I do plan on doing this hike again..

I hiked approximately 10 miles which is longer than the app information. Trail was easy however not well marked.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Not a very good trail for mountain biking. Too many steep uphills. Rocky

hiking
3 months ago

The trail is 9 miles full loop around. When you get to the two damn areas, stay on the main road or else you will do a pointless downhill/uphill detour.

Nice loop around the lake, would recommend starting early because day use fills up. My gps says 9 miles so be prepared to hike a little farther than it tells you!

hiking
3 months ago

Nice and scenic trail but coming to the waterfall, there was too many people to even sit and relax. Trail was a good 9-10 miles around the lake.

hiking
4 months ago

Definitely a ten mile hike, not 7.6. I don’t know about the reviews that said they had to go 1 mile out of the way because of a campground. If you follow the trail it takes you through the campgrounds. The views and the ample ability to stop and swim make the hike well worth it. I went when it was 90 degrees out, but it didn’t seem to feel that hot, because about 95% of the trail is covered by trees. The waterfall was amazing and the pool below it was really nice to swim in. My dogs really enjoyed hiking the trail too.

hiking
4 months ago

The trail was hard to follow at times but overall a nice scenic hike.

hiking
4 months ago

very nice trail ,a little bit busy trail is about 9 miles the waterfall was very nice ,a lot of areas where you can swim

I parked by the 1st dam. if you park by the 2nd one you are closer to the trail starting point. I went counterclockwise with the lake to my left. the waterfall was beautiful. it was mostly in the shade. on the way back I jumped in the lake and took a little swim. from the noise and amount of people, I would recommend avoiding the camp grounds.

hiking
4 months ago

1st of all... this is NOT 7.6 miles. It’s 10 miles from where AllTrails tells you to park. That’s my only complaint really, we didn’t pack enough water or food for a 10 mile hike. But it is absolutely beautiful and I got to see parts of the lake I’ve never seen, and I grew up in the area.

hiking
4 months ago

Pretty trail around the lake with a beautiful waterfall. There are lots of places to stop and take a dip in the lake as well as a pool at the bottom of the waterfall. I wouldn’t do it on a very hot day though

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Parking was a hassle, the trail gps runs you through campsites so you need to go around. That added another mile or so to the hike. It was pretty no doubt about that but ALOT of people!!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful, scenic trail. The lake is absolutely gorgeous. A friend and I did the full loop which is actually 9.8 miles total. Trail isn’t marked well in some areas but if you stay close to the lake, you should be fine. The waterfall is a great stop on the trail and does not disappoint.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail!

hiking
5 months ago

Walk counterclockwise from the dam/parking area. Agree with others it's best to hike to the the waterfall, then back the same way to the dam. The camping side of the lake is crowded with loud non-hikers and the trail is paved in several parts, but on the positive side, there are bathrooms. Plus, the camping side is sunnier (fewer trees), and warmer. On the camping side there is an outfitter who rents kayaks and stand up paddle boards, which is a nice addition to a hiking day.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful!

hiking
5 months ago

The lake is very beautiful and the trail is mostly flat and easy. I hiked three miles around to the waterfall and then back to the car. The trail is nice and wide, well maintained and mostly shaded. I did this hike with my two dogs and we parked on the side of the road where the fee is $5 (cash only).

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful lake! We did the hike around the whole lake. Recommend not actually entering the park and using the parking stalls. Saves you some money. Also, using the all trails map, I would go counter clock wise to the waterfall and then take the same way back. The other side of the loop is walking through campsites and not that interesting. If you enter the park there is a pet fee. Dogs have to be leashed and are not allowed in the water FYI!!

5 months ago

just beautiful!

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