Kibbie Lake Trail

MODERATE 10 reviews
#33 of 179 trails in

Kibbie Lake Trail is a 15.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mariposa, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking and is best used from May until October.

15.9 miles
3080 feet










wild flowers




over grown

no dogs

This trip takes you on an eleven mile loop across streams, through fields of ferns, and to a beautiful Sierra lake. On the way to the lake, you take the Kibbie Creek trail. The Kibbie Creek trailhead begins between Cherry Lake and Lake Eleanor (you drive across the Cherry Lake Dam to get there) at 5,000 ft above sea level. The Cherry Creek trail begins by winding up through some very dry terrain but soon turns into pine and redwood trees. It climbs steady up to 7,200 ft making this a strenuous trail. Along the way there are a couple stream crossings. Kibbie Creek can be a torrent at high melt times, so come prepared and ask the ranger when you get the permit about it. This stretch of the trail can be split in half for a great multi-day trip with some great camp sites about 3 miles in. Kibbie Lake has many great spots to camp. You can set up a camp right along the shore if you don't mind the mosquitos or you can camp on the granite on the West side or back toward the South a bit on granite that rises out of the lake making some great viewpoints. The trip back takes you along a much easier trail called Kibbie Ridge which only gains a little elevation and is mostly down hill all the way to the car. An alternate (and about 5 miles shorter route) is to start at the Kibbie Ridge trailhead and come back out that way as well. Drive all the way to the end of the road to reach the Kibbie Ridge trailhead.

5 months ago

My wife and I used to hike this trail 20 years ago and absolutely loved it. I'm 51 yrs old now and have finally gotten the opportunity to return to Kibbie Lake with my 18 yr old son. The lake was just as gorgeous as I remember it and rank it right up there with one of my favorite places on the planet. However, the actual trail and the surrounding forests were devastated by a fire in 2013. What once was a beautiful hike through majestic Sierra Nevada mountain forests has turned into a rattlesnake infested trudge through the apocalypse. Thankfully the fire spared the forests surrounding the lake... One other caveat is that they closed the road up to the trailhead, which increases the hikes distance by a little over 3 miles. If I was able to give a rating to the trail it would be a single star, while the rating at the lake itself would be 5+ stars. In spite of the hikes in and out, we had a blast and stayed at the lake for three nights. I hope to make this an annual trip with my son and son in law up until my body can no longer handle backpacking.

5 months ago

Kibbie Lake is a moderately difficult hike through woodlands, thickets, and granite valleys. During some parts of the year, there are river and stream crossings, but by early September, we did not come across any.

We started at the Lake Eleanor trailhead. Instead of taking that trail, we veered off to the left, and hiked the original road (now closed to vehicles) up to the Kibbie Ridge trailhead, and took the Kibbie Ridge Trail to the lake, making it about 15 miles RT out and back. About 1 mile in there's a fork in the road, hang right to continue to Kibbie Ridge Trail. Taking that road adds about 1/2 mile on each end, as it is switchbacks, but saves a steep uphill climb with a heavy pack. Part of the southern portion of the trail was affected by the 2013 Rim Fire, but the terrain is recovering nicely.

Kibbie Lake is beautiful! Plenty of great camping spots, and epic views. The Sierras never disappoints, and this trip is no exception.

Tip: Rangers do patrol this area from time to time, so make sure you have your permits, and your bear canister for all of your food and trash (merely bear bagging and hanging in a tree is illegal in Yosemite). Pick up your permit from Groveland Ranger station - call 24 Hours in advance, as this trail seems to be gaining in popularity.

Side note: Our original plan was to do a day hike to Flora Lake (about 4 miles away on the map) the second day, but the terrain proved to be more difficult and steeper than expected. We ended up exploring around the beautiful lake.

Happy Trails!

8 months ago

First and foremost amazing hike

Disclosure: Group of 6 inexperienced hikers not in the best of shape.

Difficulty: Moderate (Elanor Lake Side)
Easy: Cherry Lake Side

Myself and group of 5 went up backpack the Kibbie Lake trail.
1) Get your wilderness pass at the Groveland Ranger Station 24 hours before you start your hike.
2) We parked at the Cherry Lake Dam Parking lot this is located at the south side of the lake on Forest Route 1N04
3) Once we started towards the trail head we decided to go counter closwise on the trail on the Lake Eleanor Side.
4) This is were thing get tricky due to recent rain falls and ice pack melts the creek is more of a full on river and you have to head upstream to find a safe crossing. Very beautiful though
5) The first 2 miles you will be bushwhacking a lot since the trail is easy to lose, GPS and compass recommend to get your bearings.
6) around mile 3 you will start up a steep elevation.
TIP: We took 2 days to get to the lake and this made it a lot easier, there is a camp site that is conveniently located by the river to resupply,
7) Once we got to the lake it was well worth it perfect for swimming and fishing. Only downside is some previous hikers left trash and broken bottles, slight bummer.
8) the hike back was considerably more easy with well marked trails.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Well, what an amazing trail!

We did the loop – which makes the whole thing about 16 miles. I don't know why this page has it been at 29 miles.

The drive in is long and windy, so leave enough time to get in there. This place is remote!

We started at Eleanor Lake dam, and took the southern side trail over the mountain first and then came back the nice gentle decline on the way back.

It can get pretty exposed in places, so start early. The trail takes you through so many different terrains. If we were to do it again, we would probably start at the Eleanor camping sites trailhead, take the trail to the junction of the Eleanor Lakes camping trail and Kibbie creek track, and then follow the trail to Kibbie Lake from there.

We started at Lake Eleanor Dam, but the 1mile track from there to the junction was overgrown and pretty unpleasant.

Kibbie Creek is beautiful. Definitely worth your time to stop, enjoy the stream, swim in the small lush granite canyon.

From there, the trail goes up steeply, and doesn't stop until you reach the top. You can lose the trail pretty easily because it's not frequently walked, but there's enough piles of rocks that you'll find your way.

There are lots of beautiful granite monoliths, redwood forests, ferns, ridges and gullies along the way that you'll always be in awe, and it'll keep your mind off the hill - which is steep!!

Once you reach the top, it's a very easy and fast track down to the lake.

We stayed on the south side of the lake which has a great swimming hole and beautiful views, but if you make your way to the north side, there's more camping spots and more great views.

On the way home, it's a lush Redwood and Fern Valley, and lovely soft underfoot. We jogged most of it with full packs. It took us only about 2 hours to make it back to the Eleanor Lakes camping trail junction.

We then did the final walk around on our lake to the dam to get back to the car.

Well worth it! We'll prob go again soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I did this loop with four others. We hiked in Saturday morning and back out on Sunday morning, walking counter-clockwise from the Lake Eleanor trailhead. The trail is not well marked at several points along the eastern arm of the trail, but using the GPS we eventually were able to track down another cairn further along the trail. Elevation gain was steady on our hike in, and on the way out it was largely flat until the last several miles, which were steadily downhill back to the parking spot. Kibbie Lake itself is stunning, and there are many great spots to camp around it, flat with soft sand.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A moderate hike with scenic views.

5 months ago

8 months ago

Monday, June 13, 2016

Wednesday, September 09, 2015