Trails.com is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Kibbie Lake Trail

HARD 50 reviews
#52 of 246 trails in

Kibbie Lake Trail is a 13.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mi Wuk Village, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 13.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,618 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

beach

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

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.

backpacking
bugs
no shade
off trail
over grown
3 months ago

HIKING IN/OUT: pack enough water for a hot hike, bring GPS, wear pants and a hat. If you want to walk on a side walk with high vis yellow painted boarders, go to the mall. This is a backpacking trail. LAKE: Lake Kibbie is beautiful, swimmable and large. The area surrounding Lake Kibbie is well forested and has plenty of shade. BUGS: I camped out on the granite peninsula and didn't get a single mosquito bite (nor did I wear mosquito spray). I wore leggings and a long sleeve in the evenings. Trip: Aug 30 - Sept 2, 2019

hiking
blowdown
no shade
off trail
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
blowdown
bugs
no shade
over grown
3 months ago

Don't take this review the wrong way, kibbie lake was incredible but the hike up was very taxing. Limited to very sparse shade. This area is still regrowing from years past forest fires. The girlfriend and I went counterclockwise which got the uphill out of the way fast. Our trip, with maybe a 10 minute loss of the trail, ended up being right around 12 miles. It wasn't all terrible though, aside from the nagging girlfriend, no shade, and occasional horse fly. The views of cherry and elanor lakes on the hikes up and down were beautiful and we'll worth it. Still in mid August there was a pretty sizeable creek we had to cross roughly a mile and a half on the way up. The rest was rocky, dry, and no shade till kibbie lake. Once at the lake we couldn't wait to make our way into the water. It was exactly what was needed to escape the afternoon sun. There were several other hikers at the lake either resting or setting camp for the night and one such couple was enjoying the lake sans clothing. On the way back down we were making good time until we came to a section just after the service road and cherry lake over look where the path was overgrown from prickly bushes. It became super frustrating bushwhacking and trying to find a viable trail. You just have to push forward and take the cuts from the thorns. Overall it was a great hike but if you're going up with less than experienced hikers try and break it up into a multi day trip. Unless you have headphones to give you respite from the nagging and "how much further" and "I can'ts". (Which now she did)

hiking
no shade
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Done counter clockwize to enjoy views from Kibbie the first day and cherry lake on the second day. No mosquitoes, few people at the lake, great place to camp !

hiking
over grown
rocky
5 months ago

We completed the hike to Kibbie Lake out-and-back in 2 days via the Lake Eleanor Trailhead. Take 1N04 until you arrive to a concrete barrier which is the TH parking lot. The trail entrance isn’t well marked but it’s to the immediate right of the barricade. As others have mentioned, the trail is definitely not in pristine shape due to downed trees but it’s very much manageable. BE AWARE OF SNAKES: We did encounter a large rattle snake directly on the trail near Shingle Springs where it’s pretty brushy. Slow down and poke ahead in these brushy areas to ensure you avoid these guys. Definitely bring a GPS to follow if you do not have solid navigation skills. CONDITIONS: As of 6/15 there’s no snow, only slightly boggy in small sections, light to moderate mosquitos in the mornings/evenings around the lake, and the Kibbie Creek crossing toward the end was knee height (at least one pole would be helpful to cross the creek). You also may stay left of the Kibbie Creek crossing and scramble the granite on the left to access the west end and northern inlet of the lake.

backpacking
5 months ago

Very pleasant trip & pretty lake. I recommend a saunter up the granite dome just NW of the Kibbie Creek crossing; easy walk-up from the north side. Conditions: 3-day trip 6/14-6/16, same conditions as Alex Kidd just posted (snow free, easy creek crossings except Kibbie {knee-high wading}, trail overgrown w/ buck-brush in several places and just have to plow through it, fallen trees on trail). My GPS recorded 8 miles from trailhead to west-side camping, not the 6mi advertised in the description, and that following nearly exactly the route shown in the description. As everyone says, take a GPS to keep on the trail unless you know it already. My son and I cleared several trees from the trail to eliminate detours and make trail more navigable.

backpacking
over grown
scramble
6 months ago

Kibbie Lake is just gorgeous but the trail is fairly difficult given downed trees and brush. We came in via the Kibbie Ridge trail, which does not require crossing Kibbie Creek. No snow and only moderately boggy. Camping was lovely on the Southern shore of the lake -- exposed up on the rocks but great views and tent sites.

hiking
6 months ago

This trail was absolutely gorgeous with plenty of wild flowers and varied terrain. GPS is a must so download an offline trail map beforehand. The trail is not well marked so you will find yourself bushwhacking through lots of prickly plants. The trail is shaded on the first half of the hike while heading towards Kibbie lake but more exposed afterwards. You will be following the river for the second half of the hike and the terrain will become a little marshier. If you want to get down to the shore of the lake, you will need to cross the river. The water is currently very strong, cold and thigh high. Finding a walking stick or using hiking poles will be necessary. It is very slippery as well. On the way back, if you choose to do a loop, you can follow the Elenor Lake hike. It is low elevation gain and easier to follow. The beginning of that trail has a lot of snow runoff along the ledge. There are lots of wildflowers and great views. There is a tree bridge crossing over a very strong river so be careful there. This was a great hike, peaceful and very few people on the trail.

hiking
off trail
over grown
snow
washed out
6 months ago

I gave this trail five stars because the hike was amazing, the lake to die for! Absolutely amazing. However this trail was a little rough, we had to do a lot of bushwhacking and lost the trail head a lot due to snow still on the peak and downed trees making this an adventure for sure. If you're up for it, its amazing but I highly recommend a GPS and would not even think of going without a compass and a map. We ran into some lighting and high Sierra storms which was also amazing because we were prepared, but don't get caught up there without the needed gear. We had a hard time crossing Kibbie Creek at the lake due to snow melt so be prepared for that too. We saw no one the whole time, so peaceful!

hiking
7 months ago

Last weekend we attempted the alternate route to Kibbie Lake ( east of this route, starting at Lake Elenore), but could only get to the way mark “ Top of climb” due to too much snow. We saw the ice covered lake in the distance, but decided not to descend to it. Instead we turned around to camp at a lower elevation. This route involves two big creek crossings at this time of the year. Luckily each creek has a strategically fallen log enabling hikers to cross safely. It’s a gorgeous hike. Be prepared for 6 miles of uphill.

Load More