Lake Ella

MODERATE 8 reviews
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Lake Ella is a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kings Beach, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.0 miles
784 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



mountain biking

nature trips






The trail starts fairly level with a one mile walk on a paved road across Martis Dam. After the dam, trail is dirt, winding along the side of Martis Lake, cross a small stream then a sharp left turn up the hill. This is the entrance to the preserve. Suggest following Matt's Trail up the moderately steep hill, turn left at Sawmill Road, then a short easy walk to Lake Ella. Last year it was almost empty but this year it is very full. Relax at the picnic table a little while and listen to the waterfowl. For the trip back down, pass Matt's Trail and continue on to Erika's Trail which is a moderate, rapidly changing landscape experience leading to a volcanic rock viewpoint. The trail continues back down the hill and meets up with Matt's trail again. Turn left and backtrack your way down the hill and across the dam.

26 days ago

Great hike/walk. Easy slight uphill to the lake which is darling and currently has lots of water. Lots of shade and lots of trees but not a dense forest so you can see everything around you. 5 paws up according to my dogs.

6 months ago

Great hike for people looking for some exercise but aren’t trying to over do it. Bring plenty water and snacks. Takes about 3 hours !

7 months ago

Lake Ella Trail provided an exceptional short, easy hike for me and my daughter (Ella) on a fine October day. The trail head is easy to find, with ample parking. The first (and last) mile, all on asphalt, was easy and provided a nice look around to where we were headed. Martis Lake, to the south of the dam, and the Martis Valley served up some nice views. Once we hooked left (east) and started up the main trail in Waddell Ranch Preserve the rest was predominantly in the trees with few, if any, vistas. The grade is smooth and easy up to Lake Ella and well-marked with nicely done iron signs. Lake Ella was a splendid surprise, having never known of it even after living nearby for over thirty years. Although it is also identified on signage as "Dry Lake", this was not the case, and the lake was quite full, no doubt a result of the recent record snowfall the previous winter. There are nice spots to sit, including a picnic table, and overall a quiet scene. On our return trip, we took the "Emily Loop" which took us through the trees on a winding, switchback-laden trail that appeared to have been designed for mountain bikers. It was clearly rarely used in recent times, and in places difficult to see the actual trail. Thanks to the track on All Trails, we were able to navigate the return. One high point was the "David Brown"lookout over Martis Valley just above where the trail turns back towards Martis Lake. Overall discovering this trail made for a great day hike and a wonderful time for father & daughter!

29 days ago

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Monday, October 10, 2016