Laurel Lake Trail

HARD 7 reviews
#110 of 207 trails in

Laurel Lake Trail is a 15.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Long Barn, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October.

15.4 miles
3461 feet
Out & Back



nature trips





wild flowers


no dogs

4 months ago

The trip was pleasant, hard and fun.
From the parking lot for overnight use to the trailhead there is around 1.5 miles to go.
After the tunnel there are about 6 miles straight uphill climbing about 3000 ft, then around 1 mile flat to beehive meadow, from where 1-2 miles to Laurel lake.
We started from parking lot at 1:30 pm, reached beehive meadow around 5:00 pm, when was already a bit dark. But we decided to go to the lake, where the marking said only 1.2 miles away. However the trail later was cut off by a river. I guess one of the step rock was flushed away, only left us a gap filled with waist deep water which we can't cross. So we had to spent time trace the water and find a spot shallower so we can cross. This was done in total darkness. A little bit scary, so be prepared and leave earlier (we hike relatively fast).
In darkness we spent some time looking for the lake, near the lake and its water outlet creek, there is an awesome camp site which has a fire ring already. The lake is just like 200 yards away and creek is close for water.
The only down side is the lake's edge is not very accessible, so the view is not ideal. But it does not hurt. We had a great time.
The way back is a bit challenging as the terrain downhill was all big pebbles and rocks. Watch out for your ankle and follow a comfortable speed.
We went there in mid-January, however there was no slow and I feel the low is 30F at night. Pretty warm for this time of the year!

8 months ago

One of my favorite trips of all time! Bouldering, switchbacks, and a large gain in elevation make this a tough trip but the solitude, views, lake, and wildlife make it all worthwhile! I went in September so it wasn't very crowded but I'm sure it's busier during the summer. Also, try to go on a rainy year so you don't have to lug a ton of water up the mountain - I went about 2 or 3 years ago during a drought and had to carry all my water because there wasn't any along the trail. Definitely makes things tougher when you're carrying nearly 10 pounds of water.

Also, this place is amazing so do yourself a favor and stay at least one or two nights. Treating this trail as a day hike sounds exhausting and means you miss out on so much fun at the lake!

10 months ago

Very strenuous hike. Miles and miles up the side of a mountain. 2 streams to fill up water along the way. Trails are very easy to follow, well maintained and some signs along the way. The views of the lake are gorgeous! The lake is warm enough to swim in the summer. Definitely camp overnight. Worth the hike for the beautiful scenery!

10 months ago

its an uphill battle... a bit too much for me to go out and back in a day after the previous day's adventure... nice perspective of Hetch Hetchy... binoculars would have been fun with the long range views... i would only do it again if i was camping overnight... quite a number of folks on the trail but way less crowded than Yosemite valley.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

-Hard uphill battle for about nine miles but with beautiful vistas of Hetch Hetchy, granite mountain tops, and forest.
- In the spring Lake Vernon just may be my favorite place on earth. Stunning lake with awesome fishing. Probably see a bear or two up this high.
- You have to cross a rocky frog creek to get to Laurel Lake so be prepared for that.
- Natural spring in Beehive meadow to fill your water bottles.
- Be aware of shifting weather patterns at this altitude. Have your rain gear handy just in case.

11 months ago

11 months ago