Laurel Lake Trail

HARD 7 reviews
#95 of 175 trails in

Laurel Lake Trail is a 15.7 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.

15.7 miles
3389 feet
Out & Back



nature trips





wild flowers


no dogs

6 days 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!

4 months ago

I did this trail in September either 2 or 3 years ago. It was an extremely dry year then (not like this year), so we had to carry all our water, which definitely was a bummer because it was incredibly hot and this is a fairly long and difficult hike, which meant I was carrying way too much water. If you can go when there is water near the trail, do it! If you can't, do it anyways! It was worth lugging all that water in the end.

It was a really tough hike; the switchbacks are brutal and the terrain is steep and rocky throughout most of the trail, so it really kills your feet after a awhile. Overall, this was one of my favorite trips (and I've been on some pretty great trails) and I would definitely do it again. Awesome lake, beautiful views, and you'll feel like a warrior after you make it to the lake! I would not recommend doing this out and back in the same day. Get out there and enjoy yourself for a night or two! There was hardly anyone else staying at the lake when I went, and there are enough places to set up camp that you can avoid being close to anyone, so it's definitely worth staying for at least a night.

Keep your eyes open for bears - I saw 4 in one day at the lake! They were fairly small and skittish, though, so just be smart and follow the usual protocol for black bears.

6 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!

6 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.

7 months ago

7 months ago