Loch Leven Lakes Trail

HARD 177 reviews
#2 of 110 trails in

Loch Leven Lakes Trail is a 7.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Norden, 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1633 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

snowshoeing

trail running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

High alpine lakes aplenty in the Tahoe National Forest. Located directly of Interstate 80 this trail will have you hiking deep into the Tahoe National Forest in no time, in search of scenic high alpine Sierra Nevada lakes. Because this trail needs to be tackled during the summer and fall months to avoid winter conditions this popular trail can get quite busy, but the hike still remains a worthwhile trip. Elevation gain: - 1,250ft (from 5,800 - 6,900ft)

backpacking
11 hours ago

I just backpacked this trail June 21-22 and It was a beautiful and rewarding hike. My buddy and I wanted do some backpacking, but both had limited time and couldn't get up to there until early evening on Friday, so we appreciated that the trailhead was easily accessible right off the freeway, and that the trail itself was not too long. The lakes are all beautiful. My favorite was probably the 2nd lake, as it was the largest and best for swimming in. It was a bit crowded up there Friday night, and since we had a late start we had to settle for a less desirable camp site. The trail Itself had quite a few fallen trees across it, but otherwise it was dry and relatively easy to follow. Overall a great, and relatively short trail to do for those who have limited time, but still want a moderately challenging hike to get their heart rate up.

backpacking
1 day ago

We headed out Friday morning and found a nice camp spot at the middle lake. Beautiful. However, by Saturday morning crowds of people came pouring into the lake. We were a bit disappointed w/our fellow trail mates. We had unfriendly hikers walking through our campsite early Sat. morning. We watched as one groups dog pooped in the lake right were we were filtering water. We decided to leave and the trail was so crowded that it took a long time to get down. Only one small creek is running near bottom of trail. A lot of folks were running out of water half way up the trail. We watched several people carry out or push tired kids and dogs down the trail. If you like crowds this is the trail for you. If your looking for solitude or serious trail folk stay away or come on a weekday.

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
1 day ago

Loved this hike yesterday! It is no joke in terms of the uphill climb for the first half, but the beautiful lakes are totally worth the great workout. The rocks were a little challenging at times, but not a big deal for me or my dad - though some folks on the trail were complaining about them. Do swim in the middle lake - made all the difference in terms of feeling refreshed for the way back down - and as long as you swim in the top layer, the water isn't that cold. Lots of beautiful wildflowers, crazy awesome views of the lakes. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. Enjoy!

hiking
1 day ago

2 days ago

Beautiful hike! 2nd lake is the prettiest. At times trail can be difficult to stay in.

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

Hike was gorgeous. Pretty rocky so wear boots, at times it was easy to get off trail but majority of the time it's obvious where to go and trail was in good shape. Water was refreshing so make sure you jump in (especially lake 2) and bring some snacks. The hike back was much easier but just watch your step!

hiking
5 days ago

Such a beautiful hike! So many wildflowers. Wear shoes with ankle support and be prepared to jump in the lakes because they are difficult to resist!

Tried some tenkara around noon but didn't have any luck.

hiking
6 days ago

Favorite!

hiking
6 days ago

Trail was in good shape. No snow and only a little water on the trail. Maybe a dozen logs down, but easy to detour each. Easy to follow, but between Lakes 2&3 the app was helpful as we followed a well-beaten path to a pond next to #2 when trying to go to #3. Great scenery, and minimal people on a Thursday morning

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

backpacking
12 days ago

Holiday weekends are never the business and after reading a lot of discouraging reviews made me question the validity of bringing along my SEVEN year old daughter. With that being said, so glad I trusted my own skills and had faith her physical prowess to carry her own pack and equipment. It was a very busy weekend to say the least, but we found the trail to be pleasant. The snow runoff on parts of the trail were very welcoming since it kept dust levels down in the dry arid summer air. I do recommend using the AllTrails App for the initial granite section since the cairns aren't placed well or have been knocked over. We found it easier to walk straight up the face of the granite slab instead of traversing. The granite held nice traction as we climbed straight up towards a cluster of 10 trees stand (where the trail wraps around the side of the hill). Once you are off the granite the trail is beautiful. So much diversity in vegetation and micro-climates. If you run low on water, there are streams to filter from, and for fun drink from some natural springs along the way. With the heavy snow fall this past winter created fun trail obstacles and sitting water on parts of the trail, all were easily maneuverable or avoidable by traversing around (She loved climbing them). The trail isn't a smooth single track, plenty of rock steps to be had. I guess this is way it is rated as hard or from people underestimating what a 1k climb entails. Swimming at the second lake was the highlight of our trip. Can't wait to go again so we can hike to the 3rd lake. Can see this as a great day hike or an overnight get away.

Just remember to practice carry in, carry out practices. If you see it pick it up, even if it isn't yours. We picked up tons of other peoples trash on the way back. There are garbage cans in the bathrooms. tsk tsk

14 days ago

The lakes are beautiful. The trail itself was sometimes difficult to find and it's very rocky so even tho it's about 8 miles it felt longer. Would definitely hike it again.

15 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

backpacking
17 days ago

We hiked to the third lake to camp on July 4th and we're the only overnight campers. Loch Leven lake was beautiful and felt like our private lake. The trail was challenging and I was very thankful that I was able to use my AllTrails map to help navigate in a few spots.

hiking
19 days ago

I hiked this trail today on July 4 and there was only one small section with snow on the actual trail. Many people say that the trail needs maintenance, but it really isn't too too bad. I almost didn't go based on these comments. There are fallen trees and logs, but they are easy to get around. There are areas that are quite vague regarding where the trail continues, and they tend to be where you climb on the granite. Look for the trail cairns as they helped us a few times.

The hike to the high lake (3rd and last lake) was well worth it. After the 1-mile hike to the railroad tracks, you then start the rocky switchback section that eventually levels out before the first lake. This almost-constant uphill section with continuous rockiness makes me believe that the trail is moderate-to-hard.

You then hike another mile or so to the third lake. We also swam to the island and the water was perfect temperature. I should note that there was a garter snake that swam in front of me, but thankfully my fellow hiker did not mention it until I was completely out of the water.