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Loch Leven Lakes Trail

MODERATE 550 reviews
#5 of 195 trails in

Loch Leven Lakes Trail is a 8.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Norden, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,545 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

snowshoeing

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

snow

NOTE: This trail may vary in difficulty depending on the trail conditions, such as snowy or melting snow conditions. 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.

hiking
15 days ago

Nice trail, conditions are still great right now but that’ll likely change with the upcoming storm. Made it up to Upper Loch Leven and then did some off trail to get back over to the middle lake. I got some great views on the ridges and had some fun with some light scrambling here and there. Super easy to navigate with the app. My recording shows the route I took. Overall a nice trail with a good payoff at the lakes. Would recommend for all skill levels.

hiking
rocky
30 days ago

3 Loch Leaven Lakes are pretty. Some parts of trail are difficult. Need more signs.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Easy to find. Not the most well marked trail, but usually easy to get back on immediately after you realize you might be off. The steep areas are not very long so for the most part it is a gradual assent. When you reach the railroad tracks the trail continues directly across the tracks. Lots of fall colors and mossy trees. Ample shade and sun. The lakes are side by side, gorgeous and peaceful. I highly recommend this trail for an early yo late fall hike because it was nice and cool, with some warmth when less shaded. Probably great for swimming in the summer as well. I would do this one again. GPS (Strava) had us at 8.2 total miles, but probably would have been a lot more had we kept going past the second lake as we had been, but we decided to head back and call it a day!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Not super well marked so this app was a lifesaver. Intermediate level hike that took me about 3.5 hrs round trip to the first lake from the trail head. Stunning scenery. Lots of lose rocks and some moderately steep inclines.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Lake view is great specially in the morning when wind is not blowing. You will see reflection of the trees in the lake. Trail is bit confusing because of rocks, not easy to see where we are going.

hiking
muddy
snow
2 months ago

Great views on this trail, snow present however most melted by the time we turned back. Would recommend solid boots for this as it was very slick upon descent. In all would recommend

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Trail is very rocky, so wear good shoes. I downloaded the map from this app and glad I did. As others have said, the first section is hard to follow at times and this was very helpful! I’m not sure that the signs at the trailhead are accurate- my watch said almost 5 miles when we hit the last lake. 9.83 miles round trip.

hiking
2 months ago

The lakes are amazing. The trail is hard to follow in places and the All Trails app is very helpful.

hiking
3 months ago

Steep and rocky at times but beautiful! Not an easy hike but completely worth it. The three lakes are beautiful and peaceful. Get there early so you can spend more time at the lakes. Lots of wildflowers the first weekend of September too!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Great trail. In decent shape and improved over when I did it a few years ago. The first mile can be tricky to follow due to parts of the trail being on open rock but generally not too bad. Lakes are beautiful especially Upper Loch Leven. I was on the trail by 9:30AM on a Saturday in early September and wasn’t too crowded. Also went to Salmon Lake which adds 2 miles but definitely well worth it(the sign says .7miles to the lake but that’s just to a trail junction, it’s another .3 from the junction to the lake).. it’s a really pretty trail. There were still wildflowers on that trail and the lake is beautiful and more so there was no one there.

hiking
3 months ago

Walked this early September (8th). The first mile or so over exposed granite is stunning, but there are times when it's unclear which direction the trail is headed in. Once past this first mile, and over the railroad tracks, the trail is very clear and easy to follow. The next section up through forest is nice enough. Keep going, and the final approach towards the lales makes it all worth while. Stunning mountain lake scenery. We ate lunch at the second lake. With respect to other reviews that mention trash and doggy bags, we saw none. There must have been a clean up. We passed maybe ten people the whole time.

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
3 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Clear trailhead with parking along the road and a small lot. A good amount of sun at the entry/exit of the hike. The water was perfect (Labor Day Weekend). Medium to heavy traffic, to be expected on a 3-day weekend. There were a fair amount of flies in any older/standing water in the rocks, but not too many mosquitos. Definitely want some good grip shoes.

hiking
3 months ago

This has always been one of my favorite hikes. Hiking shoes or shoes with good grip are really recommended due to the rocks and rock beds you climb. This time we started at 11 on a Sunday and while there were a few coming down it wasn’t crowded. I also saw no trash around, middle and Upper lakes are my favorite to swim in. The lakes are beautiful I’m wondering where some people are starting because each time my crew and I go, our fitbit and other trackers show a total of 11 or 12 miles round trip from where we start, climb, traverse, up to and around the 3 lakes and back. All trails says 8.1.?

hiking
3 months ago

Way overcrowded with dog poop bags along the trails along with toilet paper. Lakes are ok but as stated in other reviews, lots of trash from campers who don’t care. Probably was a nice place 30yrs ago but now it’s just gross like the bay area people that are thrashing it. Leave no trace!

hiking
3 months ago

Good trail, not too crowded. Rocky - make sure you have good shoes! Can hear the freeway at some points. Lots of shade.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

The trail up there was too long for what it is. The lakes are just alright. We had to just pass the first two lakes to find a spot along the shore that wasn’t occupied. When we got to the upper lake there was a screaming baby across the lake and you could still faintly hear semi trucks roaring down I-80.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

I see other people selected "rocky" as a trail condition but didn't thoroughly explain. Picture hiking uphill in a dry stream bed. I didn't go to the upper lake, but the middle lake was gorgeous. Very busy on an August Saturday, especially after noon.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Fellow hikers & backpackers: WE NEED TO DO BETTER. I saw way too much Toilet Paper on trail and lots of trash left over in fire rings, and micro trash on trail. PACK OUT ALL OF YOUR TRASH. So much foil and remnants of trash in fire pits is NOT ok. You are not supposed to burn your trash in fire rings. Just pack it out, it’s not that hard. Also, there is no trash service at the trailhead. So don’t leave your trash in the bathrooms! We started our hike Saturday afternoon (noon-ish) and there was a forest service employee cleaning the restrooms. We finished our trip Sunday morning around 10 am and one of the bathrooms was trashed! Clean up after yourselves, folks! Our forest service employees are overworked and underpaid and it’s not their job to clean up your trash! Go educate yourself on Leave No Trace principles (lnt.org) if you are unfamiliar with the concept. Let’s keep our wilderness beautiful! Otherwise, lakes are gorgeous, the hike is moderately crowded, and if you’re backpacking on a Saturday, get there earlier rather than later.

hiking
4 months ago

Bring lunch, and pick your favorite lake. Loved this trail!

hiking
4 months ago

Sweet place to hike in and camp.

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