Nellie Lake Trail

HARD 70 reviews
#2 of 8 trails in

Nellie Lake Trail is a 8.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Shaver Lake, California that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.6 miles Elevation Gain: 2,221 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash


nature trips

bird watching




wild flowers



4 months ago

A beautiful, shady trail with a few downed trees to easily walk around. Very cool today, about 64 degrees. About 4.5 hrs round trip with a 20 min lake stop. Rushing winds whistling through the tree tops. Uphill was challenging for the first mile and a half, but no scrambles. A second uphill section for the last mile before the lake. The lake is serene and gorgeous. Forest debris on the trail made it tricky for the downhill section.

5 months ago

Love this hike , I’m tempted to give it one star to keep people away from it

5 months ago

This was a great hike. Tougher than I imagined. All the reviews about falling trees is correct, but most are off the trail. You will be dealing with loose dirt and sand, walking on roots, and mostly up hill. The lake was lovely with not one person in sight. Only thing I would have done different is get an earlier start. I left around 12:40 and got there around 3. By the way, the trail shows up as 10.5 miles on my app. It was sun sun sun about 75% up. Bugs not that bad. Took me about 2.5 hours up and 2 or less hours back. If you are looking for a slightly easier hike, check out twin lakes about 15 minutes away. Happy Hiking.

6 months ago

Many down trees but people have made new paths around the obstructions. Always knew where the trail was even in the snow. Mosquitoes were almost nonexistent. Good day hike or overnight. already established campsites around the lake. My pup made it no proble.

6 months ago

great trail to take the dogs on!

6 months ago

Only giving this trail 3 stars due to the current conditions, but would love to revisit. The trail is covered in so many downed trees and branches from this past heavy winter, making it hard to determine where it goes. Add to that the current snow still covering the top half of the trail, it really was a challenge and one I could not have managed without this app. Seriously not sure where I would have ended up without it (note to self...take extra phone battery next time!) But Nellie Lake is breathtaking, with ice still covering much of it and snow still covering the surrounding slopes. We had it all to ourselves making it all the more special.

Wed Oct 17 2018

Worth the private lake views! Long moderate incline. Trail is marked fairly well, just pay attention for signs. Getting to the trailhead from Shaver lake takes about 45 minutes.

Thu Sep 06 2018

Went during the Labor day weekend, not very crowded for camping, ran into more traffic for day hikes on our way back. Camped around the lake, beautiful views in the morning. Highly recommend!

Tue Sep 04 2018

Great hike, clearly marked trail. I would not rate this hike as hard. It’s moderate. Only the first mile and last half mile are challenging. The lake is beautiful!

Tue Aug 28 2018

A great workout hiking uphill to this picturesque lake. We had the lake all to ourselves, it was beautiful, a panorama of serenity.

Mon Aug 20 2018

Took the family and dogs up yesterday. Challenging, but clearly marked trail. All up and all the way down! Lake was pretty and saw zero people the whole way!!

Wed Jul 25 2018

This was a butt-kicker on the way to the lake due to the incline, but easy on the way back, of course

Mon Jul 23 2018

Had an awesome time on the trail on 7/20/18. Our group of four was able to complete the hike, out and back, in 4 hours and 10 minutes. This included a few rest stops along the way and 15-20 minutes at Nellie Lake. The trail has an initial up hill section that flattens out for about a mile. Once you cross a tiny creek their are two more noticeable uphill sections. A section of granite "steps" is the last uphill and then the trail meanders it way down into Nellie Lake. The water was crisp, but it was worth jumping in after the initial hike up. When we went up there was no one on the trail or at the Lake, we only encountered two other hikers on our way back down.

Sat Jun 09 2018

interesting. Kind of ugly at first thanks to all of the dead trees in the Sierras right now, but once you hit the halfway point it becomes considerably more scenic. I prefer a little bit better of a view while hiking, but the destination was great and beautiful. A good deal of side hikes are available on this trail as well (check out Mary's Meadow).

Mon Oct 23 2017

This is a fantastic trail. Pretty consistent incline from the start but a mile in the middle that is decently flat giving a nice break. Tough when you have a pack on. The entire trail is surrounded by pines, mainly shaded with a few places where the sunshine peaks through. There was already some snow on the trail. There are different trailheads the first mile so I def. suggest to pay attention to the signs. Nellie Lake was secluded and beautifully lined with pines. A few great places to set up camp next to the water.

Wed Sep 13 2017

Beautiful lake, took the dog and he loved it. There were cows at the top.

Tue Aug 08 2017

Great trail. Round trip in 3 1/2 hours. A few hungry mosquitos at the lake, but bug free the rest of the hike.

Mon Jul 24 2017

I did a hike on 7-24-17 and lost a dog collar with a transmitter on the collar. I lost it by the stream or by were all the logs in the shade just right of the stream. If found can you leave it at the rangers station or email me and I will pick it up. Reward!!! There was still a little bit of snow on the trail. Not bad.

Sat Jul 15 2017

Hiked to this lake on 6/22/17 with 2 friends. We originally set out planning to camp out and do the entire Kaiser loop but because of how much snow was still around we ended up settling for the trek to Nellie lake. Lost the trail a few times, and at several points the snow banks we were walking on were 6-8ft deep still! We expected snow of course, but not that much! The lake was indeed still frozen but we found a clearing in the snow and set up camp for the night. Overall a good hike which was much harder then normal because of the snow im sure. Good to know that late June after the winter we had this year is still a bit early for this elevation, but with using GPS and just kinda heading in the right direction we eventually made it to the lake lol. Will probably try this one again later in the season. Oh and for some reason the description says Shaver Lake instead of Huntington Lake. Have fun!

Sun Jul 02 2017

The snow is still very heavy above 8,000 feet. The trail was covered with snow drifts in places and hard to follow trail excellent hike. Lake was beautiful.

Mon Jun 26 2017

lake is completely frozen over. The trail is almost non existent due to snow pack. The lake looks awesome frozen.

Sat May 20 2017

The reward of Nellie lake is soooo worth it

Tue Mar 14 2017

Super long for one day hike, I would recommend back packing in and staying at least one night.

Mon Feb 27 2017

This is my one of my favorite trails. It's pretty much uphill the whole way, but once you get there it's worth it. This lake is pristine and all 4 times I've done the trail I've had the lake to myself. During grazing season you are likely to run into cattle so don't be alarmed. Stop at lakeshore for a well deserved beer after this one

Tue Oct 11 2016

this is the 5th trail around lake shaver area that we have done that has not been correct on the mileage at all this entire trip was 9.2 miles from the trailhead to the lake and back. I'm really beginning to question now every trail on this All trails website. this is a trail that for the most part is up hill all the way,with the occasional flat spot that might last .2 miles or less. we are buy no means fully in shape regular hikers, it took us about 3 1/2 hours to make it to the lake and it was 4.65 miles from the trail head. coming back only took us two hours, so that should give you some kind if idea as to how steep this trail is. also the last 1.5 miles is very steep and rocky. I'm amazed that the review before mine said they made it to the lake in just under 2 hours, and we speed walked straight down hill all the way back and it took us 2 hours. So Kudos to the last reviewer who managed to run all the way to lake and climb 1800+ feet that is an amazing accomplishment. I also wish I knew where this site gets its mileage from, lime I said this is the 5th trail in a row that was completely wrong. I can understand maybe a quarter of a mile off but not almost 2....

Tue Oct 11 2016

This was a difficult hike for being over 40 and from the south!

Mon Sep 05 2016

This was a great hike. Nice steady workout getting up to the lake and so worth it. It was warm enough for us to get in the water. Took us almost 2 hours to get up there so I'd say 5 hours round trip and that includes a nice lunch break and relaxing at/in the lake.

Mon Jun 06 2016

Going up is no joke, one hell of a workout, but getting to the top and seeing Nellie Lake was worth it. Gorgeous place! Doing this hike June so I didn't expect to see snow but there was a lot of it near the top.

Mon Mar 30 2015

It is approximately 3.6 miles from the TH near Billy Creek campground with a 1700 ft elevation gain. Nice in and out hike for the day. Take a lunch and enjoy the lake which is kind of low at the moment but still nice.

Mon Oct 27 2014

not 21 miles but 3 or 4. not 3000 feet but 2. used to be good fishing. not sure what happened.

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