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Norris Trailhead to Jackass Lakes [CLOSED]

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Sierra National Forest

Norris Trailhead to Jackass Lakes [CLOSED] is a 5.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Oakhurst, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and fly fishing and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 5.3 mi Elevation gain 1,259 ft Route type Out & Back
Dog friendly Camping Fishing Hiking Forest Lake River Views Wild flowers Rocky Closed
Description
Waypoints (0)

As of September 2020, trails in this area are closed due to wildfire. See park page for more information. Note: As of August 26, 2020, users have reported that the Beasore road is CLOSED due to work on Chiquito bridge so take Minarets and loop back around. Short a little steep, but overall fairly easy. Well marked and maintained trail, except the last quarter or half mile is on bald face mountain. Beautiful lakes to explore all around (make it to Burro Lk, so pretty). Great fishing. Can hike to and from Madera Peak from Lower Jackass Lk in a day.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (51)
Photos (49)
Recordings (36)
Completed (84)
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Preston Ernest
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Great hike up to beautiful lower Jackass. Stunning views of the sunrise in the morning and of the lake from camp. Well marked and maintained trail to the lower and middle lakes with plenty of shade. Pay attention to the rock cairns marking the way to upper Jackass. It was my first time backpacking in years and it took me around 2 hours one way. Beasore road is closed due to work on Chiquito bridge so take Minarets and loop back around. All around beautiful country, could have easily spent days just at the lower lake. Will definitely be back!

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Alexis Fairchild
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
HikingBridge out

Beasore road was closed at the Upper Chiquito bridge, but being a local, I knew a short cut around. It was my first time hiking in about 10 years, not a great choice for the first time back, but I completed it to the lower lake. I went with a Marine friend who's in great shape, so he pushed me along. We had a great swim in the lake to relieve my aching muscles then finished the hike back down. All-in-all, a great hike.

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Rotech Castio
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 24, 2020

so we tried to do this hike yesterday 7/23/20 but on the way up we saw about halfway up on the road that there was construction and a sign that said "road closed ahead" well sure enough about 6-7 miles before the trailhead the road was closed so we couldnt even get up there, although there was a sign where the road closed sign was that said detour we weren't positive if it would lead to the trailhead only because we thought there was only one way to get to the trailhead. My gps on my phone was working but only enough to show the highlighted route to get there nothing else, being that the signal was very very weak, so if we would've took the detour I was afraid of getting lost because we would not have been able to use the gps.

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Ron Baumheckel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 12, 2020
Backpacking

Started in late in the day and got caught in a very cold storm with gusty winds and hail on Friday evening but it was quick and everything calmed down in a couple of hours. Caught 3 fish but others with me didn't catch any. Hiked out in 1.5 hours on Sunday. Beautiful place to visit but cold at night.

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Kelly Isaacs-White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 6, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

one of my favorite hiking trails. absolutely beautiful!!!

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Jordan Briski
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HikingRocky
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Frank Hong
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Backpacking

Fantastic trail. We spent the night at lower jackass lake. Hike was mostly uphill and there are some parts of the trail you may need to do a little bit of scrambling (especially near a rocky mountain area as you approach your final ascent to Jackass lake). Overall, very little bugs, plenty of water, hardly any crowds, and AMAZING views! Was not too chilly or windy where we camped Worth noting... the last 20-30 min drive up to the Norris Trailhead is pretty rough. I don't have an AWD/4x4, and had moments I was concerned I was going to get stuck in all the loose dirt and gravel. Totally doable, but just be ready for a bumpy road if you plan to start at Norris Trailhead).

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Ashleigh Wagner
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HikingRockySnow

Almost the whole trail was up hill. It was also a little early in the year to do this hike. It was very cold and windy. However beautiful views along the way. We did have to stop and turn around. There was still now and we lost the trail. If you are not used to hiking an incline this will be a little difficult. We will definitely be back.

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Lauren Stava
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2019
Hiking

Good for a quick day hike! Took two friends who are not accustomed to hiking and they could hang. Bring bug spray!

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kathy craft
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2019
HikingBugsRockySnow
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Andrew Condra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2019
HikingBugsClosedWashed out

Completed this trail on July 7th 2019. Overall a great hike didn’t see anyone on the trail. Initially the trail was a little hard to find and follow as most of it was semi washed out. But once you got a hang for the trail it wasn’t bad. It was a little buggy at the first small lake and the camping spot at jackass lake was closed for restoration. But the views on top of the lake where worth it.

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Selene Lopez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2019
Hiking

I'm a huge fan of backpacking this area due to fewer crowds than Yosemite but beauty that almost rivals it. There are hidden waterfalls everywhere in the early season. The mosquitoes were just starting to come out but it wasn't terrible over July 4th weekend yet. Streams and falls along the trail out of Norris were quite full due to late snow. There was still snow on the trail, and some parts got pretty slick. We camped up at Lower Jackass Lake, and it got really cold at night. Stargazing was incredible since we had an almost new moon. This is a nice short hike, but steep and rocky in some areas, with lots of downed trees, so it's not the easiest to navigate, but worth it.

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Gary Scrivner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 22, 2018

Hiked the lower Lake two weeks ago and loved it. Hope to do the upper Lake soon.

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Nancy Larson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 14, 2018
Hiking

Great group hike. Fair amount of boulder hopping, thankful for those dreaded squats!

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Jacob Davison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2018
Fishing

The trail was relatively easy to follow, with a few strenuous parts along the way. Fishing was great along Norris creek (Brook and German Brown trout) and in Jackass lake (Rainbow trout).

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Brandon Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 11, 2018
Backpacking

We went up a couple of weeks ago, it was my first overnight backpacking trip in 30 years. The dirt road to the trailhead was really rutted up (doable in a Subaru Outback), but the trail was well worth it. We stayed at the middle lake and I caught two rainbows.

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Zachary Dickinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2017
Backpacking

Can some advise on overnight permits and how to obtain?

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Rachel Fang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 13, 2016
Hiking

Arriving at Jackass Lakes was so rewarding. It had such a beautiful serenity after traipsing through the forest. The first part of the trail was easily marked, but it wasn't the most obvious spotting the creek bend you had to make a first left at - that if you didn't would take you to another trail. Beyond this point, the trail was helpfully marked with a combination of twig arrows on the ground and two stacked rocks (we contributed to a few on the return to help other novices like ourselves and felt like forest elves). When we arrived at the first little lake, we had thought it was Jackass but too small, then recalled the map and realised it was a pond-like distraction just a touch too early, so we continued on. Arriving at the bare rock face was confusing, the path upwards was a bit of guesswork because there wasn't one necessarily but the view from the top was amazing. We eventually heard water and ventured forward to find the lake beyond some trees. It felt like such a discovery and it was simply beautiful. Definitely a moderate hike for a newbie like me - my heart rate maintained a good cardio rate and at times soared during the long stretches of gradual uphill. So worth it.

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Whitney Black
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2015

I did this trail with my dad when I was 16 and loved every minute of it. Going back at 26 with my best friend we had to take the Jackass 4wd road which is now a trailhead because my sedan couldn't make it down the dirt road to the Norris Creek Trailhead. The Jackass trailhead is about 2 miles before Norris and is a much more difficult trail to take in. The entire hike is uphill and not always clearly marked going up to the lower lake. Once past the lower lake there is no longer a trail and you are scaling mountain faces to get up to Middle and Upper Jackass. Pay attention to the rock stacks to lead you in and out of the lake areas. If you can, make it to Burro, the views looking down on Upper Jackass are stunning.

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Kit Bedell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2014
Hiking

At first junction near the creek go LEFT! Otherwise you'll end up on the Fernandez trail, and an extra 1.5MI hike ....After you pass Norris Lake you have to carve your own trail up the granite face. Locals spot, so if you're a clueless tourist or a #jackass, don't bother. Cheers!

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Bryan Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2014
Camping
First to Review

Backpacked in for 2 nights to Lower Jackass Lake. Lake is beautiful. There's rocks on the back corner of the lake you can jump off of into the lake. Water feels good. Fishing was pretty good and everyone caught some fish even if they weren't fishing much. I caught 9, 10, 10, 12 inch trout. Most of the trout were pretty small being that 10 inch was a larger one on average. We did see some that looked like 14 inches jumping but we didn't catch that those. Maybe next time. The hike up is tough when you're carrying a 40 lb pack. Took us 3.5 hours up. Down took us 1.5 hours. If you're just doing a day hike without a pack, you can probably do 1.5 hours up and 45 minutes down without too much effort. It was not too cold at night so you can probably bring a lighter sleeping bag. You will need a jacket of sweatshirt for the evenings, but probably not something super heavy. During the day it was sunny when you're out from underneath the trees. The wind would pick up for about 15 minutes then die back down for 45 minutes about all day so bring chap-stick. We will probably make this trip and annual thing for our family.

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John Giusto
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Hiking
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Alex Balmanno
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Hiking
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Augustine Miranda
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Hiking
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