Paradise Lake Trail

MODERATE 31 reviews
#13 of 114 trails in

Paradise Lake Trail is a 15.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Truckee, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

15.6 miles
2749 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




nature trips





wild flowers


An overnight backpacking trip along the Pacific Coast Trail in Truckee, California. Paradise Lake is a classic Sierra Nevada lake with gorgeous sunsets and a pristine lake full of trout. This overnight backpacking trip is easily accessible from Highway 80 and follows parts of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Tahoe National Forest.

13 days ago

20 days ago

25 days ago

The hike was fun but there was so many mosquitoes. There is plenty of camp spots at the lake but like I said the mosquitoes are bad except around noon and late at night. Snow wasn't bad on the trail, it's pretty easy to follow the footsteps in the snow when the trail is covered.

26 days ago

27 days ago

1 month ago

2 months ago

6 months ago

This hike was great. A buddy and I spent a couple extras days up here and the surrounding area hiking castle peak and basin. Proceeded down to paradise to camp for the night before visiting Warren early on in the day then rock climbing up into devils oven. (Much more difficult then anticipated). From
There we hiked up and out of devils oven and found the Warren lake trail witch we used to loop back around the backside of basin and castle peak before finding our way back to our car across from boreal

10 months ago

Loved this hike! It was pretty easy getting to Paradise Lake. Not too many signs on the way but when you need to turn right there is a sign on a tree. There was a good amount of people camping at the lake. Weather was beautiful but very cold at night and early morning. The way back the trail was a little harder due to more uphills but the switch backs were nice. Great views. I would do this hike again in the future.

10 months ago

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fun out n back day hike. Easy trail and the lake was amazing. Prepare for a 2 mile uphill grind on the return from the lake, so fuel up before leaving Paradise.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Beautiful, well worth the nice 6 mile hike in. The lake and surrounding area is gorgeous! Just bring a face net or bug spray for the last 2.5 miles in and out. The bugs eat you alive.

Monday, July 25, 2016

This was a good hike. We extended it a bit by starting at the donner party PCT trailhead at a rest area off of 80. It made the hike around 10 miles each way. Took us about 4 hours. We hiked with 2 dogs. They did well but were a bit sore after the hike out. The trail is easy to follow. We only had trouble at the very end hiking up the granite to the lake. There are very nice camping sites and even some established fire rings. My only complaint is the bugs. In the afternoon on the way there, the flies were pretty bad. We left around 8am the next day and got eaten alive by mosquitos. Overall a good hike with some beautiful vistas on the way there and a perfect view from the tent at the end.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thursday, July 07, 2016

It is a nice hike, I recommend doing the out and back and only continue to Warren lake if you are prepared to Boulder down rocks.

Monday, July 04, 2016

We did the entire loop from Paradise Lake over to Warren Lake and out of Warren lake. It was very difficult but beautiful. The hike to Paradise Lake was easy, met lots of amazing PCT through hikers. Our goal was to get to Warren Lake, the climb over was very difficult. Perhaps we were on the wrong trail? We climbed over boulders, and cliffs. We had to take our packs off to climb down certain areas, very scary at points.
Warren Lake was beautiful. We set up camp, had a cold swim. The hike out was tough. You climb to 8,000 elevation. There was snow on a lot of parts that made you lose the trail. Make sure you have a satellite map just to keep you on the right course. Some areas not clearly marked. It was such a relief to see day hikers. This gave us hope we were close to our starting point. After 3 days on the trail, scratched, bruised and eaten up by mosquitos we wanted to get home!!! Take Deet!!! Only thing that works. A friend told me about app works when your phone is on airplane mode.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Went for a lovely hike and the ended it with a magnificent swim in the lake. Camped on the east side of the lake. There is a very nice camping spot with a grill located on the north side of the lake. Try to avoid the jeep trail as much as you can at the start. The trails to the west or along the ridge are more lovely. There is a spring about 5 or so miles in. Probably more fresh water sources earlier in summer but in Auguest they were a bit sparser. Awesome hiking trip. Easy grade, nice distance, good camp grounds. :) enjoyed it very much so

Monday, August 10, 2015

Beautiful trail, more a moderate hike than hard if starting from the end of the jeep trail. If you are taking the Jeep trail, go left at the fork to Castle Pass (there is a sign for that and Hole in the Ground) and park there for a shorter hike or go right at the fork to start lower on the PCT. Either way, the hike is great. Paradise Lake is another stunning alpine lake with pristine water, cool islands to swim to and a nice trail around the edge. The only problem is that it is well loved. There are MANY fire rings, some trash and many people. This weekend there were no less than 50 people at the lake camping. The trail to Warren Lake is difficult - we only made it halfway on a lazy day hike - but I heard it was worth it and there is a trail going around that lake. There are not really other day hike options from Paradise. I recommend it - mid-week. Or maybe later in the fall when the cold keeps some people out of the backcountry.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

This was a nice little overnight trip, not too many people camping at the lake. The portion of the PCT is beautiful, and the hiking is moderate except for the initial ascent and the switchbacks leading down to the turnoff to the lake.

I parked at the end of the road on the opposite side of the freeway from Boreal and hiked up the jeep trail to where it intersects with the PCT at Castle Pass. The jeep trail is obvious and easy to follow and there is good signage at Castle Pass for the PCT. There is also a sign at the trail that splits off to Paradise Lake. Approaching the lake, the trail becomes hard to follow over the granite slabs, so look for cairns leading the way, or just keep working your way east and you will run into the lake. There are several good campsites along the bank of the lake on the west and southwest sides, and also an island you can wade over to and camp on as well.

Beware the mosquitos! Bring plenty of bug spray -- I have never seen so many mosquitos, especially when the sun went down and early in the morning. There were thousands of dragon flies, which won't bother you and were kind of cool to watch as they moved in waves and congregated over the water. I dropped a line several places in the lake in an attempt to fish, but met with negative results. The lake water was very clear and I saw no fish.

This is a great hike for dogs if they are in reasonable shape. It was a little too much for my bulldogs, but bulldogs are not known for their athletic abilities. We made the trek in about four hours, which includes a few breaks. There was plenty of water in the form of creeks and streams along the way, but it was pretty strenuous for them. The jeep trail is VERY rocky and was rough on their paws, and sections of the trail that were steep or exposed tended to burn them out quickly.

I carried a 40-pound pack that included 2 liters of water. It was only slightly more water than I needed to do the hike (one way) in four hours and stay very hydrated. I will pick a shorter hike for my dogs in the future, but I would do this hike again without them. The lake was beautiful, if a little cold, but a lovely destination after a long hike.