Penner Lake Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nevada City, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,204 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash


horseback riding

nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers


7 months ago

Beautiful! The most incredible sunset I have ever seen! Took a wrong turn after Long Lake... don’t go right, go left and up the hill. I missed it, thank goodness for All Trails! Pass several lakes on the way... plenty of camping spots around the lake. The downhill in the beginning was a bit deceiving... seemed easy enough, but coming back up it the next day was rough haha!

9 months ago

10 months ago

Just did a hike to Penner Lake with some church youth. It was a beautiful hike. Stayed for 3 nights. Still patches of snow here and there but none on the trail.

10 months ago

partial track in to Penner Lake. started tracking after dam at Feeley Lake.

11 months ago

Road is definitely impassible due to snow still :/ 6/4/18

Mon Aug 27 2018

We went on a non-holiday weekend and there were lots of people at the lake. Probably not surprising since it's a fairly easy hike in and we saw lots of families with young children there. Luckily, we didn't have an issue with mosquitoes! Would recommend Penner Lake for people looking for an easy backpacking trip and don't mind having others around. As other folks have mentioned, if you're starting from Carr Lake Trailhead, the last 5-10 miles of the ride to there is unpaved with large boulders. A car with high clearance is recommended.

Tue Aug 14 2018

I’ve never packed in from Grouse Ridge but I know the road to Grouse Ridge is much nicer than the road to Carr Lake where I normally start. The only downside to starting at Grouse Ridge is you end with a climb. Beyond where to start this area is amazing. You do have a lot of people at all the lake so if solitude is what you’re looking for I would go somewhere else. If you don’t mind a lot of people at the Lake. Than this is a great place to camp. The switchbacks right before Penner Lake are rocky but I’ve seen some pretty young children at Penner and I’ve take my boys here as early as 7 years old. The water is clear and when you add that with the trees and rock you will keep wanting to come back.

Sun Jul 22 2018

Great trail- fantastic views almost all through. It’s also brilliant in the number of lakes you see along the way. Try the smaller lakes if you want some solitude. Ah also, for the trailhead mentioned here your car needs some amount of clearance- it’s 5 miles of brutal stones for a regular car/tires. Maybe the Bowman trailhead someone else mentioned in the comments works better?

Mon Jun 04 2018

Moderate ups and downs. Well marked trail. Lots of pretty vistas with lakes. Our group decided to meet at Carr Lake off of Bowman Lake rd. Trail from there leads to Penner and other lakes.

Sat Feb 17 2018

Did this hike last weekend. BEAUTIFUL! Definitely needed the 4wheel drive because of the snow to get to the trail head. Left the snow shoes in the truck but could have used them at certain points. Camp ground bathroom at the second lake you come to. Can't wait to come back in the summer!

Sun Aug 20 2017

Great hike. Lots of trail traffic on the day I hiked, but very beautiful scenery and good to be outside.

Sun Jul 30 2017

Great hike that goes past some other beautiful lakes as well. Plus, the jumping rock at Penner is an awesome reward for the effort getting there

Sat Jul 22 2017

Just did Round Lake trail, TH at Carr Lake off 17. I would strongly recommend this TH as opposed to going to Grouse Ridge, and working back westward. The Carr TH is MUCH easier to access, and will take you to the Penner/Crooked lake trail between Feeley and Island lakes. No prob getting to Carr lake TH on 17, though it is 4 miles of 5mph bouncing over rock and ruts. Doable however. Note that the trail map shows starting at the eastern end of the trail, at Grouse ridge. Just follow the driving instructions to end at the Carr Lake TH.

Sat Jul 15 2017

Great day of hiking. Beautiful trail with wildflowers and crystal clear lakes. We were able to swim at Crocked lake and Island lake. We also hike to ridge above Penner to see Culbersome lake. Can't wait to return soon.

Mon Jul 10 2017

Beautiful sites! Relatively easy hike.

Thu Jul 06 2017

I was just there 5 days ago (well, I went to Island Lake, didn't have time to make it to Penner), and there is absolutely no snow on the roads. There are a few patches here and there on the trail from Carr Lake to Island, but nothing that requires changing plans. I took Forest Rd 17 and parked at the parking lot by Carr Lake. I'll be going to Penner Lake in a couple days again and I'll update if the trail itself has issues. But as far as the road is concerned, it's clear.

Mon Jul 03 2017

Lots of snow still! Cannot drive all the way to the campground / trail head due to snow and down trees. There is still five feet of snow in places and the trail is difficult to navigate due to snow and down trees. Many signs are also down. We got lost a few times looking for the trail. Bring a chainsaw and a GPS.

Sun Jun 25 2017

Just whet back this weekend and had snow!

Wed Apr 19 2017

This was my very first backpacking trip and I absolutely loved it. I was nervous I wouldn't be able to handle the elevation with my pack but it was totally doable. We started on Friday afternoon and hiked to Island Lake where we stayed for the first night. The second day we hiked up to Penner Lake which was difficult with my pack but not impossible. We enjoyed the beauty of nature and how quiet it was up there. Then the third day we made our way from Penner Lake back to Grouse Ridge camping area and headed home. Overall the hike was beautiful and calming with not a ton of people which made it even nicer.

Mon Apr 03 2017

This is a destination that will not disappoint you. It's very forgiving on the feet and thighs and views are breathtaking! I've hiked it twice during the month of June and it's well shaded until the last mile. Most is flat until the very end but worth the climb!

Sun Oct 02 2016

We parked at the Carr/Feeley Lake parking area and hiked to Island Lake along the Round Lake trail and then on to Penner Lake on the Crooked Lake trail. They have recently graded much of road 17 so it's not that bumpy until about the last mile. We were glad we got to see the cows again:) This is a nice trail with so many beautiful lakes to see along the way (Carr, Feeley, Delaney, Island, Crooked). So many more lakes to explore in this area:)

Sun Sep 25 2016

Pretty easy hike to Penner Lake via Grouse Ridge Trail. Passed several pretty lakes on the way. Pretty flat but be warned there are 2 places where the incline hiking out is pretty steep. Overall, love this hike! Several others on the trail and some dogs. I would do this hike again. You do have to drive about 4 miles off of Bowman Lake Road. The 4 miles are all dirt and would highly recommend a high clearance vehicle driving this road. Got a little 4wheeling in and a hike! Great day! We came across a herd of cows near the beginning of the Trail. Pretty neat and harmless if you give them their space. You will hear them because they all wear cow bells.

Tue Aug 30 2016

It's a great short backpacking trip for those of us, who just want to hike for 3-4 miles and enjoy the rest of our weekend. We showed up on Friday morning and had the lake pretty much to ourselves. However, Saturday there were several new groups including a 21 member Boy Scout troop. They were actually very quiet after 9pm. The views were amazing and the lake has fish. I caught a nice 15" Rainbow trout on the last evening we were there. All in all it was great and the crowd on Saturday was to be expected, since it's such a short hike in.

Thu May 26 2016

Easy, nice lake at the end.

7 months ago

8 months ago

8 months ago

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