Sardine Lakes

EASY 23 reviews
#24 of 165 trails in

Sardine Lakes is a 1.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sierra City, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from December until March. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

1.8 miles
246 feet

dog friendly

kid friendly



mountain biking

nature trips

off road driving

paddle sports








wild flowers


off road driving
6 days ago

Went up Saturday morning in my 2018 Tacoma off road.
Stock no mods, all weather tires, literally got it two days ago.
Trail was well maintained. We were behind an explorer that couldn’t make it up half way. .
Lots of hikers on the trail.
Definitely a fun trip.
Upper lake was beautiful.

off road driving
6 days ago

Gorgeous lakes. My brother and I drove up to Upper Sardine. People say it’s a gnarly road up, and while Subarus won’t make it up, my mild Toyota made it up without a single scratch. I highly, highly, recommend camping at Upper Sardine... We had it to ourselves and could see the PACKED campsite at Lower Sardine from where we set up camp.

We hiked to Sierra Buttes Lookout from Upper Sardine. What an incredible hike! Highly recommend it!

28 days ago

Went early there were a bunch of family’s at the lower lakes but if ya hike up the 4 wheel rd and hang a left around the lake there’s great swimming spots with a good Mt. backdrop.

off road driving
1 month ago

We actually drove the trail. The beginning of the trail posts a sign that lets you know you can hike, bike or drive it. Really needs to be a 4x4 of sorts. Great drive and outstanding lakes. You start with one lake and then go up to a second lake. Amazing!

off road driving
1 month ago

Sardine lakes did not disappoint! It’s absolutely stunning, if you’re thinking about making a trip there do it! There’s campgrounds very close to the lake and there were very few people there for it being a Saturday at noon. For those who want to go to wheel up the trail, here’s some good info for you. The trail is extremely rocky, so having skid plates will help a ton. It’s also extremely skinny, and there are only a couple points to turn around. I wouldn’t recommend taking a full size truck up. I took my 03 Ranger (3” Lift, 33’s and it’s 2 wheel drive but it has a rear locker). The trail is so skinny that my truck barely fit in some parts. There’s a few big rocks that can’t be avoided that will 100% contact the underside of your truck unless you’ve got a rig on 40’s or a huge lift. I was joined at the end of the trail by a Tacoma and 4Runner (both lifted with a/t tires) and watched a nice 4x4 f150 (stock height and Tires) get pretty messed up on this trail. He had to back down about a 1/4 of the way and banged his truck up pretty good. Overall, a fun and not very challenging trail if you’ve got a decent rig and some driver skill. If you’ve got any questions you can find me on Instagram @jakeramirez99 and I’d be happy to give you any info about this trail you want.

3 months ago

Breathtaking !!! My fave place soo far.

6 months ago

Nice and easy for a New Year's Day hike!

7 months ago

easy drive with clear roads. saw two other couples the 2.5 hours we were there. one driving down on the jeep road/path and one walking down. basically had the place to ourselves. kids had a blast with the snowball fight. stunning views that look like a fake background drop. easy hike.

11 months ago

Very rocky road to upper Sardine Lake watch your step. Great views well worth the short hike. No crowds during this September hike.

Monday, August 07, 2017

We've camped at Sardine Lake for years and always make the hike up to Upper Sardine Lake. Saw this hike on All Trails which extends the trail past the dam at Upper Sardine. The trail at this point is difficult to follow and requires a little rock scrambling. We go past the dam but did not take the trail to the end as it was not marked.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Loved this trail wasn't to difficult or hard to find. A few people tried to make it part way with their 4x4 and I applaud them, a few did make it and were rewarded with some amazing camping spots. Wish I would have brought my inter tube to float The views are AH-mazing!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wow! Fantastic views and a great place for some kayaking or stand up paddling or boating. A very popular weekend place as well.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Great views of the Buttes. Lower Sardine Lake was highly trafficked with people/canoes/boats as it has a resort right next to it but I found Upper Sardine Lake much more peaceful. I don't think this trail was quite four miles. It was uphill but pretty easy.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

I would not rate this as lightly trafficked, especially near lower Sardine. We got to the area around 1130am this morning and it was a zoo. Once you get away from Lower Sardine, things quiet down a little bit. We enjoyed some swimming in Upper Sardine. It's hard to beat the mountain backdrop for a swim up there. The trail is shared with some off road vehicles so you have to dodge a jeep here and there but it's not bad. Very pretty!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Beautiful view of the buttes!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Great snowshoeing, spectacular views, good work out. From parking lot off high 89 to upper sardine lake and back was 11 miles, as no car goes beyond this point at winter. Not 4 miles. Unless someone has snowmobile.

Monday, March 17, 2014

We camp in this area every fall, and it's gorgeous. No swimming in Lower Sardine; but once you get up to the upper lake, it's all yours and freeeeeezing! Gorgeous though - the views are indescribable and so peaceful!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I live in Truckee and this hike gives you some of the best views in the area. Lower Sardine Lake has cottages and bathrooms. Upper Sardine has nothing, if you are looking for the BEST views and the least people go to Upper Sardine Lake.

1 month ago

7 months ago

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016