Sly Park Jenkinson Lake Loop Trail

MODERATE 320 reviews

Sly Park Jenkinson Lake Loop Trail is a 7.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pollock Pines, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
629 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

cross country skiing

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

Summer boating, fall colors, winter snowshoeing, and spring waterfalls make this El Dorado park enjoyable year round The trails around Jenkinson Lake can be visited on horseback, mountain bike and foot. This guide, however, is going to focus on hiking. The full route, if you go all the way around, is just over 8 miles. With the continuous ups and downs it can feel like a lot further though. The total elevation change is insignificant but the small "whoopdedoos" can amount to hundreds and even thousands of feet perceived elevation change. Good physical endurance is a must if you're going to make it all the way. Jenkinson Lake at Sly Park has outdoor activities all times of the year. Snowshoes, cross-country skiing, boating and swimming are enjoyed by many. It's a huge park with more features than most people can visit in one day. There are events in the park that include everything from community mixers to the yearly "Run on the Sly". This park has been voted "Best Recreation Facility by the Mountain Democrat newspaper year after year.

9 days ago

loved this hike with my family. my 7 year old daughter complained a lot until she saw the water fall and got to swim. she also swam in the lake and that made up for her complaining. it was fun for the family! you can picnic in the lagoons, lots of boaters came in and picnicked on the shore. the water is beautiful and turquoise for a lake. just loved it!

hiking
19 days ago

This is a beautiful hike. 85-90% shaded the entire way. My suggestion is to park along Emigrant Trail near the 2nd dam (parking option 3 shown on the map) and take the lake clockwise. You have to walk through some camp areas but it never felt intrusive. Not a ton of signage, but if you are not sure which way to go just take the path that keeps you along the lake.

Had a great hike to the waterfall.

We went on a Saturday (got there at 8am) and found parking pretty easily ($5). Luckily a ranger was there and gave us a map because this trail isn't well marked. You go through a few campgrounds. It was loud most of the trail. We either heard cars or the large amount of people on the lake. We had to move often for other hikers (large groups). The waterfall was VERY crowded. If you are looking for a trail that's peaceful and relaxing this is not the trail for you. It's closer to 10 miles as well. The trail itself is good for all fitness levels I would say.

1 month ago

Even though listed mileage is 7.6 miles our hike once around plus the side route to the waterfall and back was over 9 miles according to my GPS. Nice single path trail with easy footing. Shade most of the way. Restrooms along the way. Dog friendly as they can drink from the lake the whole way. The waterfall is worth seeing.

1 month ago

Gentle, well-shaded hike. I would also suggest entering at the southeast entrance off of Mormon Emigrant Trail and heading to the waterfall and back. This route is much more serene and less congested than doing the full loop; the north and west sides of the lake have many campsites and considerably more people.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike around the lake is easily accomplished in around 3-4 hours depending on your pace. I would rate this hike as an easy day trip. You will need water, sun screen, and comfortable shoes. There are restrooms and the trail is close to the lake the duration of the hike.

This hike is full of great scenery. I would suggest hiking the eastern side of the lake starting from the main entrance and turning around from the waterfall, instead of doing the full loop. This side of the lake is less congested, offers the most shade, and you can track a 10 mile hike this way instead of 8 miles.

The waterfall is big and has a swimming hole at the bottom. I found a rope swing along the way and plenty of fishing spots. There are benches to take lunch breaks along the hike and make sure you are cautious for snakes. I almost stepped on one this second time around.

1 month ago

beautiful trail with dogwoods for a bunch of different kinds of flowers blooming. It was a Serene Trail all the way to the waterfall. we went late in the day and the temperature was perfect it was mostly shaded

1 month ago

Beautiful views of the lake. The trail was clear and easy. I didn't do the whole 7 miles but enjoyed it.

hiking
2 months ago

Rad trail, plenty of shade, cool waterfall, lots of water access. Serene and quiet.

2 months ago

A few parking spaces right off the road, plus a lot just a couple hundred feet up. $5 fee, bathrooms and trash cans.

camping
2 months ago

One of my all time favorite locations for all types of outdoor recreational activities. This place is loved and very well maintained. I’ve Kayaked, hiked nine miles of trails around the lake, biked, watched Eagles, geese and camped. From the well maintained trails, to restrooms and staff, I’ve always enjoyed this location.

hiking
3 months ago

We camped here last weekend and decided after setting up cap to hike around the lake- FYI this hike is closer to 9 miles. We are both in great shape and It took us a long time, but the trail is flat and every angle of the lake is beautiful. There is a waterfall along the trail that is gorgeous! We will definitely come back in the summer when we can get in the lake.

trail running
3 months ago

Awesome lake. You can swim in it all of summer. Sometimes there is a waterfall depending on rainfall. Overall great place to trail run, walk, or hike. Good camping too!

hiking
4 months ago

This is not a difficult trail it’s about 9 Miles from the campground to complete the loop. Some areas you’ll have to walk on the street others past the campgrounds and picnic areas. The waterfall is gushing this year. If you have 3-4 hours to spare this is a nice hike with great views of the lake.

hiking
5 months ago

It is a beautiful view. Don’t listen to the 7.7 miles it’s more like 10 miles but it’s fine still a nice view. My aunt went with me she was 8 months pregnant it was really easy for her.

hiking
5 months ago

If you’re doing the loop just know you’re going to have to walk on the street for like a half mile to get back to where you parked. It’s closer to 9 miles.

The real scoop... the west side of the loop, the long side, is interrupted by several camp sights. So it’ll be awesome and then you’ll walk the huge camp sights and finding the trail and getting back on track can be a pain. The east side, around a mile shorter, is amazing. Great trail. Ups and downs. My gf and I enjoyed it a lot.

The waterfall is awesome. You have to walk past the bridge, can’t miss it, and you’ll approach it. We sat and had our lunch here. For a man-made waterfall is amazing. Still beautiful and would go back to see it any time, but would only hike the east side and not do the loop.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice and pretty easy hike. It’s beautiful and this time of year, not many people on the trail.

mountain biking
6 months ago

This is a nice mellow ride with a lot of great views. I recommend going counter clockwise around the lake. make sure to stop and check out the water fall near the East part of the lake called the meadows area. There is a lot of pine needles on the camping side of the lake.
There a couple of Free to Park areas that are very small and a couple of $5 day use parking areas outside of the main gates. Just ask about them at the entrance of the lake.

7 months ago

Great peaceful hike. Spotted two bald eagles. Including a baby.

hiking
8 months ago

Don't get me wrong with the three stars. It's pretty and well maintained. It's also very convenient location wise. Without having to drive at least an extra half hour more, this was as woodsy of an outing I was going to get of a hike in El Dorado that I saw right off the highway.

It's a GREAT place for kids and larger families. If you're looking for quiet and less people around this is not your place. Almost never had a clear photo shot without a human, auto or boat, or man made something in the shot. It was also kind of noisy with lots of talking and loud machinery on the north side. Even the waterfall is not natural it seems. The trail around the lake also makes you go on the paved road for quit a while which was a bit of a bummer. There was a bit more trash than I could pick up while walking but honestly for the amount of people that use this area I am surprised how clean it is.

I also think $12 for day use for a regular car is very high. I'll make sure to push to go out a little further next time.

8 months ago

North side of the lake isn’t well marked but south side is. Great views and good hike for older kids.

9 months ago

great hike one day AFTER it rained no dust on the trail lots of bathrooms along the 8 mile trail water fall was flowing strong

9 months ago

Only did southern part of lake but beautiful, well shaded, and even got some fall colors

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail around a uniquely shaped lake. The southeast corner of the lake is definitely the most scenic stretch for fall colors during this time of year. Lost the trail at the end and went over the two damns on the road which was only downfall, but would go back!

10 months ago

Couldn't figure out an exact trail. I recommend going across the freeway away from the lake and exploring the forest area. Steep downhill but fun hike. Beware of horse poop!

hiking
10 months ago

The hike around the Jenkinson lake is fairly easy and has beautiful views! Yes, there are a few steep locations, but if you go slow then the slope isn't too bad. Be aware of bikers on the trail though. The chimney area makes for a great location to go for a swim. The water isn't too cold. My Fitbit clocked me at about 9 Miles, but my cousin somehow got about 10.1 miles.

Map: http://www.webreserv.com/catalog/ eldoradoirrigationdistrictca/images/sly _park_brochure_16031700002.jpg

hiking
11 months ago

great hike, great views!

hiking
11 months ago

We parked at the entrance of the park and started on the trail counter clockwise. We hiked to the waterfall and back and my GPS said it was 8.68 miles. Mostly shady and very little traffic. Probably because it was forecast to be 105. Nice trail and scenery. Next time we'll look for a closer parking to the trail.

Load More