Spaulding Lake Trail

MODERATE 57 reviews
#15 of 120 trails in

Spaulding Lake Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nevada City, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
570 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

The beginning of the trail follows an old washed out roadbed for a quarter mile before climbing a series of switchbacks. The trail is mostly under deep tree cover along rocky ground. There is a significant climb of approximately 700 feet to the edge of lake Spaulding. In the spring there are substantial wet areas and small streams to ford. About 3 miles in you will need to cross under a large pipeline (penstock). Follow the pipline up the hill approximately 150 feet before continuing on eastward to the lake overlook. Alternately, follow the pipe line south to a small foot bridge that takes you to the overlook near PG& E's small hydeo-electric power plant. Return by the same route.

We started at Fuller Lake, which was very pretty. Trail was just OK, we were kind of disappointed. It was shady most of the way, which we liked. It just wasn't very scenic. We had to use the GPS quite a bit, esp near the end of the trail at Spaulding Lake. Even then we had a hard time finding an easy way down to the lake. Spaulding Lake was low, with only rock along the shoreline, rather desolate looking. No shade at all. It was a cool day or we would have gone swimming. We hung out there for a while and the dog had a lot of fun swimming. If you like solitude, this is the place - we didn't encounter anyone on the trail or at the lake. Good for off leash dog hiking. So the trail was a mixed bag for us. But it's not really worth doing again.

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love this trail! there are a few detours due to trail issues, so bringing a GPS and following the alltrails map is a good idea, but you will end up at spaulding lake one way or another :). The water was not flowing too high so that was not an issue but in spring that could be a problem. beautiful lush forested area. dogs had a blast. had a nice afternoon thundershower to cool things down. There is a bit of up and down on this trail so be prepared for a moderate workout.

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We loved this trail! It had everything we wanted, great wildflowers, dog friendly, not too strenuous, shady, sparsely populated. but we heard about a waterfall, and couldn't find it. maybe next time.