Sword Lake Trail

MODERATE 15 reviews
#2 of 17 trails in

Sword Lake Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pinecrest, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,194 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips


bird watching




wild flowers


There are two main trailheads to access this lake. The closest one is the County Line trailhead, at which you can park after having survived driving 6 miles of dusty dirt road, of Highway 108. The rangers at the Summit station in Pinecrest have said that the trailhead could be driven to in regular passenger vehicles but there are many holes and rocks. The trail starts climbing right away and is steep at places, but once you reach (quickly) the summit (which is on the side of the Dardanelles West), the rest of the short hike is mostly downhill. It goes through woodlands first, then in beautiful, flowery meadows before going back to woodlands close to the lake. You can set up camp high on the granite (to avoid mosquitoes) but still very close to the lake. Spend time swimming and jumping from the cliffs, exploring Sword Lake's brother, Lost Lake, taking great views of Spicer Meadow Reservoir, and taking pictures of the sunset.

24 days ago

Can I hike this trail?

27 days ago

I went to hike this trail today. The road to the trail head remains closed. I assume it is due to the fire that went through a couple years ago. It looks like they have been doing some logging of the burned trees. I hope they get the trail opened soon.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Went here a lot in my teens, it was always a very easy hike! I was a leader in training @ Camp Jack Hazard, we got to explore many of these lakes near Dardanelle. I'm excited being back after many years away & can bring my own kid now!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

I tried hiking this trail yesterday, however, the dirt road leading to this trail was closed. I ended up hiking the dirt road, which consisted of a steady incline, nothing unbearable. You cross several camping areas and streams. The mountain which is either the Dardanelles or adjacent to was burned and there are a lot of dead trees which I assume is why the dirt road was closed. I’m hoping the road opens sometime soon because I’d really like to hike it.

Monday, September 18, 2017

We hiked this trail last year around July (2016) and it was stunning! The trek in is very easy all downhill which does make the trek out somewhat laborious but doable! the actual lake is VERY beautiful with some good jumping rocks! it didn't feel to crowded at all but we got there Thursday and stayed until Sunday and ended up on the backside of the lake to right. We also hiked over to the reservoir which is worth the hike (its very eerie) I would take our oldest child (13) on this hike but probably not the younger ones (12 & 5) just because the hike out would be super hard for them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The hike is beautiful! Did it with two 11 yr old boys quite easily. The lake has a 30' high jump off spot. The hike goes through a meadow, past creeks, tons of wildflower s and is partially shaded. The drive in to the trailhead is five miles of a rocky, uneven dirt road, parts are really bad.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

beautiful wildflowers and views. we kept going to the reservoir and Hiram Meadows

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Very well marked trail. The lake is beautiful and had I not had a heavy pack, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the hike much more. As a day hike I would agree this to be a moderate hike. Backpacking I would say more moderate to hard. Be prepared for massive ants and relentless mosquitoes. Without repellant, even walking on the trail you will be miserable. The views are spectacular - but lots of campsites are off limits for reclamation efforts so get there early in the week or start at the crack of dawn to secure a spot as we had a hard time finding a place to setup for the night. A little too crowded for my taste.

1 month ago

Saturday, August 26, 2017

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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