Sword Lake Trail

MODERATE 10 reviews
#1 of 11 trails in

Sword Lake Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Dardanelle, 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.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1387 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

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.

backpacking
2 days ago

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.

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

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

backpacking
2 months ago

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.