Warren Lake Trail

HARD 44 reviews
#20 of 168 trails in

Warren Lake Trail is a 12 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Truckee, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
12.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,910 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

Directions from Truckee: Travel west on Hwy. #80 and take the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge Road exit, which is immediately west of the highway's Donner Summit Roadside Rest Area. On the south side of the highway there is a sign reading: Tahoe National Forest Trailhead Donner Summit Pacific Crest Trail. Follow the directions on the sign turning east for 0.4 miles to the trailhead.

backpacking
15 days ago

I salute those of you who day hike this baby. I even had a man running who passed me twice! I am new to the backpacking world, but this hike kicked my butt. I would like to thank the gentleman a couple of post below for the good call on the sign that says Warren’s Lake +1 with and arrow on a rock going left. Do not go left! All Trails also said to go right, but I remembered your post just in case! The All Trails app and my trekking poles saved my butt on this one. It was an incredible adventure. So beautiful and so quiet. Trail was nicely marked. I only saw one couple on the way in. The hike is up and down a lot, but on the last decent to Warren’s lake it was grueling. Trekking poles were a must for me. You’re going straight down rocks and gravel and to my credit I only fell once ha! As I was backpacking with full gear on it took me a bit longer then without. At the bottom I found a secluded little campsite to the right with its own fire pit and beach trail. There are more campsites out to the left and up the rocks after the site I chose. A lot of hikers and backpackers camp here so you’re really not alone. Absolutely beautiful lake and worth every moment of agony.

backpacking
22 days ago

The views are spectacular, and the last mile is extremely technical getting down to the lake. The weather was perfect this time of year. Lots of wildflowers, and little creeks to get water when needed. There were only 3 sites to camp at the base of the trail right at Warren Lake. We weren’t expecting to see so many groups and were lucky we could snatch one up. I would definitely do this one again!!

hiking
28 days ago

Beautiful views. It was the most difficult trail I Have ever tried to run. Not only were the hills steep, they were hard to get footing. Ended up walking up some of it. When you get close to the lake, there is a sign that points up and says "Warren lake 1+". Go right at that sign, It says straight, but go right. I followed it and it took me 1 mile to figure out I made a bar decision. I made 3 minute of the video on my youtube. It's a mix of some fresh drone footage and go pro shots. You can see it here. https://youtu.be/hKaAKOyUEv0. or check out the photos on instagram @chanjak. Enjoy.

hiking
1 month ago

Our group of 3 was looking for a "hard" and adventurous day hike, and we were more than pleased with what Warren Lake had to offer. From the I-80 rest stop to Warren Lake was just under 7 miles, making it an almost 14 mile hike. The last mile before coming down to the lake was pretty steep and by far the most challenging part of the hike because you knew you had to make that same trek back up out of the lake on the way back. It took us a total of 7 hours including a 45 minute stop at Lake Warren. If you're looking for an awesome and challenging day hike with some steep climbs, I highly recommend the Warren Lake trail. And if you haven't upgraded your AllTrails app to the "pro" version, I definitely suggest you do so. AllTrails is a lifesaver!

backpacking
1 month ago

Warren lake is beautiful. We camped there one night and had a great time. However, as another user previously mentioned, the “trail” between Warren lake and Paradise lake does not exist. It’s a steep, rocky area with lots of brush, very unsafe. The trail that comes down to Warren lake is really steep and difficult but doable. I’d leave the dogs at home though, my Golden’s paws got torn up really badly.

backpacking
1 month ago

This was not the initial trip we were going to take but I am stoked we did... It is gorgeous!!! Like amazingly beautiful - worth the agonizing trek we had. If you are one of the few trail runners we saw out here Kudos to you!! We thought it was crazy they were running out here and they thought we were crazy for packing in all our crap! Lol. We may have been a little pack heavy. The trail is a little non-apparent at times but the end is well worth it. There was more traffic than we anticipated. Our hike in took two days because the altitude, although not crazy, had some effects on the other person in our group of two. We camped a little bit after the first accent then woke up and finished up the trek to the lake. After camp was set up I headed to the lake which was pretty much ours and one other group of two. It was a great backpacking/camping trip (4days 3nights). We hiked in with 35+lbs, next time packing lighter - but there will be a next time!

backpacking
1 month ago

If you park at the castle peak trailhead you can do the full 17.2 mile loop from the Warren Lake trail to the PCT. This is a backpacking trip not a day hike. There's plenty of water right now but in a couple weeks a lot of the small creeks will dry up. Be sure to bring plenty of water and to fill up when you can cuz you will be sweating.
-John

backpacking
1 month ago

Warren Lake is a substantial hike, well worth the effort. The first few miles have a fair amount of foot traffic, even occasional bikes, up to the Frog Lake over look. Take a break and enjoy the view. After this, there is very little traffic all the way to Warren Lake. The final mile into Warren Lake is pretty steep and slow going. The lake itself is so isolated and so beautiful. We found a small sand beach on the north-north west side of the lake and went swimming a while. We had the lake to ourselves for a good 24 hours. On the way out, we met a couple who was coming in- they told me that they were planning to hike over the ridge on the west to Paradise Valley. It should be doable, but I don't believe there's an existing trail.

hiking
1 month ago

AllTrails directions take you to the rest stop on I-80 as the trailhead. It's signed as 4 hour parking only, it doesn't seem likely they keep close track of it but if that worries you the PCT trailhead is only about a mile away with an unlimited lot. From the rest area the trail starts to the right of the building.

In late July there are still wildflowers, and good water for almost the duration of the hike, which was needed as I went through ~6L on a hot day. The snowpack looked nearly gone, so not sure how long all those streams will keep running.

This is a tough hike for 1 day - I'm sure it can be done in 5.5 hours as someone commented below, but this is a hard trail to maintain 3mph on the whole way. The 4 climbs are pretty significant, and the downhill is loose in a lot of places.

2 months ago

WARNING: once you get past Warren Lake the trail is extremely overgrown and difficult to find. I was tracking with the AllTrails app the best I could but ended up in some dangerous situations making a few bad, and really unsafe, decisions. Not smart.

So if you do this hike- and I HIGHLY recommend that you do because it is freaking gorgeous- consider making it an In-and-out from Warren Lake.

backpacking
2 months ago

We did this hike in two days, Took us about 4 hours each day, so if your in good shape you might as well do it as a day hike. There was still a lot of snow (6/20/18), so maybe bring an extra pair of socks, in case your feet get wet. I also would recommend some sort of GPS since its easy to get off the trail with the snow coverage. But the main reason why I am writing this review: BE AWARE! Warren Lake is a breeding place for MOSQUITOS!! I only brought my "hippie oils" (as my husband would say), and they did not do anything to repel those f......lying creatures as soon as we were at the lake. Literally TONS of MOSQUITOS!! If I would do this trail again, I would actually camp a little bit uphill, where the concentration of the `squitos is way less. Besides that, the hike is beautiful!! Super adventurous and no one is out there! Great climbing spots and places to fish!!

backpacking
10 months ago

Attempt with 3 of the Dece Scouts. Amazing weather, beautiful hike, but more snow than expected. We would have probably made the lake if we had our snowshoes with us. Definitely want to come back and try it again.

backpacking
10 months ago

amazing view

hiking
Monday, September 04, 2017

It was gorgeous but one of the hardest hikes I've done. Especially the scramble down through rocks 1000 feet in one mile to get to the lake. The wildflowers are incredible though and the lake is beautiful!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

One of our favorite Tahoe area hikes! We did the out-and-back to Warren Lake and think it ended up being ~16 miles (would have been more like 17.5 if we did the loop). Really fun trail that was interesting the whole way- challenging uphills dispersed throughout and awesome change in scenery/flora over every ridge. Felt more like an exploratory adventure than your typical up-and-back/peak trail. We're in pretty darn good shape and was definitely a great workout for a day hike. Started at 9am and took about 5.5 hours. Loved it!

backpacking
Monday, August 21, 2017

Once you reached the first major elevation change there was some snow but nothing to worry about. However the run off from the snow made some of the trail hard to find. Some of the trail was literally a creek you had to walk thru. The views are beautiful. Tough hike for anybody. If you go all the way down to warren lake it's really rocky (loose) and steep and narrow in some parts. There are camping sights around the bottom. We were to tired to venture farther for a better campsite and it started to rain on us so we chose camp right where the trail let out. Bushes completely cover the view of the lake but there are paths you can walk on to get to the water. There are mosquitos but it wasn't horrible. We had insect repellant that comes in a yellow spray can that is specifically mosquitos and I didn't get bit at all. (They usually love me) We also took our 2 yellow labs and they did just fine.

hiking
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Incredible views! I only made it to Warren Lake before heading back. I'd highly recommend not to attempt to do this hike in one day because you will be absolutely exhausted. I'm pretty fit and I barely made it out. Took me 10 hours to get to the lake and back. The uphill and downhill parts make it extremely difficult. There was still a lot of snow as of 7.23.17. Makes it difficult to stay on Trail but doable if you can make your way around. Beware if you expect an easy one day hike. It will kick your ass. Also mosquitoes are annoying.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

This is a spectacular hike. Be aware that as of 7/8/17, beginning at the bowl below Castle Peak, the trail is almost entirely covered with snow. We went as far as below Basin Peak and thought it best not to venture all the way down to the lake in the snow.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The wildflower along PCT, Paradise and Warren Lakes are incredibly beautiful.

hiking
Thursday, September 01, 2016

Real nice day hike. Right at 17 miles from rest area to Lake shore and back.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cool

Monday, July 11, 2016

Great hike. Beautiful views. Watch out for the mosquitos!

hiking
Monday, July 04, 2016

Great! We started on the trail on the right side -I will get the exact name - lots of cool flowers and rocks. Little streams and shade until you hit the cut off to the right that over looks frog lake. That view was amazing. We tried to go to the left down to Warren Lake bit way to much snow to maneuver around and we didn't have the proper equipment to go that far or that Steve wants to know. So we're going to try again on overnight

hiking
Monday, May 30, 2016

A lot of snow. Good uphill first half. Great views at the top . Lake was frozen :)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Beautiful!

hiking
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Started at the PCT Trailhead just to the east of Boreal Mountain Ski Resort. Great moderate hike. We started a little later in the day than we wanted to but got back to my truck just before flashlights would be necessary to see our way. Make sure you are watching your map and posted signs. Lots of 3 and 4 way junctions of trails and you just need to watch yourself to make sure you stay on the Warren Lake Trail.

camping
Monday, June 15, 2015

We went June 13-14 and the trail is mostly clear of snow except in a few spots. There are some pretty muddy sections. Warren Lake was surprisingly warm to swim in, but the mosquitoes were fierce! The wildflowers are beautiful and diverse this time of year.
This would be a tough hike for one day and I recommend it as an overnight so you can relax by the lake and not have to climb the steep hill out.
Our distances were about 8 miles each way, according to my GPS.

camping
Sunday, June 07, 2015

Warren Lake, Paradise Lake and Devils Oven are among the best when it comes to high alpine lakes. My Dad, brothers and I have each been countless times, spending 2-5 nights each time. We fish, climb, slackline, swim and day hike to fill time on each journey. On the hike in there is a lot of loose rock leading up to castle peak but nothing too difficult. Crossing the ridge is simple and breathtaking, always terribly windy though. Finding where the trails drops off the ridge onto the backside can be a bit tricky, but if you stick to the far left you'll be fine. The weather can change up in a matter of minutes up on the ridge, from sunny and calm to 100pmh+ gusts and hail. Trust me- I have experienced this twice.

Over all a wonderful hike though, great campsites all around the lakes, rocks to jump off of, clear water, what more can you ask for?

camping
Saturday, June 06, 2015

I'd say this is definitely an overnight at least. We just did this in early June and despite the drought and 0%-of-normal snowpack the trail was still covered in a lot of snow, and would be hard to follow without a GPS. There is not a lot of level ground on this trail - lots of up and down which all tends to be steep, and lots of streams draining the snowpack off Castle and Basin peaks. Much of the trail turns into a stream and the few flat areas it crosses turn to mud. On the way back, once we knew the trail, I measured it as 6.4 miles and 2600 feet of ascent.
Definitely worth it though. The views from Frog Lake overlook are nice and Warren is ringed with high granite cliffs and complete with an island. There are many good campsites along the shore, I get the impression this place might be popular on summer weekends, but there were only a couple fishermen there this time.

hiking
Monday, August 11, 2014

Beautiful backpacking trail. We hiked in and stayed the night at Warren Lake as I could night imagine doing this in one day. The hike down to Warren Lake is pretty steep and has a lot of loose rocks and if you are looking for a trail that is flat, you will not find it here...you are either hiking up or hiking down. Having the entire lake to ourselves was definitely worth the blisters on my feet. We have a little dog and thankfully decided not to bring him, though a large dog would have no problems. Lots of stream crossing and plenty of places to filter water. Campsites are good once you find your way through the brush that surrounds the lake.

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