Wrights Lake to Grouse Lake

MODERATE 27 reviews
#15 of 72 trails in

Wrights Lake to Grouse Lake is a 3.9 mile out and back trail located near Kyburz, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

3.9 miles
1,190 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly





nature trips






wild flowers





Ample lakes and trails surrounding Wrights Lake make for nearly endless outdoor activities. Trail hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and star gazing are some of the most popular. A day hike can be coupled with kayaking and overnight wilderness camping. Twin Lakes is wide open and it's a perfect spot to watch meteor showers (e.g. the annual "perseids"). In the spring, roughly March through May, snow melts in the high country and creates majestic waterfalls throughout this region. There's even a few unmapped waterfalls in this particular area that you may be able to find if you ask around.

1 month ago

Absolutely gorgeous trail. Elected to take the more strenuous route to Grouse and Hemlock but didn't make it to Smith this time. The turn off 50 onto Wright's Lake Road leads you up this windy, narrow back road that looks recently paved. I made it back there fine in my small car but it might be challenging for RVs or campers (in fact road signs warn just that at the start). My GPS had me parking at Twin Lakes Trailhead, but there was a road closed sign by the Wright's Lake equestrian campground. It did say no public use of rec area and I'm not quite sure what that means so I parked in the small parking lot there and walked back in to the trailhead (an additional 1.5 miles, all flat). Wright's lake has some private cabins surrounding it so it's not as secluded but the views are beautiful. The hike out towards Desolation Wilderness goes through some wetlands and I was very grateful for the mosquito spray I brought along. At points throughout the hike I'd get off trail a little bit but eventually find my way back, there are some cairns and rocks that line the trail in some of the more confusing parts so I never felt like I was lost, just didn't want to disturb the untouched vegetation off the trail. Once you hit the Desolation Wilderness sign, keep following the trail to the left and in a few hundred yards you'll reach a sign for Grouse Lake. The hike wasn't strenuous but definitely got the heart rate up and had a few fun rock scramble parts. I did pass a ranger on the way up and he thanked me for filling out the wilderness permit, so please do that, it's for your own safety! Once I reached Grouse lake I was just in awe, a beautiful secluded alpine lake. I spent a good hour taking it all in and in that time I only encountered 10 people max. I can't even count on two hands the amount of trout I saw jump, next time I'll be sure to bring my fly rod. I then decided to head up a little further and check out Hemlock lake. I was able to follow the trail for a little ways but then got off it and ended up having to scramble my way up, which was a blast. I later learned that the trail leads up next to the waterfalls that feed into the lake so just listen for those and head in that direction, again the cairns guide your way up. Once I got up to Hemlock, I was in awe again, this time I had the lake all to myself. There was quite a bit of pollen on the surface on the south side so I walked around to the north side to get my feet wet. There was still some snow melt that was feeding into the lake, but surprisingly it wasn't that cold. As I was relaxing on a rock, a few fly fisherman threw some casts out and one immediately hooked a big trout, another indication that the fly rod is coming back up with me. I finally started the trek down which took me about 2 hours from Hemlock. As I get older and my knees are less springy, I find that trekking poles are nice to have on the descent. I didn't have them this time but will likely bring them next. Overall great experience and I've had many friends ask to come next time. If you're on the fence about the 'strenuous' nature of the hike, don't worry about it, there are plenty of spots to rest along the way and you get to cool off at the top!

9 months ago

We probably got the last backpack of the season continuing past Grouse Lake to Smith Lake for 1 night (very cold and windy night), as we were hiking over snow from 8000' onwards and it began to get thick past Grouse Lake. Still great for hiking though and is well tread so the trail is easy to follow. All uphill so it's good work getting there, but lovely views and the lakes make it well worth it.

10 months ago

Time is running out if you haven't made this hike; as winter approaches trail will most likely close!

11 months ago

Nice little short hike.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

This was a TOUGH rewarding hike. It is simply up up up. The granite steps and boulders were brutal on your feet. It just keeps going up and up. But, when you scramble the last set of boulders and get to the lake shore, it is just breathtaking! Well worth it!

Friday, August 04, 2017

A great vertical hike! views are amazing and well laid out trail. Not for those with any back issues.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Did a quick over night trip to Grouse Lake. It is a short trail but it does have a quick elevation gain. A few snow patches at the lake but nothing covering the trail. I would recommend bringing a lot of mosquito repellent.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

7/22/17 Hike
☆☆☆☆☆ Views
☆☆☆☆ Difficulty
☆☆☆ Popularity
☆☆☆ Trail
▪Amazing views at destination
▪You'd spend too much time looking down due to gravelly, fist size rocks that can roll your ankles and roots on trails, will be climbing over huge rocks as well
▪Ran into a few folks on the trails
▪Water was cold but tolerable once youre in so jump right in!!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Great trail. Short and a good incline. Camped at Grouse. Runoff from the melted snow was amazing and the sunset even more amazing! Trail is pretty easy to follow. Trail gets a little lost after the creek crossing at top, but just keep going up. No problem with snow, most is melted away on trail. Heard there was more on route to Smith lake still.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Beautiful hike not too difficult and great views with a well maintained trail. Not covered in water anymore like previously mentioned. Only thing is that we couldn't finish the last half mile or so and get to the other lake (July 17') due to snow covering the trail. Probably just due to record snowpack from this previous winter.

Friday, July 07, 2017

The trail to Grouse lake is still inaccessible due to water. You can find the trailhead but only get about 3/4- 1 mile before being thwarted by water, unless you don't mind getting really wet. Oh well. We went around Wright Lake after attempting three other trails. All three trails were inaccessible due to high water. I suggest waiting at least another month to allow the runoff to dissipate.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Wright's lake area is still closed as of late June. We went on the trail anyway. Expect some snow and very few wildflowers right now. Still pretty but not as amazing as it can be.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

It's totally worth it !

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's a bit of a hike up, but an easy one back down.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

hike up to Grouse to see beautiful Brook trout in a small high sierra lake. Gorgeous! vista's are stunning.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wonderful Hike! Some spots over granite maybe difficult to follow.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

Thursday, August 11, 2016