Explore the most popular trails near Alpine Medows with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Alpine Medows, California Map
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hiking
1 day ago

very nice. Because of the snow we couldn't see much beyond the first lake.
would love to go there when it's warm.

on Five Lakes Trail

4 days ago

My wife said it reminded her of hiking in the Swiss Alps! Trails have pretty good footing (no rock scrambling or too much scree). Beautiful alpine views on the way up, not overly steep ( and most of the incline is near the beginning), and the small alpine lakes are in a small forest grove with more peaks overlooking them. We enjoyed a dip in the larger lake, and it was a fast easy hike down.

hiking
6 days ago

Popular trail with lots of hikers on the weekend. Beautiful views and pristine lakes that are well worth the climb.

trail running
14 days ago

It's nice out there the scenery and everything, I was able find two of the lakes. Had to use my phone to find the others since you can see it on the map. I didn't bother at first and I got side tracked which let me down the trail to PCT. It's another nice trail but had to back tracked since I wanted to view all the lakes.

hiking
14 days ago

Very doable and fun for all ages! I recommend going onto the mountain top off to the side of the back lake, gives for a great view of Alpine Meadows on a clear day!

Awesome hike. Moderate (most elevation climb is in first half) and once you get to the lakes, so many options to explore other trails (PCT). We went at 7am on a Sunday morning and didn’t see a soul till we hit the lakes, where we saw 2 tents and a hammock camper. No mosquitos at all and we sat in the water for a good 30 minutes. Biggest lake is definitely the only one you could feasibly swim in - the others are very stagnant, shallow and murky. We continued on to join up with the PCT for a bit and then came back to get more mileage in. On the way back down, it was about 11am when we started the descent, the trail was PACKED with people coming up. Definitely don’t plan to start this hike after 9am I would say if you enjoy your space and solitude. Most of the people coming up were city slickers/tourists.

hiking
21 days ago

Nice out and back with beautiful scenery along the way. The majority of the trail is exposed so bring a hat, wear your sunblock and be mindful of the sun/heat during summer. The large lake is a great place to find shade, enjoy a lunch, and go for a swim. Heavily trafficked and well marked trail.

backpacking
21 days ago

Great hike for new backpackers. It was my 10yr old daughters 1st backpacking trip. Two other dads and their 11 & 9yr old sons with us. We stayed two nights at Five lakes. Great hike to get exposure to climbing with a pack, but not a long hike in. Camping sites are a bit hard to find with the 600ft limitation from the lake, but we found a great little spot. There aren't any fish in the lake, but kids had a great time casting, swimming, and jumping off rocks. We did a great out and back day hike up to the top of ridge overlooking Alpine Meadows, and Five Lakes (using the PCT trail heading south). Easy hike for the kids, gradual climb but nothing too steep. Great view, and good conversations with some PCT hikers. The lakes are busy during the day, but super quiet at night.

22 days ago

Great trail! Steep rocky climb to top but worth it for the beautiful lake (the big one). Lots of open trail with sun exposure so bring sunscreen and a hat. We ate lunch and then swam before hiking back down. It was a Sunday so quite crowded but not bothersome since everyone is so friendly. We had an easy time parking despite lots of cars already there.

hiking
23 days ago

What a great hike we had. the first two miles are basically uphill and get your elevation gain out of the way right off the bat. I only logged a 1100 ft change on two different programs so not sure about that 1500 ft. so anyway the top of the trail is nice and flat and comes out at the lakes. We looped around all the lakes which made it a nice 5 mile round trip. Trail was pretty busy. I would do this again. Beautiful lakes that you could actually swim in. Saw a lot of dogs on the trail.

Awesome hike. Saw helicopter dropping water on nearby fire

Great hike! Beautiful scenery. The climb is strenuous but not hard. Our older Golden Retriever would not have been able to handle this hike. We didn’t see any dogs and we saw only a few kids on the trail. Bring a towel and maybe swimming gear - the lake at the end of the trail was gorgeous and looked really inviting.

hiking
27 days ago

That first .5 miles is a B*+%# to get up, but it’s not too terrible after that. Still a steep hike. A good portion is without shade so come with sunscreen, plenty of water, and maybe something with electrolytes. It’s mildly difficult, but totally worth the climb. The lakes are a nice temperature and so pretty!

I hike with my border collie and he was out like a light afterwards! And we only reached the first lake before we had to turn around and hike back. I highly recommend this hike for people looking for a challenge with an amazing reward at the top.

I probably should have said this first, but there are no bathrooms at the start of the trail. Use the gas station off the main road before the hike to be sure you won’t have an emergency midway through.

hiking
1 month ago

A very beautiful hike with stunning views

hiking
1 month ago

Arrived at the trail head at 9:30 AM. There was plenty of parallel parking near the trail head. There are no restrooms at the trail head, so it was good thing we stopped at the rest area on Donner Summit. Nor is there water.

From the start it was steeper than expected. It was also warm for July morning. For an alpine trail there isn't much shade. As others have said, the first .5 mile is the steepest then it lessens. The total climb is about 2 miles. We saw lots of dogs on the trail.

If I did this hike again, I would do it when it was cooler - maybe start earlier or go earlier/later in the season. And bring sun gear (wide brim hats, SPF clothing) and drinks with electrolytes.

This trail was suggested to us by a resident living in N. Tahoe. We were looking for a fairly short hike to get us onto the PCT to day hike, and man I'm so glad we took her suggestion! We got there fairy early, around 8am I guess, there was plenty of parking near the trail head but by the time we were coming off 6.5hrs later it was packed. Lots of people is groups so I'd suggest coming early. There is some exposure after the switchbacks at the start of the trail so I'd suggest a hat and definitely sun block. Once you get up into the forest where the lakes are you'll also want to have bug spray. The views were gorgeous and we only had a little trouble navigating our way to the PCT. We downloaded our map to my phone and it worked perfectly in helping us navigate our way as just beyond the lakes the trails split off a bunch and there aren't really any signs. Great place to explore and hang for a while!

hiking
1 month ago

Really fun, moderate trail. We hiked up at 2pm in July so it was hot and mostly sunny with a few shade spots. We hiked down at 4:30pm and the trail was mainly shaded by that time in the afternoon. The incline alternated between somewhat steep to flat.

It’s easy to find the first lake (flat, muddy, and grassy) but keep going on the trail (you’ll pass a wooden sign) where you can turn off and find the big, clear, deeper lake.

The views of the granite cliffs are beautiful, the vegetation diverse as we ascended, and the birds active.

hiking
1 month ago

We took some pre-teens up this trail, while carrying backpacks for an overnight trip. Going up was challenging as it was a hot day and not much shade. Once we got up to the first lake, we couldn't find the other lakes until we asked the other hikers. Path to the other lakes aren't visible, but we found them anyway by walking around. Overnight stay was great and there were a lot of wild flowers which was beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail, uphill and unshaded until the lakes so beware of that. Lakes are very pretty, though you have to get through some brush to get to more than the first one. Trails around the lakes were often wiped out by the winter weather or fallen trees, and you couldn’t see or find these trails easily. Big snow patches were still on the ground in early June when I did that trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike! Pretty steep going up to the lakes, but a great workout. The lakes are beautiful! There were helicopters flying over head every few minutes too!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, lots of sun and up hill most of the first bit.

hiking
2 months ago

New to the area but this is one amazing hike! Only made it to the first lake because we started around 4:15pm and didn't know how long it would be until we lose sunlight. Made it back to the car around 6:45pm. Snow at the 1st lake but wow what awesome views. I can't say enough great things about this awesome hike. Jealous of the people that live close by! Bring Jackets, waterproof boots and lots of water!

3 months ago

Great to take your dog here. Great hike and easy for kids.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice walk up to the first snowfields, but had trouble finding the trail. Trust the footprints in the snow to keep you on track. Got as far as the first lake, but the snow started to get rotten and we turned back to avoid post holing. Only saw a couple other hikers.

hiking
6 months ago

Amazing Trail here one of my favorites so far!!

snowshoeing
6 months ago

I chose this trail and location for my first foray into snowshoe backpack winter camping.
Before I describe the trip and trail I will leave a word of caution: don’t park at the trailhead anywhere during the winter months. You will get “snow towed.“ I did!
Despite that headache, I had an awesome time blazing Pristine trails through 8 inches of fresh powder, which had just dropped the preceding week prior to my Saturday morning trip.
Despite being obscured by the snow, the trail was easy to follow and AllTrails map is spot on.
Gorgeous winter-scape and views. See pics.

Beautiful hike not to bad of an elevation gain

on Five Lakes Trail

hiking
7 months ago

Although there were a few spots I wished I had yakttax on, this was a wonderful hike. I was amazed by the frozen lake with a snowman built on it. The views are spectacular.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful mountainous hike.

Great hike. The first 100 yards were a bit icy given the time of year but after that the trail was clear to the top.

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