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

backpacking
12 days ago

Just finished this hike over Labor Day. Started at the Carr Lake TH. The road really wasn't that bad up to the TH. Just take it slow and go around the big rocks. Not much parking up there at the TH. Creative parking for sure. The trail starts on a dirt road, travels past Carr Lake and Freely Lake. Lots of families and kids swimming here. For the most part this 6 mile hike to Glacier Lake is pretty easy if you're in good shape. Last two miles is uphill, but really not bad. I did it in less than 3 hours with a full pack and several stops. Lots of campsites at Glacier, but this busy weekend made it pretty crowded with some loud campers late at night and early am. Hiked the Sandy Ridge trail back west the next day. The ridge affords some fabulous views, but the 1000 foot drop is on a rocky, steep trail, typical of older trails without switchbacks. We took the north trail up towards Sawmill Lake finally camping at Rock Lake almost 8 miles later. You pass Shotgun lake on the way to Sawmill. No camping there. This section of trail is through forest and really no place to camp. The climb to Rock Lake was long. Rock lake is nothing spectacular but had a few nice sites. Day 3 we hike from Rock Lake south past Penner Lake and back to Carr Lake. This section is really beautiful with lakes that have some private sites near rocky cliffs. Much prettier than Rock or the Shotgun lake side of this loop. Lots of people out here on day hikes which is what I expected for Labor Day. I would do this hike early season when there might be more water and when there's snow in the higher country. I gave this 4 stars only because there were so many people out there!

Accessing the trailhead was fairly easy. the last 2.5 miles or so is dirt road, but the majority of this road is well maintained. It was really only the last quarter mile that was really bad. My Ford Fusion definitely dragged bottom a bit, so for power profile cars I would recommend stopping short and parking a little ways back from the main trailhead parking area

The trail itself was beautiful with many amazing views. The last part of the trail, maybe 1/2 a mile from Lake Penner is the steepest portion and gets a little rugged; but is likely manageable for kids 4+

Other reviewers have mentioned an accumulation of human waste and toilet paper around Lake Penner. I did not encounter too many campers around Lake Penner (there were far more campers around some of the other lower elevation lakes along the trail) and did not see the same accumulation of waste mentioned in other reviews. That being said, I did not traverse around the entirety of the lake, so cannot tell you what it is like around the entirety of the lake. However, I did not come across a single piece of trash on my way in or out and actually thought the trail was well kept given the number of people I encountered.

Unfortunately, Patrick’s review is right, this area is just too impacted. There is a fair amount of toilet paper scattered about the area, as well as other trash. It’s too bad, because it was a great hike and the views are amazing.

This is my second time hiking this trail. This place is quickly becoming overcrowded and abused. Lots of toilet paper and human waste at Penner lake. Disappointing to see so many careless hikers and campers there.

I will not be coming back here. Trash, left over garbage in the shore of the lake, it’s sad.

The ascent up Sand Ridge Trail can be difficult, but beautiful views from the top. Beautiful and not heavily trafficked.

Easy and gorgeous trail

Great 4 day hike. Late start camp at Island Lake, 5 Lakes via Sand Ridge, Glacier Lake, Round Lake, out. 5 adults, 2 kids. Meteors.

Great trail! Smokey from the fires but still pretty! We will be back to backpack in and stay a night. Easy trail too!

Echoing other reviews, the road in is a bit rough but the trail is great and moderately challenging in difficulty. We had great views that were hindered by the smoke from all the fires. I definitely concur with the earlier reviewer’s recommendation to return via the windswept Sand Ridge trail. It gives you great views all around.

backpacking
1 month ago

great spot. great lakes. great swim. great hike. great view. cows.

2 months ago

I don’t see how you can do better than this hike. You have multiple lakes, forests, stunning views, rocks of different colors and types, flowers, butterflies. And all in six miles with only moderate climbing. Highly recommended. The road to Carr Lake is challenging but our Ford Cmax made it - we just stopped a few hundred feet before the parking lot when the bumps got a bit more than we could handle.

Our second trip to Penner lake. The road is still pretty rough getting to the trail head but it's worth it! We had a great trip, although it seems like it's becoming more and more of a party spot. 1998's Eve 6 blasting through a stereo at 1AM seems to be kind of missing the point of the place.

July 29th, 2018 - Arrived early-afternoon and originally planned on aclimating a bit before heading out, but we were too excited so after taking the last parking spot at the trailhead we started out.

This was a gorgeous, well identified trail. The weather was perfect the wind was just strong enough to keep the mosquitoes at bay. That final climb into Penner lake as the sun was setting was TOUGH but not crazy. The trail had been deserted but the lake was almost full of campers. We had to camp set back a bit but it was perfect. It was very windy all night but not too cold.

We actually continued to the Lindsey Lake Trail the next day, I will post that review on that post but caution you that if you have to hike from Lindsey Lakes to the Carr/Feely trailhead - don't! It is 3+ miles uphill on seemingly abandoned forest service roads. It was AWFUL, although, I'd totally do again because the rest of the loop was lovely!

Hiked this trail on July 6, 2018. Stunning wildflowers, well maintained trail, and gorgeous views. Uphill for about 1/2 a mile just before Glacier Lake it gets rocky and a little bit technical, exposed and windy. Middle section is mostly level, soft pine needles and partial shade. Last bit of uphill is not hard, just tiring. Another hiker told us she likes to return in a loop via Sand Ridge but said the descent is steep and challenging and she wouldn’t want to take it the other direction.

Awesome trip and the views are great.

backpacking
2 months ago

The road in to the trailhead is rough,rocky & long. The trail is just over 3 miles one way to Glacier Lake and well marked. It’s quite diverse and beautiful. Went with my children and they did great.

Couldn’t find the site. Directions took us to a dead end on an isolated road.

Beautiful hike and so many lakes! I would say this is a moderate hike and the trail is dog friendly, which is a plus. We did have some snow on the ground but not enough you needed snow shoes.

hiking
3 months ago

The road up there was rocky but I made it in a Corolla. I didn’t follow my gps (watch your gps because trails are not too easy to see) very well and ended up visiting Round Lake and Island Lake. Beautiful views and cool places to camp out. We did about 4 miles. I will have to go back and find Glacier Lake.

The snow was patchy and is almost gone.

camping
3 months ago

The hike was absolutely beautiful! My group and I hammock camped near the river and had a fantastic time! Be wary of the poison oak, which is bountiful.

hiking
4 months ago

So...another person wrote about the trail not marked so well. So true...I felt Times we were always looking for the trail...but I think it’s because of the amount of snow still on trail. Plus my phone died and I forgot to track the whole trail. We marked it at 10 miles. My friend tracked it on her phone. All in all...beautiful trail with amazing views. Plus once we made it to Glacier Lake....Awwww just amazing! Will do this one again!

My favorite place!

hiking
5 months ago

Be sure to check yourself and pets, lots of ticks.

backpacking
6 months ago

I would like to backpack this trail. I am looking for some pointers as far as where the trailhead is for this 20 mile trail and where we would be allowed to camp? Can anyone help me out?

backpacking
6 months ago

Went 12miles of the trail and saw 3 people. Great hike, well maintained and found a good camping spot. Parked in the BLM South Yuba Trail Parking lot for easy access. Camped near the humbug trail intersection. A bit cold in February for sleeping but great hike and easy access to river in a few places.

Great hike! This area is beautiful

hiking
8 months ago

Nice hike. Some of the trail could be marked a little clearer. This one had enjoyable views and the dog enjoyed the water. The drive up to the trailhead is steep so drive slow!

It was sickkkkkkkk bring a rain jacket though if done in winter

A good amount of snow today, but snowshoes weren’t needed. This would be a great summer time trail.

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