Explore the most popular forest 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.

I’ve never packed in from Grouse Ridge but I know the road to Grouse Ridge is much nicer than the road to Carr Lake where I normally start. The only downside to starting at Grouse Ridge is you end with a climb. Beyond where to start this area is amazing. You do have a lot of people at all the lake so if solitude is what you’re looking for I would go somewhere else.

If you don’t mind a lot of people at the Lake. Than this is a great place to camp. The switchbacks right before Penner Lake are rocky but I’ve seen some pretty young children at Penner and I’ve take my boys here as early as 7 years old. The water is clear and when you add that with the trees and rock you will keep wanting to come back.

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.

walking
5 days ago

Beautiful! We went at 11am on a Wednesday and had no issues with parking or crowds. We hiked (kids & adults) about a mile down the trail until cutting over to the river for a swim. We were completely left alone and found the water, trails, climb to be quite manageable for the able body person. There were more people on the trail as we headed back, but nothing to complain about. The trail itself I would rate as easy, the scaling of rocks to get down to the water I would rate as moderate, but that all depends on where you choose to stop.

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

hiking
10 days ago

Got an early start - 8:30 AM - wave of visitors began around 10:30 AM. After that, far too many people on the trail and in the rapids. Swam in the river afterward, for 2 hours, downstream near the bridge. Many male exhibitionists upstream at Hoyt. Not sure what compels people to do that; wasn't the nature experience I was looking for. Still amazed at individuals who show up on these trails wearing footwear inadequate for the terrain. Darwin comes to mind.

The scenery on this trail is ever changing! Which made it interesting and fun:) It wasn't challenging in any way, very chill. Adorable, really. Good for everyone! Adults and kids. Wheelchairs not so much).

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
22 days ago

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

hiking
23 days ago

Great trail- fantastic views almost all through. It’s also brilliant in the number of lakes you see along the way. Try the smaller lakes if you want some solitude. Ah also, for the trailhead mentioned here your car needs some amount of clearance- it’s 5 miles of brutal stones for a regular car/tires. Maybe the Bowman trailhead someone else mentioned in the comments works better?

27 days 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.

Was a great little trail. We had it all to ourselves.
This would be a great walk for young children as well.
We had an illusion that we were walking slightly down hill both ways

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.

mountain biking
1 month ago

such a fun ride.. mostly shade and cool while everywhere else is 90°

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!

Like others have said, the waterfall was beautiful (seemed to be a water release by PG&E). Nice energetic hike to beautiful spot by Lake Spaulding and i would definitely bring my swimsuit next time. Can't wait to go back. Oh, definitely follow the map as well. A little overgrown near the end and the map is definitely needed.

This trail actually goes much further than the All Trails map indicates. It crosses the road and meets up with a B.O.N.C. trail that goes along the South edge of the lake. We went only as far as the lake edge and turned back. 9.2 miles. while a trail best suited for bike, a nice walk. saw a total of 4 bikers and no hikers. Quiet for a beautiful Saturday.

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.

1 month ago

Loved that you can hear (and mostly see) the rushing water all along this trail! Definitely gets every muscle working. Lots of stairs, flora, and a couple of streams. Didn't realize the end beach was a nudists beach until I read the reviews (after the fact). There were some swimmers there, but didn't notice if they were in their birthday suits. Some families with kids were hiking this trail, so hopefully they didn't encounter any nudists. Will definitely do this hike again. Praise the Lord for such beautiful creation!

Beautiful trail and pretty easy to follow. The trail leading down to the lake is a bit overgrown, so follow the map! It had a few good climbs to make you feel like you were getting some exercise in, but nothing too crazy.

Great hike! The waterfall was beautiful. If you go past first pg&e road block it takes you to the falls. Beautiful views and a great work out.

Awesome trail! It was super pretty and shaded most of the way. The trail was pretty easy to follow, but there were some points where I had to look at the map. Overall a great hike and highly recommend!

Awesome trip and the views are great.

This trail is not anywhere close to Nevada City. It is in Yuba Gap off of Hwy 20 and Bowman Lake Rd just off of I80. I just hiked this a few weeks ago. Beautiful place and lots of small lakes. Park at the Lindsey Lake Campground and hike back by following the gravel road past the steal guard gate. Lots of branched off trails from there and great scenery. Im up there every chance I get. Carr Lake and Feeley Lake are just a mile away plus Grouse Ridge and the old rangers lookout and campground there too. Tons of hiking in the local area. Lots of adventure along with a local waterfall that is 500ft or so high next to Fuller Lake which you drive by on the way there which is also part of the Spaulding Lake Trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

Used this as the first and last leg of a loop down to Penner and Island lakes, up through the Grouse Ridge Trail. This trail has very doable ups and downs, lovely lake views, and beautiful wildflower meadows. Bring plenty of bug spray if you stay at Lower Rock Lake—buzz buzz.

backpacking
1 month 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.

the west trail is actually a loop of you take Jones bar and hike on the service road for a bit. you will see where the west trail meets the road. Take that back to the trail head. Very nice and shady. The most difficult part was the incline on the service road. we then went to to the east trail. This is an in and out trail. Easy and flat.

hiking
1 month ago

We weren’t impressed. This is an in and out hike, which we knew to begin with. The hike halfway in was nice and very easy. It was also wide enough and very level for wheel chair accessibility. The wooden switchback was blocked off and deemed unsafe. We were able to navigate our way down but definitely not accessible in a wheelchair. It was the only point on the hike that any water was visible. The second half of the way in was level and very easy for an able person. The trail narrowed to the point that a wheel chair would not fit and tons of poison oak encroached the path. There was also two fallen trees blocking the path. The trail led to an end of trail marker...a huge disappointment for myself and my two teen boys. Apparently, in other reviews, we could have crossed what appeared to be a county maintained gravel road and scaled down some boulders to a swim pond. Didn’t realize that until later. We headed back and then drove down the hill to the bridge where we joined several others at the swimming hole. Lots of fun there. Next time, that’s where we will spend our time.

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