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

You cannot do this trail in a stock jeep without lots of careful wheel placement, lockers, rock stacking and even then there are large portions of the trail that a stock JK or JL couldn’t do with out body damage or mechanical damage. It’s a super cool trail with lots of traffic during events. With heavy traffic it can easily take you 8hrs to drive from loon lake to rubicon springs and back.

This is a Desolation Wilderness classic. Reaching Pyramid Peak via Lyons Creek Trail is a route that is mostly gentle, if we go off overall mileage, but with a nasty one mile finale. Beginners who wish to rest can hang out at beautiful Sylvia Lake where the more experienced in the party can continue to the dramatic end.

I would divide this trail into three phases: 1) first two miles which are relatively flat and SUPER easy, 2) next few miles to Sylvia Lake which have gradual elevation gain and are also quite easy, 3) the last phase is where the mountaineering begins, involving some scrambling across boulders and vicious elevation gain. Well, "vicious" if you are new. There was once a time when I did not desire finishing off the last feet of gain - close but no cigar. These days I can hit the summit in about 3 hours.

At the summit you will be greeted by circular walls of wind-blocking rocks to relax in, either built by the forestry service or by considerate hikers. Yes, it is windy as hell - you are on top of one of the highest peaks in the area!

Had a great time camping lake side for two days. the second day did the hike to the waterfall and it was not running. kind of a disappointment. but beautiful park and camp grounds!!!!!! the only other thing was all the hornets. made cooking breakfast a bit challenging, but they where all gone by dusk. Would go back for sure.

We did a two night trip here. We hiked to Grouse lake, which according our gps is 4.1 miles. It is a climb but all and all not to bad. We made our camp here. Gorgeous lake with brook trout jumping. The next morning we hiked up to Hemlock and Smith. My gps said 1.3 miles from grouse, Total elevation gain from Wright’s lake was 1704. Both were full of trout. All these lakes are worth the effort. The last section to smith is very steep, hard to find and follow the trail and has loose rock. The view to the west is amazing! I would consider the trail a mod/hard depending on your fitness. I’m 52 in ok shape and carried a 28 lb pack. It took me 2.5 to Grouse. From grouse to smith took about 45 minutes but some of that was looking for the trail at smith. One way the hike is approx 5.4 so total 10.8. Hard on the knees going down. Hiking poles are your best friend here

long, but beautiful.

Visited Bassi today. Beautiful as always. Not much water but what there was was clear and crisp.

backpacking
16 days ago

This is an awesome hike. Pretty easy to moderate up to Silvia Lake, slightly harder to get up to Lyons Lake. I took the extra trip to the top of Pyramid peak and will remember that view for the rest of my life.

I'm 310 lbs and made it around the lake it not easy

From Smith Lake, we continued upward and climbed Crystal Range summits Agassiz Peak and Mt Price. My track is not the easiest way to do this, but it got the job done in a very eventful 10 hour hike. Our boulder hopping route to the notch on the ridge above Smith Lake was OK, but we would have been better served by then dropping down some into the Lyon’s Lake drainage instead of trying to traverse around the head of the canyon higher up. The large boulders up there made the walk extremely difficult, so we ended up dropping down anyway, but still not far enough to make for an easy passage through the head of the drainage. Climbing up the east side we did OK by staying low in grassy chutes and quickly made the ridge with a clear view and path to Agassiz and Price. We headed over the meadow to the low point on the ridge between the peaks, and once there decided to first bag Agassiz to the south. This was another mistake as the boulders high on the ridge were massive and the going up there very slow. A better approach would be to stay low on easier terrain until directly below, or maybe even a bit beyond, the peak then go straight up to it. We did make it our way, though, or at least to a few feet below the high point where we took a pass on the class 3 summit block. From there we dropped off Agassiz the way we should have come up, then by comparison, the half mile north to Mt Price was an easy class 2 walk in the park. From the summit of Price the views of Lake Aloha and so many other Desolation Wilderness lakes and peaks were spectacular and the sky was as smoke free as it had been in weeks. Our route for the return trip was OK though we initially aimed a little too high for the notch above Smith Lake when we might have done better staying lower on the Lyon drainage longer where the walking was easier. Another way to reach these peaks is to simply hike the drainage north from Lyon’s Lake then climb up the east side, as we did, to the large meadow west of the Price-Agassiz ridge. This hike would start at the Lyon’s Lake trailhead on Wright’s Lake Road and would be a few miles longer, but likely an easier hike. As it was, our route was 11.5 miles and 3638’ of gain. There’s no easy way to reach these peaks, but as the spectacular backbone of Desolation Wilderness, they are well worth the effort.

backpacking
21 days ago

Moderate overall but it’s hard to judge when you go backpacking for the first time. Wonderful trail. Plenty of kids are able to do it with their families.

24 days ago

Difficult and demanding trail.

off road driving
27 days ago

This was a bucket list trail for me. I went with Modern Jeeper Adventures (Metalcloak) and Jeepers Jamboree. It was an amazing experience. Rock rails and skid plates are a must. THey will be used.

Great hiking trail!

backpacking
28 days ago

Beautiful shoreline and extremely well-maintained trail. Even ran into a CCC crew working the trail and thanked them for their service. We ended up diverging down to the Pleasant Boat-in Campground and spent the night there. We fished the shoreline around the campground and managed to catch a few small rainbow trout.

hiking
28 days ago

This was a perfect hike. It wasn't a ton of elevation climb, the temperature was warm but not too hot. We stopped about 3/4 of the way and ate lunch overlooking the lake and nearby mountains.

The only thing that was confusing was getting there. Google maps was inaccurate about the trailhead based off the coordinates of Alltrails. You have to actually go INSIDE Loon lake campground, pay the $8 for a day pass then follow signs for "Wilderness parking".

Great hike. My 5 yr old was able to do it all by himself no problem.

Great little walk.

over the years it's got a little easier, there's still points that are challenging even with more advance drivers and built rigs. 33" tires can do the trail with a good spotter 35" tires and a locker would be advisable. great trail AMAZING views.

Easy enough for the kids! Great hike and such a beautiful spot!

on Bassi Falls

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked the trail on 8/10/18. I enjoy destination hikes, especially waterfall hikes. I had no idea what to expect at the end of the trail. I was mildly disappointed that Bassi Falls was just a trickle this time of the year. The trail on AllTrails was very different from the route that I took. The trail is in the process of restoration and if it weren’t for trail markings I probably would have been lost. I had trouble finding the trail back to the trailhead. I had to rely on shoe prints and paths that looked to have had heavy foot traffic. Hopefully they make better trail markings for the rerouted path. However, I will definitely come back to see Bassi Falls in all its glorious flow, perhaps in the Spring time.

hiking
1 month ago

The first 4.5 mile was between easy and normal. However, the last 0.5 mile was hard. It took us 30-45 min to compete last 0.5 mile. The Lions Lakes is a reward ! we swam and took a nap before return. 6 hour to compete + 1.5 for photo, swimming and napping.

1 month ago

Can be moderate for some due to altitude and heat, but so so so worth it. Amazing woodsy beginning and then a drop down to beautiful pools and falls.

loved this hike with my family. my 7 year old daughter complained a lot until she saw the water fall and got to swim. she also swam in the lake and that made up for her complaining. it was fun for the family! you can picnic in the lagoons, lots of boaters came in and picnicked on the shore. the water is beautiful and turquoise for a lake. just loved it!

off road driving
1 month ago

Awesome

hiking
1 month ago

The hike is mis-rated as "hard". It's an easy hike for experienced hikers/backpackers. For the less experienced day hike crowd it's a moderate hike. I absolutely loved the scenery. The show stopper though is when you reach the top of the trail there's a sharp turn that unveils the lake. Simply breathtaking. Stopped me in my tracks.

With that said, if you're not partial to rocky trails and lots of loose rock and gravel, this is not the trail for you.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice mix of terrain but not much shade and can get hot, lakes and creek are nice place to cool off. On my trip to Island Lake we didn't see a lot of places to easily relax by the lake but we didn't explore all around the lake either. As others have stated, picking up the trail on the granite sections may be more difficult for newer hikers.

Fantastic hike. I recommend for experienced hikers only.

hiking
1 month ago

Walked this trail on 7/22. Pros: probably great for kids, easily accessible from where we stayed, and had some small pools of water to put our feet in towards the end. Cons: very little to see along the way, broken glass along the path, and the waterfall was just barely flowing.

great run this morning along the lake with easy elevation gain. Didnt see anybody else on the trail so had this granite lake heaven trail all to myself.

This trail has become one of our favorite trails in the El Dorado/ Tahoe area. The views from the Hemlock and Smith Lake are amazing (there was even some snow on the northeast side of the lake, where the granite wall prevents the sun from reaching).
The full trail (back and forth) is 9.8 miles instead of 5.5 miles as originally reported (we had a tracking device that recorded the distance and altitude gain; and if you check the full map here and add the distances, you'll see that it's close to 5 miles one-way).
As mentioned before, the trail is well-visible until a certain point (up to where it splits with the Twin Lakes 16E12); from that point on, it's essential to have some guidance (the AllTrails map works great), keep an eyes on the stacked rocks too.
On our way back, we saw some commotion due to someone getting lost (there are too many splits) and the Rangers and El Dorado Police had to be called (when we got back to the parking lot, we heard that they had found the guy).

If you are going on a weekend, chances are that the parking lot by the trailhead will be full. Don't park by the cabins or by the road or you will get a ticket. Park at one of the two Wrights Lake parking lots.

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