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.

backpacking
2 days ago

Conditions as of 5/23/2018: super duper soupy. And are established trails always this poorly marked around here? Or maybe their just more obvious when they’re not flooded. No worries; hard to get truly lost in that area anyhow.

I got good and wet on my way to Sylvia, spent a day drying out and soaking in the beautiful landscape, then decided to summit Pyramid from the West, starting just north of (not next to) Sylvia. That was fun. But FYI the slop starts very early into Lyons from parking. If you’re thinking “maybe it’s just this area; it’ll get better” then you’re very sadly mistaken. The Lyons trail is essentially a babbling brook all the way through. Even the trails side-stepping the regular “trail” were much soggier today than they were on my way in 2 days ago. I was wearing old beat-up Saucony Peregrine trail shoes with microspikes for the summit. My feet were totally soaked and freezing from start to finish every day. lol - somehow, having that whole beautiful place to myself made up for it.

Summary: look elsewhere until things dry out a bit, or just come prepared for ankle-shin deep slogs all the way to the remaining snow pack.

Went a week ago and reached Island Lake wearing hiking boots. Snow coverage made navigation difficult especially as it became darker, so bring a GPS to re-trace your steps. I recommend wearing microspikes and gaiters as the trail was covered with compacted snow in many areas. Use the natural landscape such as creeks, melting snow and treeline for navigation. Dirt road to Twin Lakes had a couple hills with deep snow patches so bring chains just in case. The view of the mountains from Island Lake was incredible!

One of my all time favorite locations for all types of outdoor recreational activities. This place is loved and very well maintained. I’ve Kayaked, hiked nine miles of trails around the lake, biked, watched Eagles, geese and camped. From the well maintained trails, to restrooms and staff, I’ve always enjoyed this location.

Trail conditions: 5/13/18

Trail is wet and sloppy from melt off with patches of snow below 7,700 ft (full coverage above). There are also a few downed trees blocking the trail.

0-3 miles: Wet and sloppy, with some small patches of snow.
3-4 miles: Larger patches of snow. Easy to lose trail if not paying attention.
4.5 miles: Trail completely covered by snow.

Overall the trail to Sylvia is doable, but the last 2 miles are slow going. Also, make sure to wear waterproof boots!

We camped here last weekend and decided after setting up cap to hike around the lake- FYI this hike is closer to 9 miles. We are both in great shape and It took us a long time, but the trail is flat and every angle of the lake is beautiful. There is a waterfall along the trail that is gorgeous! We will definitely come back in the summer when we can get in the lake.

Awesome lake. You can swim in it all of summer. Sometimes there is a waterfall depending on rainfall. Overall great place to trail run, walk, or hike. Good camping too!

This is not a difficult trail it’s about 9 Miles from the campground to complete the loop. Some areas you’ll have to walk on the street others past the campgrounds and picnic areas. The waterfall is gushing this year. If you have 3-4 hours to spare this is a nice hike with great views of the lake.

backpacking
2 months ago

Can feel like one long slog. Best as an overnight backpack. Have used the route to Sylvia several times over the past 20 years as a tuneup for long high altitude climb approaches. Dog poop can be problematic so watch your step.

It is a beautiful view. Don’t listen to the 7.7 miles it’s more like 10 miles but it’s fine still a nice view. My aunt went with me she was 8 months pregnant it was really easy for her.

great primitive hut to rent, reserve online at recreation.gov During the winter snowshoe or AT ski in for a night. Spectacular sunsets during clear skies. heat and a privy are provided, everything else including water you must bring.

If you’re doing the loop just know you’re going to have to walk on the street for like a half mile to get back to where you parked. It’s closer to 9 miles.

The real scoop... the west side of the loop, the long side, is interrupted by several camp sights. So it’ll be awesome and then you’ll walk the huge camp sights and finding the trail and getting back on track can be a pain. The east side, around a mile shorter, is amazing. Great trail. Ups and downs. My gf and I enjoyed it a lot.

The waterfall is awesome. You have to walk past the bridge, can’t miss it, and you’ll approach it. We sat and had our lunch here. For a man-made waterfall is amazing. Still beautiful and would go back to see it any time, but would only hike the east side and not do the loop.

Nice and pretty easy hike. It’s beautiful and this time of year, not many people on the trail.

mountain biking
3 months ago

This is a nice mellow ride with a lot of great views. I recommend going counter clockwise around the lake. make sure to stop and check out the water fall near the East part of the lake called the meadows area. There is a lot of pine needles on the camping side of the lake.
There a couple of Free to Park areas that are very small and a couple of $5 day use parking areas outside of the main gates. Just ask about them at the entrance of the lake.

BEAUTIFUL hike, but let me tell ya, when its covered in snow there are quite a few tricky spots, and we lost the trail a few times. also the lakes are completely snowed and frozen over right now. enough that when I thought I was solid i hit the edge of the creek coming out and managed to fall knee deep in ice water. Definitely beautiful, but maybe wait til snow melts.

Great peaceful hike. Spotted two bald eagles. Including a baby.

Don't get me wrong with the three stars. It's pretty and well maintained. It's also very convenient location wise. Without having to drive at least an extra half hour more, this was as woodsy of an outing I was going to get of a hike in El Dorado that I saw right off the highway.

It's a GREAT place for kids and larger families. If you're looking for quiet and less people around this is not your place. Almost never had a clear photo shot without a human, auto or boat, or man made something in the shot. It was also kind of noisy with lots of talking and loud machinery on the north side. Even the waterfall is not natural it seems. The trail around the lake also makes you go on the paved road for quit a while which was a bit of a bummer. There was a bit more trash than I could pick up while walking but honestly for the amount of people that use this area I am surprised how clean it is.

I also think $12 for day use for a regular car is very high. I'll make sure to push to go out a little further next time.

5 months ago

North side of the lake isn’t well marked but south side is. Great views and good hike for older kids.

backpacking
6 months ago

Went September 2017. Easy hike to the lakes. Even if you get off trail there’s tons of cairns to always help out. Got hailed on but it quickly dried up!Too windy to fly fish. Lots of off trail explorations with easy exposed granite as access.Mosquitoes not a problem due to constant low mph wind.

great hike one day AFTER it rained no dust on the trail lots of bathrooms along the 8 mile trail water fall was flowing strong

hiking
6 months ago

Nice day hike not too far from Sacramento. Easy grade throughout the hike, until just before reaching Lyons Lake. The trail up to the lake is steep but short and the lake was spectacular. We had the trail to ourselves for the entire ten mile out and back in mid week in early October. This trail appears like it would be pretty soupy early in the season, so one probably more enjoyable for most later in the season.

horseback riding
6 months ago

Question: is this trail horse friendly?

Hiked to Grouse and Hemlock yesterday through a light coat of early season snow. The trail was a fun and solid workout, and the views up top were gorgeous.

on Island and Twin Lakes

hiking
7 months ago

This hike is the one I have enjoyed the most, the hike encompasses all kinds of terrain. It was too windy when I reached the lake and could barely stay for 15 mins by the water. The trail is not well marked and uses cairn as trail marker, As the 2nd half of the trail is through rocky terrain and has scattered stones, it is very easy to miss the cairn especially while on the return and possible to get lost. It is advisable to have the compass and Map and rely on that for this hike.
All said and done, The hike is more pleasurable for a moderate hiker than the scenery around the lake. One must hike this trail at least once.

Only did southern part of lake but beautiful, well shaded, and even got some fall colors

Challenging trail that never disappoints

This is a pretty vigorous hike to some wonderful lakes. Great if you are looking for a decent workout--not too easy, but not too hard. Smith lake is the final lake and is my personal favorite. It sits high in elevation just at the tree line with some excellent views of the valley below. Very much worth it!

E xxx cellent hike!

Great trail around a uniquely shaped lake. The southeast corner of the lake is definitely the most scenic stretch for fall colors during this time of year. Lost the trail at the end and went over the two damns on the road which was only downfall, but would go back!

Awesome hike. Can't wait to do it again. Day trip today but would like to overnight next time.

backpacking
7 months ago

Twin Lakes is absolutely stunning. I backpacked there from Grouse and stayed one night - it gets VERY windy at night and I was not expecting that. Other than that, beautiful lakes with amazing rock formations and mountains surrounding. Fun boulders to climb over and take pictures on. The trail at times is difficult to follow so you have to pay close attention. Previous hikers have formed a path out of rocks, so look out for the rocks and follow them to the lakes.

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