Explore the most popular hiking 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.

I went back to hike this trail the second time this summer and there are more wildflowers past Twin Lakes due to snow melt. The small ponds/giant puddles are fully evaporated by now, making is easier to hike. The path up to Island Lakes is difficult to find, but once you see the trail, it's all good from there!

hiking
5 days ago

This trail was really nice. Easy to follow and most driving on paved road to get there. The water was not flowing like crazy (it's July, so . . .), but there were plenty of pools to splash in and get our feet/legs wet. The only reason I dropped it to 4 stars was that there were a lot of places with broken glass lying around, and I had concerns about our dog. She was fine, but it was not a pleasant part of the trip.

on Lyons Creek Trail

hiking
5 days ago

Very nice hike but definitely moderate not hard. In addition to the lakes the meadows and wild flowers through the first few miles are beautiful. Start early!

Even though listed mileage is 7.6 miles our hike once around plus the side route to the waterfall and back was over 9 miles according to my GPS. Nice single path trail with easy footing. Shade most of the way. Restrooms along the way. Dog friendly as they can drink from the lake the whole way. The waterfall is worth seeing.

hiking
7 days ago

Great hike! Trail is now dry so no more slop (as of July 7). I think it's a very different hike when wet vs. dry - would rate this "moderate" vs "hard" during dry season, although the last half-mile up to Lyons is pretty steep.

Lots of wildflowers and super pretty right now!

8 days ago

love this trail! take a bathing suit

backpacking
8 days ago

Backpacked to Island Lake July 6-8 and loved it. The area is super beautiful and is only a 3-4 mile hike from the trailhead. One day we did a day hike up to Mount Price and get a look at Lake Aloha. Overall a great place for a low mileage backpacking trip! Here is my full report with pics: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/desolation-wilderness-twin-lakes/

8 days ago

beautiful hike and and great swimming holes. hardly anyone out there on Monday. The waters low but the falls are still flowing and the pools are safe for kids. what a wonderful day!!

Great trip to pyramid peak this weekend. Trail from lake sylvia to the ridge was in and out. Once we got to ridge heading to pyramid peak we also lost trail in and out due to rock scrambling. This trail was no joke, but led to beautiful views. Following instructions to look for notch at SSE side of sylvia and staying on ridge to pyramid peak were our guiding forces to make it even without consistent trail. Wild flowers are out, but sun is intense once you hike past sylvia; lots of sunscreen and water. Water filter is great from sylvia to lyons trailhead since the creek follows trail, not much to access up toward pyramid.

backpacking
10 days ago

Backpacked in on the 3rd and out on the 5th. Wrights Lake Road is now open again for access, so you don't need to go through Ice House Road. it's a much shorter drive to and from US50 from Wrights Lake Road to the trailhead. The trail is pretty clearly marked, and parts where it wasn't, we went ahead and rebuilt some of the cairns that had appeared to have fallen apart. When you get closer to the lake, there are 2 paths that will take you on either side of the lake. Do not attempt to go around the lake, since there are unstable boulders and no clearly defined path. Instead, go back to the area near the shallow water fall just below the lake, and go in either direction, you should be able to find the trails easily from this point. I brought my ultralight fishing gear and caught a lot of brook trout. Luckily the fishing was good because we had left a few packs of food at home so we were a bit short. There wasn't much in the way of wildlife up there, but we saw some marmots and chipmunks. The wind up there was pretty bad over the few days, but otherwise it was a beautiful, relaxing time at this less populated lake in Desolation Wilderness.

Headed out from Twin Lakes headed to Lois Lake. Made it as far as Maud before we got too tired. We only had one night so we decided to stay at Maud. Not an easy trail, it's hard to see, rocky, and narrow at times. Bring a map and compass. Beautiful trail.

Gentle, well-shaded hike. I would also suggest entering at the southeast entrance off of Mormon Emigrant Trail and heading to the waterfall and back. This route is much more serene and less congested than doing the full loop; the north and west sides of the lake have many campsites and considerably more people.

I would definitely rate this as hard, especially because the trail from Hemlock to Smith is marked as "primitive." I found it hard to catch the spot where you take a hard left up into the rocks. I wasn't sure if I was off trail, so I sat down until I saw someone else arrived who used their GPS to find the trail. After being at the top I came back down to find two hikers lost in the same spot that I was. Just keep an eye out for stacked rocks to the left to find that final steep ascent.

The parking lot at the trail head was open as of 7/7/18. The wildflowers were incredible! And the water running down beside the first part of the trail was serene. I dunked in at Smith Lake and felt so refreshed. Will be coming back soon to see it again.

Did the whole loop in 2 1/2 days with my 11y and 13y old sons. Rockbound pass was amazing. You go up this 10k year old trail. Easy path until you get to lake Schmidell. Past Schmidell towards McConnell Lake, Horseshoe lake to 4-Q lakes to camper Flat you better have really good map reading skills and compass or GPS because it's not marked. Walk slow look for rock stacks cuz I got lost many times, had to back track and look at the map and compass those 10miles but let me tell you the view is out of National Geographic magazine. 24.3 miles in 2 days with an 11y and 13y old.

on Island and Twin Lakes

12 days ago

Beware the trail as pictured past Twin Lakes dissolves into a rocky hard scramble and unsafe water crossing trying to get back to Twin Lakes. I wouldn't recommend it for others to follow.

This hike around the lake is easily accomplished in around 3-4 hours depending on your pace. I would rate this hike as an easy day trip. You will need water, sun screen, and comfortable shoes. There are restrooms and the trail is close to the lake the duration of the hike.

This hike is full of great scenery. I would suggest hiking the eastern side of the lake starting from the main entrance and turning around from the waterfall, instead of doing the full loop. This side of the lake is less congested, offers the most shade, and you can track a 10 mile hike this way instead of 8 miles.

The waterfall is big and has a swimming hole at the bottom. I found a rope swing along the way and plenty of fishing spots. There are benches to take lunch breaks along the hike and make sure you are cautious for snakes. I almost stepped on one this second time around.

Wildflowers are blooming everywhere right now. Don’t forget bug spray!

This trial has everything you could ask for! From stunning views, a vast array of flowers, swimming holes in the creek, great rock climbing spots and of course Lyons lake itself!!

I have been to most lakes in desolation and have a couple favorites this one being top 3!! The last mile or so was a bit tough but you get the awesome waterfall views and mountain backdrop that make it an easier ride! Have fun out there !!

Hiked late June 2018. Pretty easy up to Maude, but Rockbound pass was challenging, especially hiking up all the loose shale. Stayed at Maude the first night and Lake Zitella the second. The toughest pat was the descent (then ascent) between lake Schmidell and McConnell. It was completely covered in snow and the trail was absolutely nowhere to be seen. It was melting off and I found several postholes around the creeks. We were aiming for highland, but stopped short at Zitella. The water there was warmer than other lakes along the way and overall a fantastic place to camp.
Coming from east Tennessee, this was more difficult than anything I'd ever done in the Smokey's. We lost the trail several times and if not for my gps watch I think I might still be out there. Probably not that difficult for locals or those more experienced in that terrain. We ended up making it a true out and back and got out the third day. Took us about 10 hrs from Zitella to the parking lot. Fantastic hike, but difficult past Maude.

This was an awesome hike! Easy enough for your dog, and great exercise for yourself. The water fall is beautiful and there’s a few good spots to swim in, as well.

things were clearly labeled and it smelled like Christmas tree

hiking
21 days ago

This trail was absolutely beautiful last Sunday! The granite slabs were well-marked with rock piles to follow until the trail started again on the other side, and if you stray off on accident you can just look for the closest cairn or line of rocks. Bring lots of water and sunscreen as much of the trail is exposed — better yet, bring a water filter and drink from the fresh waterfalls!
As of last Sunday, Wrights Lake Road was open from Highway 50 to the overflow parking lot by the camping area, so there’s an additional 3/4 mile hike from there to the trailhead. The parks crew at the trailhead said the road set to be fully open by this weekend.

hiking
22 days ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Went mid-week (6/27) and it was still fairly crowded at the falls. Water still flowing over the falls. The scenery is amazing.

Its very pretty. Only didn’t do 5 because there are prettier lakes in deso. I didn’t see leaches although would have liked too :) some creek crossing- there seemed to always be trees to crossover but at one point I did take boots off and cross. It was fun, and didn’t see 1 would entire hike. Supposedly good for horses.

23 days ago

Beautiful falls. Easy hike, doable for little ones who don’t like to hike. Spring time when water is moving. Beautiful!

Wrights Lake is where this is located. Twin Lakes are very small but nice. Wrights Lake Rd is closed from hwy 50 and has been for a few years now and CalTrans has done nothing to fix it. In order to get there you need to take Ice House Lake Rd off of Hwy 50. Follow it until you see the turn off to the right for Ice House Lake which is 1 mile in from main rd. There is a fork in the road. Go left and follow the signs for Wrights Lake. Approx 10 miles. Make a left onto Wrights Lake rd and go about 2 to 4 miles to Wrights Lake. You can walk around either side of the lake to find Twin Lakes. If you want an awesome hike..go up Rock Bound Pass to PCT..Thats a great hike and can be done in 1 day if in great shape. If not so much take basic overnight gear and camp up there for 1 to 3 days. Sign in at the rangers station there so they know that you are out there in the event of an emergency in the area.

Beautiful hike! The wildflowers are in full bloom right now and there are some waterfalls along the trail as well. The last 0.2 mi was steep, but worth the trip to Smith Lake! Also, the road to the parking lot is still closed to the public so you have to park at the further lot and walk to the trail head.

27 days ago

Very fun quick hike, no stars guns off of ice house rd so it can be hard to find. The turn off is after the silver creek bridge. Stay to the right. There are two parking areas off the gravel road. The first is easy and best for regular cars, the second lot to the right and down farther is washed out.

beautiful trail with dogwoods for a bunch of different kinds of flowers blooming. It was a Serene Trail all the way to the waterfall. we went late in the day and the temperature was perfect it was mostly shaded

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful, easy hike for most.

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