Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

hiking
2 days 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.

7 days 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!

hiking
12 days 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
15 days 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
17 days 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.

This is a beautiful hike. 85-90% shaded the entire way. My suggestion is to park along Emigrant Trail near the 2nd dam (parking option 3 shown on the map) and take the lake clockwise. You have to walk through some camp areas but it never felt intrusive. Not a ton of signage, but if you are not sure which way to go just take the path that keeps you along the lake.

21 days ago

This was a really beautiful hike but I thought the trail could have been market better. We somehow veered left somewhere on the tail and ended up very lost and had to climb up a lot of rocks to get back to the trail. If you don’t get lost, this trail is great and the lake at the top is very refreshing on a warm day!

Had a great hike to the waterfall.

We went on a Saturday (got there at 8am) and found parking pretty easily ($5). Luckily a ranger was there and gave us a map because this trail isn't well marked. You go through a few campgrounds. It was loud most of the trail. We either heard cars or the large amount of people on the lake. We had to move often for other hikers (large groups). The waterfall was VERY crowded. If you are looking for a trail that's peaceful and relaxing this is not the trail for you. It's closer to 10 miles as well. The trail itself is good for all fitness levels I would say.

24 days ago

Nice trail but very little shade, lots of gravel and rocks and no waterfalls in mid July. On a blistering hot day you better wear sun screen, have a wide brimmed hat and have a good pair of hiking boots. Difficult to locate the trailhead if you have not been there before as signage is poor and the elevation will wear you out quickly unless you are accustomed to hiking in the mountains. Very few people for a Saturday afternoon.

hiking
26 days ago

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!

off road driving
27 days ago

An amazing trail with several fun crawling spot and extremely beautiful

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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!

1 month ago

love this trail! take a bathing suit

backpacking
1 month 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/

1 month 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!!

backpacking
1 month 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.

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

1 month 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.

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.

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