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

off road driving
8 days ago

Went up Saturday morning in my 2018 Tacoma off road.
Stock no mods, all weather tires, literally got it two days ago.
Trail was well maintained. We were behind an explorer that couldn’t make it up half way. .
Lots of hikers on the trail.
Definitely a fun trip.
Upper lake was beautiful.

off road driving
8 days ago

Gorgeous lakes. My brother and I drove up to Upper Sardine. People say it’s a gnarly road up, and while Subarus won’t make it up, my mild Toyota made it up without a single scratch. I highly, highly, recommend camping at Upper Sardine... We had it to ourselves and could see the PACKED campsite at Lower Sardine from where we set up camp.

We hiked to Sierra Buttes Lookout from Upper Sardine. What an incredible hike! Highly recommend it!

hiking
30 days ago

Went early there were a bunch of family’s at the lower lakes but if ya hike up the 4 wheel rd and hang a left around the lake there’s great swimming spots with a good Mt. backdrop.

The hike to Volcano lake is more like 4 miles round trip and I would rate this as more of a moderate trail than hard. The hike to the lake is up an unmaintained road. Thanks to the reviewer for the mile marker (622-1) for parking as there are no signs for the lake until you have hiked for a while. The lake is absolutely beautiful and is perfect for a short hike.

on Sardine Lakes

off road driving
1 month ago

We actually drove the trail. The beginning of the trail posts a sign that lets you know you can hike, bike or drive it. Really needs to be a 4x4 of sorts. Great drive and outstanding lakes. You start with one lake and then go up to a second lake. Amazing!

off road driving
1 month ago

Sardine lakes did not disappoint! It’s absolutely stunning, if you’re thinking about making a trip there do it! There’s campgrounds very close to the lake and there were very few people there for it being a Saturday at noon. For those who want to go to wheel up the trail, here’s some good info for you. The trail is extremely rocky, so having skid plates will help a ton. It’s also extremely skinny, and there are only a couple points to turn around. I wouldn’t recommend taking a full size truck up. I took my 03 Ranger (3” Lift, 33’s and it’s 2 wheel drive but it has a rear locker). The trail is so skinny that my truck barely fit in some parts. There’s a few big rocks that can’t be avoided that will 100% contact the underside of your truck unless you’ve got a rig on 40’s or a huge lift. I was joined at the end of the trail by a Tacoma and 4Runner (both lifted with a/t tires) and watched a nice 4x4 f150 (stock height and Tires) get pretty messed up on this trail. He had to back down about a 1/4 of the way and banged his truck up pretty good. Overall, a fun and not very challenging trail if you’ve got a decent rig and some driver skill. If you’ve got any questions you can find me on Instagram @jakeramirez99 and I’d be happy to give you any info about this trail you want.

We went on this trail late May. The weather is nice. We followed this trail all the way until we could see upper sardine lake. We ended up not hiking down to upper sardine lake because we tought it will take a while and it’s getting a bit late. I really enjoy this trail. The view of the mountains was amazing. Worth every minute.

hiking
3 months ago

Breathtaking !!! My fave place soo far.

Nice and easy for a New Year's Day hike!

Almost missed the trailhead as its named something else, a connector (I'll post the picture). heads up pretty quick and it's like a rocky dry creek bed the bends around through the trendline until it breaks out along the ridge. amazing views!! gets pretty steep toward the end of the Sardine Lakes section. But the views.......

hiking
7 months ago

easy drive with clear roads. saw two other couples the 2.5 hours we were there. one driving down on the jeep road/path and one walking down. basically had the place to ourselves. kids had a blast with the snowball fight. stunning views that look like a fake background drop. easy hike.

the destination is gorgeous, the trail is a gravel road with only a tiny bit of single trail. it's an uphill climb but not to fear it, the rocks are a little inconvenient especially coming down but i wouldn't have rated it a 'hard' unless you're a beginner or have unstable companions. it's short enough to volcano Lake so we found another trail to add to our day. we encountered no snow on this trail in Nov 25, 2017.

Good views of Sardine lakes and the buttes, but the "trails" are just old rocky mining roads and there are human structures everywhere. The campsites are mediocre at best, and the new switchbacks to gain the butte ridge are excessive. I would not recommend that trail or that area.

hiking
11 months ago

Very rocky road to upper Sardine Lake watch your step. Great views well worth the short hike. No crowds during this September hike.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A very enjoyable hike with plenty of great views.

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

Volcano Lake is a lovely gem. This time we hiked the rest of the rocky road to Mountain Mine. Not much evidence of a mine but the views were beautiful.

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

We've camped at Sardine Lake for years and always make the hike up to Upper Sardine Lake. Saw this hike on All Trails which extends the trail past the dam at Upper Sardine. The trail at this point is difficult to follow and requires a little rock scrambling. We go past the dam but did not take the trail to the end as it was not marked.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Volcano lake is a beautiful prize after an uphill climb!

hiking
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Loved this trail wasn't to difficult or hard to find. A few people tried to make it part way with their 4x4 and I applaud them, a few did make it and were rewarded with some amazing camping spots. Wish I would have brought my inter tube to float The views are AH-mazing!!

on Sardine Lakes

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wow! Fantastic views and a great place for some kayaking or stand up paddling or boating. A very popular weekend place as well.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

Great views of the Buttes. Lower Sardine Lake was highly trafficked with people/canoes/boats as it has a resort right next to it but I found Upper Sardine Lake much more peaceful. I don't think this trail was quite four miles. It was uphill but pretty easy.

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

I would not rate this as lightly trafficked, especially near lower Sardine. We got to the area around 1130am this morning and it was a zoo. Once you get away from Lower Sardine, things quiet down a little bit. We enjoyed some swimming in Upper Sardine. It's hard to beat the mountain backdrop for a swim up there. The trail is shared with some off road vehicles so you have to dodge a jeep here and there but it's not bad. Very pretty!!

backpacking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Took a crew of mixed level hikers to the look out. Very challenging with a 30 lb pack but definitely worth the views. The route was difficult to follow the last mile due to the snow pack. I would recommend a quick brush up on terrain association but overall fairly easy to follow. The rocks at the beginning were treacherous on the ankles, so be careful.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Beautiful view of the buttes!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Great snowshoeing, spectacular views, good work out. From parking lot off high 89 to upper sardine lake and back was 11 miles, as no car goes beyond this point at winter. Not 4 miles. Unless someone has snowmobile.

backpacking
Monday, September 19, 2016

Awesome trail. It's actually called the Tamarack Trail and has some great little lakes to camp next to. We hiked the 3+ miles to Lower Tamarack and set camp there before hiking to the lookout and back without our packs. Wonderful views

hiking
Saturday, September 10, 2016

Loved it

Right loose rocks at first, but good views. Then a disappointing loss of altitude as you work back down towards Tamarack Lake.

The hike up to the fire lookout tower at 8587 feet elevation had the most spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and valley's below. It is a trail one should do at least once in their lifetime.

hiking
Friday, July 10, 2015

Took the 4x4 trail up to within a mile of the summit before the snow prevented us from driving further. The hike up from there was a bit steep but fairly easy for anyone is decent shape. If anything, the fantastic views will take your breath away. If you don't have a 4x4 with high clearance, the hike up would still be well worth it. Once at the summit, there is a fire lookout station that we were able to walk upon an enjoy the 360 degree views from.

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