Lake Margaret Trail

Eldorado National Forest, California

Distance2.3mi
Elevation Gain734ft
Trailhead Elevation7,735ft
Top7,735ft
Elevation Min/Max7495/7735ft
Elevation Start/End7735/7735ft

Lake Margaret Trail

Lake Margaret Trail is a hiking trail in El Dorado County and Alpine County, California. It is within Eldorado National Forest. It is 2.3 miles long and begins at 7,735 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 734 feet. The Lake Margaret Trailhead information is near the trailhead. There is also parking. Along the trail there are meadows.

Lake Margaret Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Lake Margaret is tucked away in a heavily forested glaciated valley pocked with ponds and small lakes and studded with granite rock formations. Although a short hike from Hwy 88, this subalpine jewel offers surprising seclusion. The up-and-down topography of the country also requires a bit more effort than implied by the short trail length depicted on the maps. Surrounded by granite ramparts, Lake Margaret offers a great opportunity to base camp and explore a virtually untracked portion of the Caples Creek Proposed Wilderness."

"This hike’s gentle trail takes you near the lush green banks of Caples Creek and past huge slabs of granite to Lake Margaret, where you can picnic, swim, and enjoy the mountain scenery. It’s a good outing for those wanting a lot of nature for only a little effort. Backpackers must contact the Amador Ranger District to obtain a wilderness permit."

"For little effort, this hike offers a lot of nature: a cool, inviting granitebasined alpine lake, a great burbling stream, and killer views. This is a trail built for children, families, and those households with a new puppy. Here, you’ll get the chance to teach some leash lessons and get your new arrival used to hiking the trails of California and beyond."

"Lake Margaret is a picturesque lake tucked into the undulating terrain of the Caples Creek drainage. A short hike with minimal elevation gain leads hikers through forested terrain sprinkled with granite outcrops to the shore of the diminutive lake. Although somewhat small in stature, the lake seems to be deep enough to offer a refreshing swim and sustain a healthy population of brook trout."

"white fir toward a seasonal creek at just 0.2 mile. Here, the trail bends east; make sure to look straight ahead at the high mountain ridge just north of Caples Lake. The path parallels, then crosses, another seasonal stream and at a 0.5 mile you’ll reach Caples Creek, where a grassy meadow makes for a perfect stop for a snack (and a quick dip in the clear creek waters)"

"Lake Margaret is nestled amid a sloped granite field north of Kirkwood Lake. On this 2.4-mile descending traverse, you’ll cross Caples Creek twice and will be able to enjoy the flowers that crowd these small, wet meadows.

No navigation skills are needed to follow this highly blazed trail, allowing you to concentrate on children’s questions along the way. The dirt-and-duff track mostly stays under the lodgepole, with a few short intervals on granite. Rockbound and dainty, Lake Margaret shines in the bright sun, inviting picnickers and swimmers."

Lake Margaret Trail Reviews

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9/18/2018
This hike enters the proposed Caples Creek Wilderness Area. The Forest Service has begun an ecological restoration project in the Area. The South Fork Caples Creek curves through a lush meadow. Rainbow & brown trout snap at insects on the water’s surface. Evergreens have begun to encroach along the meadow edges. There has not been a major Area wildfire in over 100 years. Downed wood litters the forest floor. Hike across granite slabs & through an aspen grove. Gorgeous Lake Margaret is this hike’s destination. The clear cool water fills a granite bowl. Please watch the video at & visit
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7/17/2018
A really cool hike! The wildflowers are beautiful this time of year and Lake Margaret is lovely. Bring water -- it is hot.
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8/30/2014
I am very much at a beginner level hiker. Although this was tough I was able to complete it.
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8/27/2007
Nice short backpacking trip or day hike with the doggie. Swimming in the lake is fun, there are two little rock islands you can swim to. Some of the creeks were dry this weekend. Only about 4-5 campsites so get there early on the weekend!
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5/24/2007
Great hike. Beautiful country with lots of granite. A serene lake that just begs for a swim. Relatively easy hike, except for the creek crossing. I had to carry my 9 year old across - the water was up to my thighs, but slow moving.
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8/6/2006
Just got home from a jaunt to Lake Margaret. Kids ages 7&8 had a great time. We love this trail. Every kind of terrain...small meadows, pretty streams,scrambles over granite rock faces. Wildflowers were still going strong although last week prob. better. Our favorite part was a maze-like walk through a young aspen grove. The lake is smallish but has granite islands out in the middle you can swim out to and jump off. Wear a suit or bring a fishing pole. Think this trail would be best in late summer--flowers or fall--aspens. Early summer might be too boggy. This is a fairly friendly trail but it is easy to get off course at the very end when it starts up the granite....stay to the right. Also you do have to cross 2 fallen log bridges...we loved it but some might be scared.
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9/24/2005
Nice trail meanders through variable terrain sometimes forested, sometimes over open rocky areas. Two streams were crossed by walking over fallen trees, the first was shaky and would have been a little trickier if the stream bed had not been dry. The lake was pretty and you can walk around it, although, the rocky side does not have an established trail.
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Lake Margaret Trail Photos

Trail Information

Eldorado National Forest
Nearby City
Eldorado National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Eldorado National Forest, Amador Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Caples Lake
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018