Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lakes

Kyburz, California 95720

Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lakes

Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lakes Professional Review and Guide

"The short hike to these three beautiful lakes rewards hikers of all ages with stunning vistas down onto Wrights Lake and the Crystal Basin from up on the edge of the Crystal Range.

Your hike begins in a flower-filled meadow and includes cascading streams, glacier-polished granite, and snowcapped peaks. This trek is most often easy but does have some short, strenuous sections to remind you of the elevation."

More Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lakes Professional Reviews and Guides

"Climb a forested trail to three magnificent lakes. Besides opportunities for swimming, picnicking, and camping, you’ll be treated to expansive views of steep-sided granite Sierra peaks that pierce the sky at nearly 10,000 feet. You must obtain a permit for this hike. Call Eldorado National Forest Information Center for more information. A forest of mountain hemlock leads to Smith Lake, one of the prettiest in the Sierra Nevada."

Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lakes Reviews

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9/28/2013
Grouse (hemlock and smith lakes) Nearby City:Kyburz Length:6 total milesElevation Gain:MinimalTrail Type:Out-and-backSkill Level:ModerateDuration:3.5–4.5 hoursTrailhead Elevation:7,000 feetTop Elevation:8,700 feet http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGS551-025 Nearby City:Kybur zLength:6 total miles Elevation Gain:Minimal Trail Type:Out-and-back Skill Level:Moderate Duration:3.5–4.5 hours Season:Year-round Trailhead Elevation:7,000 feet Top Elevation:8,700 feet this one we decided to just go to grouse - though the other ones i've been to and the hike isn't as steep as getting to grouse, it was serene and relaxing so we decided to not go on - plus it was opening hunting season and i really wasn't comfortable having sheela running so far ahead of us as we forgot her orange pack at home! this is a lot of step ups onto boulders so bad knees isn't a good idea. and there are many more hikers than you'd expect because it's a relatively short hike to grouse even though it's steep. i'd say it's a little tougher than moderate except that it's not a great distance
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9/15/2012
The hike to Grouse Lake is a shorter, moderate intensity effort. Soon after entering the Desolation Wilderness, the trail splits, with one trail leading to Twin Lakes and the other heading towards Grouse Lake. The Grouse Lake trail can be hard to follow at points--we actually lost it, and located the lake only after climbing above it and spotting it. Anglers seemed to be having a fair amount of luck fishing for small trout on light tackle. Beautiful area; a great introduction to the Desolation Wilderness and hiking the Sierra Nevada!
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7/15/2011
we did this as an evening hike. It is a steady climb up an uneven trail, lots of step ups on boulders, rocks and logs. Snow levels was at 8,000 feet. Most of the lake was still under snow. Very pretty. It has great views and a nice waterfall. Good for dogs with multiple water sources along the way. This is a tough on your knees hike, both up and down, but close off of 50 and great views. Bring your bug spray! One of the trail heads next to grouse lake is the blood sucker trail. Called this for a reason. Mosquitoes are rampant.
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9/2/2007
Great Hike, Took our 3 and 4 year old daughters up to grouse. Overnight was incredible, few deer that stoped in for a visit. Trail gets little steep at the split. Great photo ops and views on the way up. Trail head parking full from day hikers...If you get in later be ready for an additional .9 mile hike in from overflow. Friendly people on the trail!
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6/2/2007
Plenty of snow is still covering the trail at higher eleveations. I think we made it about halfway to Smith Lake before there was enough snow to discourage our lazy day hike. Serious hikers press on by all means...it just didn't make for a relaxing picnic trip. There are several trees that have fallen over the trail at points and plenty of run off is running down the pathway so tread lightly and take some bug spray. Still great views though.
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8/12/2006
Great day hike. Missed the trail to Hemlock on the first try. Need to stay high and to the left after reaching Grouse lake. Actually saw a mother and baby grouse at Grouse Lake.
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9/3/2005
Beautiful..Beautiful. We did this trail as a day hike, it worked. It was beautiful! Lots of trees and nice mountain views.
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Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lakes Photos

Trail Information

Kyburz
Nearby City
6
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
3.5–4.5 hours
Duration
Depends on snow; permits required for day hiking and overnight camping.
Season
6,721 feet
Trailhead Elevation
feet
Top Elevation
US Forest Service, Taylor Creek Visitor Center, 530-543-2674, tinyurl.com/taylorcreekvisitorcenter
Local Contacts
Desolation Wilderness (Wilderness Press)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018