Mount Elwell Trail

Plumas National Forest, California

Elevation Gain1,866ft
Trailhead Elevation6,082ft
Elevation Min/Max6070/7751ft
Elevation Start/End6082/6082ft

Mount Elwell Trail

Mount Elwell Trail is a hiking trail in Plumas County, California. It is within Plumas National Forest. It is 3.3 miles long and begins at 6,082 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,866 feet. The trail ends near Mount Elwell (elevation 7,746 feet). This trail connects with the following: Smith Lake Trail.

Mount Elwell Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Classic Hikes in Northern California (The Mountaineers Books)
John R. Soares & Marc J. Soares
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"This trip takes you past numerous rock-encircled high Sierra lakes to the top of Mount Elwell, a peak that offers panoramic views of the Lakes Basin and northern Sierra Nevada. Numerous lakes lie sprinkled below the rocky 7,818-foot summit of Mount Elwell. Note that camping outside of official campgrounds is prohibited in this area." Read more
Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region (Wilderness Press)
Mike White
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"The Mt. Elwell Loop provides one of the most diverse hikes in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. Not only do you have the opportunity to stand atop one of the area’s highest peaks and enjoy the expansive view, but you also pass by picturesque Long Lake, the largest lake in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area that is accessible by trail. A fine early-season wildflower display, delightful streams, and serene forests further contribute to the scenic diversity found on this trip. To complete the experience, finish off your hike with a meal at nearby Gray Eagle Lodge." Read more

Mount Elwell Trail Reviews

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Even in July and August this trail stays pretty lush and green, since the snow lingers so long. There's so much to enjoy: beautiful lakes, butterflies, great old trees, shade, wildflowers, creeks, ferns, and waterfalls. There are some really steep, rocky sections, but plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation while you sit by the water surrounded by awesomeness.
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We have hiked over 50 trails here in north California and this is our favorite to date. Every mile reveals a new scene, from forests to lakes to a spectacular 360 vista on the peak.
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Great hike, beautiful views. The elevation gain makes you feel less guilty about having a big dessert that night. If you come down along the face above Long lake, the scree can be a bit difficult - especially for dogs!

Mount Elwell Trail Photos

Trail Information

Plumas National Forest
Nearby City
Plumas National Forest
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Plumas National Forest at 530-836-2575,
Local Contacts
USFS Lakes Basin, Sierra Buttes, and Plumas-Eureka State Park Recreation Guide
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018