Five Lakes Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"This moderate scenic hike between two popular ski resorts climbs across an exposed granitic landscape before entering the Granite Chief Wilderness, where you and Pooch can enjoy the sights and refreshing coolness of one or all three of the five lakes along this popular trail."
--Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally, Best Dog Hikes Northern California (Falcon Guides).
"The surprise of summertime at a ski area reveals beauty viewed through a different lens. And it requires effort: Slopes traversed easily when covered with snow require work when their rocky bases are revealed—and you have to hike up them as well as come down. The climb to Five Lakes offers access (not lift-served) to the slopes near Alpine Meadows, then mellows in the shady forest surrounding the first of the Five Lakes.Three distinct settings, and thus three distinct moods, lie along the trail to Five Lakes. The most arduous part of the trek is at the outset, where switchbacks climb through a sun-fed thicket of manzanita, mule ear, and snowberry. The second section features great views of the Alpine Meadows Ski Area, metal ski lift towers punched into smooth, colorful granite slabs, as well as an exposed traverse of a shallow granite-walled canyon."
--Tracy Salcedo-Chourre, Best Easy Day Hikes: Lake Tahoe (Falcon Guides).
"Although the climb to Five Lakes basin is fairly stiff, the shores of the five lakes on the forested flat require only an hour’s worth of hiking to reach, leaving plenty of time to fish, swim, or simply relax. The only drawback is the area’s popularity, no doubt a direct result of the relatively short access. The overuse has resulted in a ban on camping, campfires, and the use of stoves within 600 feet of the lakes-backpackers can find decent campsites near a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail or better sites 1.5 miles away at Whisky Creek Camp."
--Mike White, Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region (Wilderness Press).
"The Five Lakes Trail climbs along a ridge overlooking a rocky canyon into the Granite Chief Wilderness with spectacular granite formations and sheer cliffs. The hike up to the lake is the best part of the trip. The dramatic cliffs and eroded, rounded shapes of the surrounding rock is stunning. All five tree-lined lakes are small yet beautiful. They make an excellent picnic and play area."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes around Lake Tahoe (Day Hike Books).
"In the summertime, the bare rock underpinnings of ski slopes are revealed—and become hikeable. The climb to Five Lakes offers access (not lift-served) to the slopes near Alpine Meadows, and then mellows in the wilderness surrounding secluded Five Lakes."
--Tracy Salcedo-Chourre, Best Hikes Near Reno and Lake Tahoe (Falcon Guides).
"This hike offers quick access to the Granite Chief Wilderness, climbing
through rugged terrain to the peaceful Five Lakes Basin."
--Bubba Suess, Hiking Northern California (Falcon Guides).
"A short but steep climb leads to a forested basin holding five serene, forest-rimmed lakes which are well suited for an afternoon of sunbathing, picnicking, fishing, or just relaxing. Since the lakes are only an hour from the trailhead don’t expect to be alone, particularly on weekends."
--Mike White, Top Trails Lake Tahoe (Wilderness Press).
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