Five Lakes Trail

Tahoe National Forest, California

Elevation Gain1,864ft
Trailhead Elevation6,543ft
Elevation Min/Max6543/7581ft
Elevation Start/End6543/6543ft

Five Lakes Trail

Five Lakes Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Placer County, California. It is within Tahoe National Forest and Granite Chief Wilderness. It is 2.6 miles long and begins at 6,543 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,864 feet. The Five lakes trailhead attraction is near the trailhead. This trail connects with the following: Pacific Crest Trail (TRT) and Squaw Saddle Trail.

Five Lakes Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Dog Hikes Northern California (Falcon Guides)
Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally
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"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." Read more
Hiking Northern California (Falcon Guides)
Bubba Suess
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"This hike offers quick access to the Granite Chief Wilderness, climbing through rugged terrain to the peaceful Five Lakes Basin." Read more
Top Trails Lake Tahoe (Wilderness Press)
Mike White
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"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." Read more

Five Lakes Trail Reviews

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This is a great half day hike to tackle. We hiked this in August 05, I recommend trying it in late summer or fall as the August heat can take its toll. The varying terrain keeps it interesting. There are some nice views of the Reno valley at a few points. The top opens up to treeless rock to the peak. As it is the highest peak in the basin, the view is great. Don't underestimate the elevation on this one as the air is thin at the top. We often stop to hike the first mile of the trail when we are in the area as it is a quick out and back with great lake and valley views before the trail turns in toward the mountain.
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The start of the trail is less then impressive and for a good ways you can still hear the cars and motorcycles along the road but don't be discouraged. Eventually you wind inwards and away from the din of the road and the views are beautiful and quite surprising. The trail winds through many different terrains and eventually leads to an open rocky area. The final 700 feet up look rather intimidating but are not nearly as bad as they look. The trail is heavily used thoguh so don't expect solitude on the trail but the view from the top is worth the climb. I would definitely recommend taking this half day hike if you are in the area.
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Trail is well maintained. If you're looking for solitude, you'll have to make a very early hike or try a week day. We started on the trail at about 830 in the morning on a Sunday. Hiking up the backside of KT-22, there weren't too many people but on the way down, it felt like we were at a shopping mall. The scenery was spectacular. Towards the top of your climb, you definitely are in alpine territory with great views of Alpine Meadows. The lakes are nice, but nothing to write home about.

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Trail Information

Tahoe National Forest
Nearby City
Granite Chief Wilderness
Truckee Ranger District, 10811 Stockrest Springs Rd., Truckee 96161 (530) 587.3558
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Dec 2018