A gentle 12 mile backpacking loop through the Caribou Wilderness, abundant with lakes and camping spots.

The caribou lakes loop is very laid back, making it a great start for first time backpackers and kids. Word of caution: in the summer the mosquitos are plenty, I'd recommend this loop for the fall.

From the parking lot there is a visible sign pointing you in the direction of the trailhead near Caribou Lake, once you get the lake the trail begins behind the information sign for the area. :) Super straight forward trail, eventually the one trail turns into two, head right towards Jewel lake, one of many lakes to come. There is a trail that leads to a lake below Jewel or continue straight on the main trail to a cross section leading either to Turnaround lake or the Divide lake. Near this cross section is the only creek we found the entire hike, so be sure to fill your water here! Turnaround lake is a quick, maybe 1/4 from the cross section, so we check it out and turned around. :) Heading in the direction of divide lake, at the next cross section we headed left, did a quick detour to Gem Lake, got back to the main trail and took the detour to Emerald lake. In my opinion this lake had the best camp sites and for some reason, the least amount of mosquitos! Back tracking and then continuing on the main trail will lead you back to Caribou Lake and your car!

All in all, this is a very well signed, easy to follow, rather relaxed hike through the woods. We didn't see any fellow hikers during our trek and Caribou Wilderness is dog friendly! :)

Pack List

  • The ten essentials
  • Tent (especially to protect you from mosquitos in the summer)
  • Dog
  • Book
  • Mosquito Repellent!!!
Show More
RT Distance 12 Miles
Activities Chillin, Camping, Running, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to Snag Lake via the Cinder Cone

19 Saves

Hike to Cinder Cone

79 Saves

Camp at Last Chance Creek Campground on Lake Almanor

61 Saves