Relatively easy access to beautiful scenery, low traffic. 5-8 mile hike depending on which lake you want to go to (Lower, Middle, High). Cliff jumping at the upper lake, catch and release fishing, pet friendly. No permit required however a permit is required for campfires.

To get to this trail go west on I-80 from Truckee, Ca. After 17 miles take the Big Bend exit and turn left at the stop sign at the bottom of the exit ramp. Follow that road 3/4 of a mile and the small parking lot will be on your right hand side. There is a bathroom there and the trailhead is directly across the street.

The trail is easy to follow for the first half mile until you get to some large slabs of granite. As you continue up the trail look for stacked rocks, these will give you a an easy route as you continue up the mountain. The trail then starts to switch back eventually leading to a small bridge. After crossing the bridge you will proceed roughly 1/4 of a mile and end up at a set of railroad tracks, the trail continues on the other side of the tracks straight across from where you came out.

Once on the other side the trail will continue up some switchbacks through the forest for another mile and is moderately steep until eventually defending into the first lake. If you continue from the lower lake another mile on the trail you will end up at the upper lake where there are rocks to jump off and more places to camp. The distance to the lower lake is 2.5 miles one way. If you intend to stay the night be sure to pack for any variables. I recommend this to anyone who wants a relatively easy trail to get into backpacking.

Pack List

  • Sunscreen
  • Water/ filter
  • Bug spray
  • Snacks
  • Meals (if spending the night)
  • Rain gear (just incase, the weather can change very quickly)
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag/ pad
  • Camp stove
  • Knife
  • Backpack
  • Warm clothing (the temps are colder near the lake)
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking shoes
  • Swimsuit
  • Gloves
  • Camera
  • Batteries
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RT Distance 8 Miles
Activities Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Cliff Jumping

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Salmon to Loch Leven

We figured out that there is an easier route to Loch Leven. We have young kids and a dog and had heard that the Loch Leven trail is a hard one. We parked at the Salmon Lake trail head and hiked an easy mile or so to Salmon Lake. Found a beautiful campsite there and left our gear there and took day packs to Lower Loch Leven (an easy 1 mile) and went as far as the middle lake for great swimming. We were happy that we made this decision because Loch Leven was crowded (Labor Day weekend) and we were the only ones at Salmon. Still beautiful, maybe not as enticing to swim at, but gorgeous scenery and solitude was worth it. An easier hike and you can still access Loch Leven. We saw others with dogs that had come via the normal trail head at Loch Leven and some of them had bleeding paws.

Salmon Lake To Leven

This was a great weekend hike. I went mid June via salmon lake. A large portion of the trail was covered in snow and difficult to find but it was worth it.

Perfect

The hike to these lakes was fabulous. We camped at the middle lake and campgrounds were plentiful and the lake was very warm. We saw a rattlesnake so beware. Overall, however, this was a fabulous trip.


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