Backpacking to Loch Leven Lakes

8 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Alex Shaw

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.

Read More

Tags

Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Cliff Jumping

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Perfect first backpacking trip with my daughter

Heard a lot of good things about this hike prior to going. Now I know why. Challenging 4 mike walk in with a 1,500 elevation climb. In most areas, trail is almost all loose gravel and bedrock making ankle injuries a concern. More traffic on the trail than expected for mid-week, but only one other group of campers for the two nights we were there. Hiked to both nearby lakes on the second day. Scenery is incredible. If you’re looking for a hike where challenge is equaled by the rewards of beauty and solitude, this should be high on your list.

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.

Stay Nearby

Emigrant Gap, California

Big Bend Group (Yuba River)

Overview Big Bend Group Campground is located 19 miles west of Truckee, California in the Tahoe National Forest at an elevation of 5,700 feet. Visitors enjoy the area for its fishing and hiking op...

Emigrant Gap, California

North Fork (Ca)

Overview North Fork Campground is located along the North Fork of the North Fork American River in the Tahoe National Forest, off of Interstate 80, at the Emigrant Gap Exit. Visitors enjoy fishing ...

Colfax, California

Tunnel Mills Ii

Overview Tunnel Mills Group Campground is located along the East Fork of the North Fork of the North Fork American River in the Tahoe National Forest. It can be accessed off of Interstate 80, at th...

Unnamed Road

Fir Top Campground

Overview Fir Top Campground is located alongside the scenic Jackson Meadow Reservoir, in the Tahoe National Forest. The location, part of the Woodcamp Recreation Area, makes a great base camp for ...

Nearby Adventures

  • 33mi Loop to Donner Lake

    We love this 33-mile loop on old Highway 40 from Cisco Grove to Donner Lake and back. It has just about everything: a few flats, a long slow pull, rollers, a screaming downhill, a tough Alpine climb and a long, cruising downhill. Not to mention al...

    33 miles

  • Backpack the Palisades Creek Trail

    After driving out to Kidd Lakes and parking at the trailhead, you take off through some easy forest hiking past Cascade Lakes and Long Lake. Pay attention to the cairns marking the trail as you traverse across a large granite section with Devils P...

    15 miles 2200 ft gain

  • Swim at Long Lake near Truckee

    The story goes that twenty or so years ago, long before the advent of the Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Area, some local Truckee boys decided to put a couple rope swings up on Long Lake near Soda Springs, CA, and they remain there to this day.Long...

    1.5 miles 100 ft gain

  • Hike to the Top of Andesite Peak

    From the trail map sign, follow the dirt path straight, following signs for the cross-country skiing route, not snowmobiling. Continue until you see a trail marker. You'll veer left to head over to the Hole in the Ground trail. Once you see anothe...

    5 miles 1000 ft gain