Backpack to Leavitt Lake in Stanislaus National Forest

Leavitt Lake Trailhead

Idyllic alpine lake with easy access to the Sierra high country of Hoover and Emigrant Wilderness. 

Situated on the eastern edge of Emigrant Wilderness, Leavitt Lake is a great introduction to backpacking in the Sierra Nevada. 

Leavitt Lake is located at the end of Forest Service Route 077 off of Highway 108. It is actually possible to drive to Leavitt Lake, but a high clearance vehicle is required. Route 077 is located 3.8 miles east of Sonora Pass on Highway 108. The road entrance is not marked, but there is a gravel pullout with parking that is visible from where Highway 108 bends at Leavitt Creek. 

The best time to visit Leavitt Lake is late spring or early summer. The road is usually closed to vehicles well into the summer due to snow which decreases the amount of people visiting the lake. 

The trail/road roughly follows Leavitt Creek for three miles and ends at the gorgeous alpine lake flanked by a large mountain bowl that is usually covered in snow. For such a relatively short hike, the lake lies at an elevation of roughly 9500 feet and emanates the Sierra high country feel. 

Permits are not required for camping at Leavitt Lake, but if you plan to use this lake as a launch point into Emigrant or Hoover Wilderness, Wilderness Permits can be obtained at the Pinecrest Ranger Station. You can also do a great day hike up to Leavitt Peak to be rewarded with sweeping views of Emigrant, Hoover and Yosemite Wilderness. 

This lake also offers great fishing opportunities as the lake is full of Brooke and Rainbow Trout.  

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Cooking Equipment
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Food and Water 
  • Photography Gear 
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RT Distance 3 Miles
Activities Hunting, Canoeing, Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Skiing, Kayaking, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great ride down

I spent a few days here before the drought started, it must have been early June, there was still lots of snow to deal with to get to the lake, not a single visitor just our group. It is a very picturesque spot and the day hike to summit Leavitt peak is fun, but even better is riding the snow back down to the lake on my day pack. Woo hoo! The only downside is it can get rather windy and cold as the the wind can really pick up speed down that snow face in the picture. Almost lost a tent in our group and a few poles were bent, choose your spot carefully. Fortunately, we found the blown away tent a few hundred yards away with no damage.


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