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Soda Springs, California

Backpacking to the Loch Leven Lakes

Originally added by Andy Woodward

• Easy access• Not far from a fire station• Elevation gain: appx. 1300 ft• Distance: about 6 miles there and back (not including many additional day hike trails)• Beautiful camping spots at all three lakes• The trail has a few rough parts, but it's pretty well labeled and has gorgeous views all along the way

The Loch Leven Lakes trailhead is located in the Tahoe National Forest off of Highway 80 and consists mostly of towering pinetrees, beautiful rock formations, and breathtaking lakes (due to either cold or beauty, not sure..). The trailhead is easy to access and there is a bathroom, however parking space is not too great.

The start of the trail is the start of the climb (1200 ft in 1.5 mi), and unfortunately is not well marked. The trail winds through several large boulders, invloves climbing over fallen trees, and has several steep sections (at this point it's just rock and low-growing shrubs). This continues until you reach a set of railroad tracks, where the trail begins to become more well-marked and where several swithbacks are found (this is also where the big pinetrees begin to emerge).

The trail from there to the lakes is pretty much all the same: a creek-bed looking trail, sun-blocking trees, and lots of moss. After a few more miles you will reach the lower Loch Leven Lake, which isn't too big but is certainly beautiful. The lakes aren't too far apart, so the middle lake and then the upper will come sooner than expected. The lakes do increase from lower to upper, but the middle lake stole my heart. Not only is it a perfect size, but it has many awesome features including rocks for cliff jumping and amazing camp spots. Lower lake is hidden by trees and recieves little light, and the upper lake is very big, very clean, and tends to get the better sunrises and sunsets (it's higher up so you see more).

Most of our downtime (in our 3 day/2 night stay) consisted of photographing landscapes, day hikes, kayaking, slacklining, swimming, pertending to be good at fishing, short fires, and simply hanging out. We also saw several dogs on our stay, so we assumed it was a dog friendly place.

The Loch Leven Trail has so much to offer and I would recommend it to anyobne of any and all interests.

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Dog Friendly
Cliff Jumping


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