Hike the Grouse, Hemlock, and Smith Lake Trail

Wrights Lake Parking Area, Kyburz, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Stand Up Paddle, Survival, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Kayaking, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

Forest
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Stunning scenery. Several lakes. Mountains. Wildlife viewing~6 mile hike with 1750' elevation gain. Day or overnight permit required.

Starting from the Wright's Lake parking area, walk past the service gate to find the loop trail. Follow the loop trail to the signed trail for Twin, Grouse, Island, and Hemlock Lakes heading toward the right. You will begin an approximate 150 foot ascend before coming to a saddle. Another 150 foot ascent to emerge at a trail of rock slabs, which is often harder to follow. As you ascend another 170 feet, keep the Grouse Lakes outlet creek on your left. Within a mile you will reach the Desolation Wilderness boundary. Shortly after, there will be a trail post marked Grouse Lake to the right and Twin Lake to the left. The Grouse trail starts right over rock slabs forcing you to keep an eye out for rock ducks marking the way. After ascending a gully the trail runs flat for a while, then climbs steep , ending at the Grouse Lake outlet creek. At this point you will need to cross the creek to find the trail on the other side and then continue climbing. You will have gained another 650 feet to reach Grouse Lake.

The trail continues along Grouse's northern shore and then veers left, uphill another 250 feet, reaching smaller Hemlock Lake. From Hemlock, the trail follows a south eastern direction another half mile to Smith Lake. The trail going towards Smith Lake is difficult to follow in certain sections, so you must choose your trail carefully. Heading out of Smith Lake, the trail is visible and very easy to follow, looping you right back to Wrights lake.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Layered clothing
  • Fishing pole
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Trekking poles
  • Snowshoes (depending on weather)
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One of my favorites hiking up into the granite in desolation wilderness. Right up from Wrights Lake.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Xavier Salgado

It's not about seeing the obvious. It's about seeing the unseen!

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