Hike the Sierra Buttes and Sardine Lakes

Sardine Lakes

Easy day trip to one of the most scenic spots in the Sierras. Easy access to fishing, swimming and hiking. Boat rentals available.

The Sierra Buttes are one of the most scenic mountain features in all of the Sierra Nevadas. Nestled below the buttes are Upper and Lower Sardine lakes which both offer amazing fishing. Sardine Lake Resort lies at the base of the mountains and offers boat rentals, dining and cabin rentals. Just make sure to make reservations well in advance as it is typically booked. Lower Sardine Lake frowns upon swimming in order not to disrupt the fishermen but right below the lake's dam is a popular swimming hole called Sand Pond.

In order to get to the lakes, take CA Highway 49 to Bassets then turn onto Gold Lake Highway. The turn off towards Sardine Lakes is only 2.5 miles down the Highway.

Lower Sardine Lake is a renowned fishing lake and is usually populated by fishermen who arrive early in the morning to get out on the water. Upper Sardine Lake lies just above Lower Sardine but in order to get there you must either drive or hike a single lane dirt road along the hillside. The road is a little over 1/2 a mile long but I recommended walking it as it is a rough ride, even in an off road capable vehicle. Upper Sardine is often overlooked because of the easy access of the lower lake but it is just as beautiful with the buttes jutting out of the lake at the far end. It lies just below Lower Sardine Lakes old dam and offers easy walking paths around the lake with countless picnic tables.

There is camping available - be sure to check in advance about availability here. Winter access to the area is difficult as the road is closed and unplowed allowing only those with a snowmobile access.

Pack List

  • Fishing Pole
  • Backpack
  • Water
  • Lunch
  • Swimsuit
  • Camera
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Activities Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Adult Beverages
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Lake
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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Overall rating: 

she's a bute

amazing breath taking views and a healthy hike

Great Lake Swimming

Don't leave without going to upper lake!

Take your breath away!

The Sardine Lakes Overlook Trail starts at the Tamarack Connector Trail across from the national forest campsite. It provides stunning views of the Sierra Buttes and the lower and upper Sardine Lakes. Make sure to pack your camera and plenty of water as most of the trail is exposed to direct sunlight.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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