Pinecrest, California

Backpack to Chain Lakes

4.4 Miles Total - 864 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Zachary Hoffman

Short, remote hike to some beautiful lakes.

This trip begins at ~7500 feet at the Box Springs Trailhead This trail is at the end of Forest Route 3N20Y. The trail, which is not regularly maintained and may at times be hard to follow, initially descends slightly to 7300', then stays mostly flat before rising just before the lakes. You will pass the beautiful lakes filled with lily pads, hiking through a trail that is almost overgrown with corn lilies (don’t eat them, they’re toxic!). Finally, on the rise to Chain Lakes, you will pass through a small canyon filled with Quaking Aspen before arriving at the lakes. You will go to sleep listening to the frogs in the lake make their signature noise.

Overall, this hike is short, with relatively little elevation gain, making it good for beginners who want a scenic hike in a very remote setting. Given how far it is from highway 108 (about 60-90 minutes down winding dirt roads), it is fairly unlikely that you will see anyone on this hike. To get to the trailhead, download a Motor Vehicle Use Map for the Mi-Wok Ranger District and study it carefully, as the roads can be confusing and there is no cell phone reception. Google Maps directions are reliable, but as there is no cell phone reception, you should print them out beforehand (or use the “offline maps” feature).

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Pinecrest, California

Pioneer Trail

Pinecrest, California

Pinecrest

Groveland, California

Dimond O

Big Meadow Cmpg

Lake Alpine Lodgepole Group

Nearby Adventures

Backpack Gem Lake Loop in Emigrant Wilderness

18 Miles Round Trip - 1100 ft gain

Backpack to Bear Lake (Emigrant Wilderness)

7 Miles Round Trip - 500 ft gain

Backpack Chewing Gum Lake

4.5 Miles Round Trip - 1000 ft gain

Tours

Win a Vacation Getaway to Santa Cruz!

Experience all Santa Cruz County has to offer this season! Enter to win a customized “Let’s Cruz” vacation getaway and choose from an array of activities to enhance your visit. 

Grand prize includes a 2-night stay at a three-bedroom condo at Pajaro Dunes Resort, a $150 “Capitola Dine & Shop Experience” gift certificate in Capitola Village, a Craftbar Experience at Annieglass Studios for four guests, four tickets to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and four tickets to Roaring Camp Railroads.

Customize your “Let’s Cruz” vacation package entry by selecting four activities below to include outdoor adventure, dining, beer and wine tasting, family fun, spa treatments, and relaxation.