Not only does Balsam Forebay provide the same feel and atmosphere of its bigger neighbor (Shaver Lake), it boasts numerous secluded picnic areas without the crowds. It also hosts numerous boulders throughout the hillside great for a day trip from the Central Valley

Access to the forebay starts at the trail head from the parking lot 6,700 ft up, also from the parking lot there is access to two different sets of boulder patches separate from the ones encountered along the hike in. 

Hike

Start the 1 mile out and back hike from the parking lot following the trail Northwest. The trail itself is well maintained and easily visible, follow the trail for about a 1/2 mile until you encounter the lake and picnic sites. 

Bouldering

There are 3 separate boulder patches within 1/2 mile of the parking lot. The first is encountered on the hike into the Balsam Forebay. Aside from that another can be reached by following the 168 highway north out of the balsam parking lot for about 80 ft until the dirt pullout to the left is visible. Follow the trail/dirt road up and the boulders are on the right hand side about 1/4 mile in. And the last set is located along the Ely Mtn Rd behind the balsam bathrooms, follow the road 1/2 mile boulders are on both sides of the hillside. Although a lot of problems are not documented or have even been climbed the potential for the area is there. Get out and go climb! 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks 
  • Comfortable shoes, hiking boots aren't necessary but helpful  
  • Hammock (Optional)
  • Crash pad (if climbing)
  • Climbing shoes (if climbing)
Show More
RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 100 Feet
Activities Chillin, Fishing, Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Lake
Picnic Area

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Zero Effort To Little Oasis Of Relaxation

Didn’t know about this little forebay. It’s only 15 minutes each way on the trail and flat mostly. Great little walking path.


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

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Enjoy Scenic Swanson Campground

14 Saves

Camp at Bretz Mill Campground

24 Saves

Hike to George Lake

136 Saves