Loch Leven Lakes


4-star hike.
8 mile out-and-back • Medium difficulty.
Elevation 5,800 - 6,900 feet. Gain 1,250 feet.
Tahoe National Forest, Northern California.
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Located directly off Interstate 80, reaching the Loch Leven Lakes trailhead is a breeze and in no time at all you'll be ascending the Sierra Nevada mountains in search of scenic high alpine lakes. No need to worry about the proximity of the freeway though, as the trail leads you quickly away.

The trail climbs steadily upward passing through patches of pine forest, negotiating large erratic boulders and scrabbling across exposed granite. Leading to a small footbridge your route continues its climb through dense evergreens and across railroad tracks before finally reaching the crest of your hike two and a half miles from and 1,250 feet higher than the trailhead. From here, thankfully, it's all downhill to the Lakes.



Each of the lakes is individually worth the trip on its own, so if you choose the closest Lower Lake as your destination, you'll find it a very rewarding 6 mile out-and-back hike. However, should you choose to press on and explore Middle and High Loch Leven Lakes, the rest of the trail is mostly level.

Situated high in the Sierra Nevadas, this trail is usually best tackled between June and November. Because of the short season, you'll find this trail particularly popular with fellow hikers, but still well worth the effort. Winter and spring season hiking is also possible on this route, but due to winter conditions can often be challenging even to experienced hikers and snowshoers.

Tangents:
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