Back to index Black Rock and Long Lakes Hike
Trip Date:  09/27/2017

: 17 Miles

Vertical Gain: 3200'

Group Size: 1
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
Black Rock & Long Lakes Hike Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Black Rock & Long Lakes Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 38.105, W 120 07.609     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to the south end of Silver Lake, and turn east onto Plasse Rd at a big sweeping bend in the highway.  Follow this road about a mile, and then turn right toward Plasse's Resort.  You will pass the resort on the right, and then follow the signs to the "Stockton Family Camp" all the way to the trailhead parking for Allen Camp at the listed coordinates.
Hazards of Note:   Be aware of very changeable weather in this area during any season.  Prepare for various temperatures and rain.  The first couple miles to Allen Camp present the biggest elevation gain for the entire trip.

Crowd Factor:   Negligible.  The Allen Camp Trail is lightly used and after you reach the top of Squaw Ridge the Munsen Meadow Trail is especially quiet.  The highest probability for other people will be a possible jeep or ATV group on the Pardoe 4WD trail which you cross on the ridgeline itself.
General Notes:
From the parking area head toward the sign which has a listing of some backcountry information as well as a rough map of the trails in the area and distances.  Head past that sign to the south and find the trailhead sign for the Allen Camp trail.  Follow this trail as it climbs a significant amount of elevation, about 500 feet in the first mile.  At the 1 1/2 mile spot along the trail there is a trail junction, with the path to Hidden Lake to the left and the continuation of the Allen Camp trail up a steep series of switchbacks ahead.  If you follow a faint use trail to the west and up for about 3/10 of a mile, you will be rewarded with a great overlook of Silver Lake with Thunder Mountain behind it and the Crystal Range mountains in the distance to the Northeast.  Continue past the signed intersection which points to Hidden Lake to the left, heading straight up the switchbacks until you reach the top of this first ridgeline.  
Follow the trail down into Allen Camp, where you will join with a 4WD road and head to the south past a dilapidated log building which appears to be ready to tumble down at any time.  Follow this road for about a mile as it winds around up to the top of Squaw Ridge, or if you spot a faint trail to the right, marked by a small pile of rocks (cairn) you can take this Allen Camp Trail continuation straight up to the same place at the top of the ridge.  
At this spot on the ridgeline is the historical location of Plasse's Trading Post, which he manned for a couple of years in the 1800s to help resupply the settlers coming into California.  Pick up the Munsen Meadow Trail on the south side of the ridge from here, and stay to the left where the Pardoe 4WD trail heads off to the right and follow this trail for 2 miles to the junction for Black Rock Lake on your left.  Although the junction is signed, the trail is difficult to follow, with rock cairns and tree blazes the only remnants of a once better-marked trail.  It is about a mile to the lake.  
Once you return to the Munsen Meadow trail turn left (south,) and follow the trail another mile and a half to the junction for Long Lake to the left.  1/4 of a mile along this trail you will reach Long Lake, and a couple of smaller lakes just before it.

Not sure what the cutout in this tree is for, along with another one on the left side which provides access into the center of the trunk. Odd tree
Looking up toward Porthole Gap from a meadow early on in the trip. Porthole Gap area
Views on the way up overlooking Silver Lake and Desolation Wilderness in the distance.  Hidden Lake is just visible in the bottom right. Overlook at Silver Lake
Near the top of the first ridge up to Allen Camp the trail has four or five long switchbacks which appear to have been created as an alternative to evidence of an older, highly eroded abandoned trail which just heads straight up the steep incline. Rocky trail
This poor old building has been looking more and more likely to tumble every year, and this season a new fence has been erected around it along with a sign to keep out which has some challenged spelling on it. Dilapidated Allen Camp building Failed
The signpost for Plasse's Trading Post has been pulled completely out of the ground, but at least it is still in good shape and informative regarding the history of the spot. Plasse Marker
At the top of Squaw Ridge near the trading post site you have the first really fantastic view of Mokelumne Peak to the south. Mokelumne Peak
The entrance into Mokelumne Wilderness at the start of the Munson Meadow Trail. Entering the Wilderness
Though it was late in the season there are many meadows along this trail which should be teeming with wildflowers in the peak summer months. Meadow along the trail
This is the new junction marker for the Black Rock Lake trail.  It is about the only well-marked part of this old trail. Junction
You will have to keep a sharp eye out for rock cairns and tree blazes to have a reasonable chance of following the trail to Black Rock Lake.  GPS is highly recommended! Cairns
First glimpse at the serene Black Rock Lake.  It was lovely but a little stagnant this late in the season. Black Rock Lake
On the west end of the lake is an old dam used to raise the level of the lake some time in the past. Lake addition
Along the trail across the canyon from Black Rock Lake back to the Munsen Meadow trail. Heading back
Views south along the Munsen Meadow trail offer nice views of the ridgeline paralleling Highway 4 across the Wilderness. Views south
The next junction sign to look for, heading to Long Lake 1/4 mile away. Another Junction
A nice setting along the way just before the main lake. Before the lake
Looking north across Long Lake, a very picturesque body of water on a perfect day. Long Lake
Yours truly enjoying a lunch break at the lake. Yours truly
Highland and Silver Peaks were visible far in the distance along the way back up from Long Lake. Highland and Silver peaks
Significant work has been done to the Mud Lake 4WD trail since last season.  The road is now in fantastic shape due to the efforts of those involved. 4WD improvements 4WD improvements
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike