Back to index Jenkinson Lake (Sly Park) Hike
Trip Date:  02/17/2015

: 9.0 Miles

Vertical Gain: 500'

Group Size: 1
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard   Strenuous
Jenkinson Lake Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Jenkinson Lake Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 43.115, W 120 34.289     End Coordinates:   Same as start coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 50 to the Sly Park Rd exit in Pollock Pines.  Turn south off the highway and head down Sly Park Road for approximately 5 miles.  Turn left at Mormon Emigrant Road and find the parking area on your left about 2/10 of a mile up at a small stone memorial for the namesake of the lake.
Hazards of Note:   Mountain bikers, asphalt trail at points, vehicles crossing the trail. Crowd Factor:   High.  This is a popular year-round camping destination close to the Sacramento Valley.  On a weekend you will see people everywhere, especially during the summer and over holiday times.
General Notes:
Start out on the hike from the parking area, dropping down onto the trail just behind the stone memorial plaque located at the parking area.  The trail will follow along just next to the road for a bit, and you will walk across the first Sly Park dam almost immediately.  The next section between the two dams you will cross parallels the road for most of the way, with a number of crossings where you will need to watch out for cars entering and exiting the group campgrounds in this area.  Cross the second dam, and then immediately turn left and begin a long 3 1/2 mile section through mostly forest that will follow along the southeast side of the lake to the inlet of Park Creek.
At the end of the lake where the trail bends to the left, make sure to check out Park Creek Falls just a few hundred yards east of where you will bend back around to follow the lake.  There is also a board walk here for a meadow, with some information about the local wildlife and ecology at a viewpoint resting area.  The trail back around the other side of the lake alternates between dirt track and on pavement, and often the pavement will be stamped with an arrow and the word "Trail" to indicate that you need to be on this section for the time being.  This combination of trail and walk along the asphalt road will get you all the way back around to your starting point for a total of 9 miles of relatively easy hiking.

Sign at the parking area that has information about the history of the lake. Parking area memorial
A couple of views across the lake early in the morning.
View across the lake View across the lake
Trailhead sign just after the first dam that you will be looking for. Trailhead sign
Information sign over the second dam regarding the chain link fence stretched across the dam. Sign over the second dam
This is such a well-maintained trail that even the falling trees know just how to stack themselves.
Neatly stacked trees
Although this is a multi-use trail there are signs all along the way for separate hiking, biking, and equestrian sections of the route. Signs
A look at Park Creek, the main source of the lake. Park Creek
Park Creek falls, as they come out of an irrigation tunnel near the top of the picture. Park Creek Falls
Boardwalk and rest spot near the very end of the lake. Meadow protection
A quiet section of the lake and the old chimney area near a popular picnic spot. Quiet area
Some of the trail on the backside of the lake is along the road, but these sections are conveniently marked by these indicators along the way. Hard trail
On the back side of the lake there are some nice, quiet fishing spots along the way. More lake
There are usually helpful signs around just when you aren't sure which way the trail heads next. More signs
One last look at the lake across toward the second dam from the north side of the loop trail. Larger lake view
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike