Back to index Loch Leven Lakes Hike
Trip Date:  07/18/2014

: 7.6 Miles

Vertical Gain: 400'

Group Size: 2

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Loch Leven Lakes Trail Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Loch Leven Lakes Trail Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 39 16.806  W 120 31.866     End Coordinates:   Same as starting coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 80 to the Yuba Gap exit from the freeway.  Turn right (south,) and in just over 2/10 of a mile turn right toward the campground.  1.1 miles further on, turn left onto forest road 19, which is unpaved.  A sign at this junction points to Sky Mountain Camp if you were to go straight.  You will drive along the eastern shore of Lake Valley Reservoir for a few miles, and after 4 miles turn left on road 38.  A mile and a half past this point is privately owned Huysink Lake, which you will pass, and then 1/2 a mile past this is the parking area where the road bends sharply to the right.   There are spots here for 5-6 cars on the left and 1-2 on the right.
Hazards of Note:   The first mile toward Salmon Lake is intermittently dusty and dirty. Crowd Factor:   Negligible on the Salmon Lake trail until you hit Lower Loch Leven Lake.  Then the crowd factor will be high, with many people visiting this area from the main trailhead near Big Bend (the next exit east of Yuba Gap.)
General Notes:
From the parking at the trailhead, you will find the old trailhead signed just to the northwest of the bend in the road.  Follow this trail past an unnamed lake about 1/2 a mile in on the left, and then look sharply for a sign pointing back to your car that indicates a mile to go back that way.  An obvious trail heads south, which will allow you to reach Salmon Lake within about 3/10 of a mile.  Head back and pick up the original Salmon Lake trail, and then when you reach Lower Loch Leven Lake you will turn right toward Middle Loch Leven Lake.  Most people come in from the trail on the left at this junction.
The trail loops around the south end of Middle Loch Leven Lake, and then heads upward toward High Loch Leven Lake at the end of the trail this direction.

Trailhead signs that are so old that the trees have started to grow back around them. Old TH signs
The first (unnamed) lake that you pass on your left.  It is already showing signs of eventually becoming a meadow. Unnamed lake
Salmon Lake is just about 3/10 of a mile off the main trail.  While it boasts no salmon, it is filled with minature catfish which were originally placed here by Chinese railroad workers for additional sustenance. Salmon Lake
Looking toward the south end of Salmon Lake from our catfish-feeding location. Salmon Lake south
Hiking up past the south end of Salmon Lake offers a great view far into American Canyon beyond. American Canyon
A very idyllic Lower Loch Leven Lake on this early morning. Lower Loch Leven Lake
Doug, my hiking buddy for the day photo-bombing this shot of Middle Loch Leven Lake. Middle Loch Leven
One of the many sunbathers we passed along the way. Wildlife     
One of the islands in Middle Loch Leven Lake. Middle Loch Leven
The small cove at the south end of Middle Loch Leven Lake with a glassy smooth surface. Middle cove
Just a little bit off the trail was a great view of the Middle Loch Leven Lake that wouldn't have been spotted but for following the trail of a geocache. Middle Lake
Validation that we had made it to our lunch destination. High Loch Leven
Getting one look at the lake showed that for me to grab the geocache I was after, I was going to have to get wet. Geo island
On my way to and from the island. On my way And back
One more look south at the lakes area from High Loch Leven Lake. Last look at the area
A view of our trail into the very green forest area as we headed back on Salmon Lake trail. forest path
GPX image of the hike. GPS track of hike