Back to index Loon Lake to Spider Lake Hike
Trip Date:  05/12/2012

: 12.4 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1300'

Group Size: 1
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate  Hard   Strenuous
Loon to Spider Lake Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Loon to Spider Lake Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 58.565   W 120 19.503     End Coordinates:   Same as Starting Coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take the Ice House Road from Highway 50 and follow it for about 25 miles north to the Loon Lake campground area.  If the gate is closed you will have to park at that junction, otherwise you can cut a couple of miles off the trip by parking in the campground area.
Hazards of Note:   A few sections of the trail near the east end of the lake which are hard to discern.  
Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  You will encounter less and less people as you get further to the east end of Loon Lake.  During the summer you can see jeepers along the Rubicon Jeep trail parked and camped at Spider Lake.
General Notes:
Loon Lake is a very scenic location for hiking, and is actually what used to be two lakes (along with Pleasant Lake) which have been combined into one for water storage purposes.  The north side of the lake sees a lot of traffic from jeepers who access the start of the famous Rubicon Jeep Trail from this location, but the south side, once you get past the campground areas can be relatively isolated.  
At the far east end of the lake, you may encounter hikers coming out from Desolation Wilderness at the far north end of the area, or even a few kayakers who may have paddled about a mile from the second Loon Lake dam to reach this end of the lake.  There are some pretty nice viewpoints at the top of some of the unnamed knolls at this end of the lake, and Guide Peak to your north serves as an orientation feature no matter where you are along this trek.
Parts of the hike are forested for a bit, but much of the hike ends up being pretty close to the southern shore, and then you reach an old gravel road at the east end of the lake that takes you up to a small pass to bend south and head toward the Desolation Wilderness boundary, Spider Lake, Buck Island Lake, Rubicon Lake, and many others within Rockbound Valley.

A look at Tell's Peak a little south of Loon Lake. Tells Peak across Loon Lake
Guide Peak just to the northeast of Loon Lake.
Guide Peak
Looking west across the Pleasant Lake portion of Loon Lake. Looking west across lake
The view all the way across the lake toward the first dam. Looking toward the dam
Hidden Lake above Loon Lake in the early spring.
Hidden Lake
Looking across the terrain from Hidden Lake toward Brown Mountain. Looking across from Hidden Lake
Loon Lake from high above.
Loon Lake from above    
Snow-covered Desolation Wilderness to the south. Desolation Wilderness to the south
Looking at Guide Peak from the top of a hill above Spider Lake. Guide Peak
Memorial plaque left near the top of the hill above Spider Lake. Memorial Plaque left anonymously
GPX track of the hike. GPX track of the hike