Back to index Allen Camp Trail Loop Hike
Trip Date:  05/13/2015

: 7.1 Miles

Vertical Gain: 900'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Allen Camp Trail Route
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Allen Camp Trail 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:   Steep incline on the first part of the hike.  Some sections of the trail require sharp eyes to follow through the granite areas.

Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  Granite Lake is popular and the areas close to Plasse's Resort will have a number of people exploring the close by trails.
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.  From the intersection to take the loop hike head left toward Hidden Lake.  The trail will begin to head downhill for the majority of the rest of the hike, following along within trees for much of the way with a few vista points scattered randomly along the way.  In the early spring there were also a number of log crossings to pass over water, but in the late summer this water will be non-existant.  
When you reach Hidden Lake the trail travels right along the shoreline for a small ways, offering a nice chance to stop and enjoy the setting.  The trail then continues for another mile and a half toward Granite Lake, passing a couple of small unnamed lakes on the right on your way.  Granite Lake is the first large lake you reach, and the trail follows it for a little bit around the west shore and then turns back to the south and past the smaller Amy Lake.  You will then pick up a junction about 1/2 further with the Minkalo trail, which will point you back to the Allen Camp Trailhead 3 miles away (actually about 2 1/2.)  Finish the hike following along the Silver Lake shoreline, even though you will only sporatically see the lake through the trees most of the way.  When you reach the paved roadway at Plasse's Resort, follow the road through the camp and head once again toward Stockton Family Camp until you reach the parking area you started from.

A nice overlook of Silver Lake from right at the turnoff from Highway 88 onto Plasse Rd.   Starting out early on the trail
This sign is at Tragedy Spring about a mile back from the turnoff, but has details regarding the tragic history of the namesake of the Allen Camp trail. Allen information sign 
This sign at the start of the trail has some good overview information on the loop trail you will be travelling. Sign
This is the sign you will look for to find the start of the loop hike.  It immediately crosses a river and then starts a long elevation gain at the start. Start of the trail
Pretty typical look at the trail on the way up the first part of the hike, and the interesting tree that has a picture window cut out of it. Up we go Picture window
In late May and early June this meadow not even a mile into the hike will be just bursting with color from the wildflowers ready to bloom. Early meadow
Much of the first three miles of the Allen Camp trail are along a north facing ridge, so snow is a factor early in the hiking season. Snow
This is the amazing vista that awaits if you take a faint use trail from the first trail junction (Hidden Lake trail) to the west and up to the top of the small ridge. Vista
The first trail junction you will get to, heading to Hidden Lake towards the left. Hidden Lake Trail
I continued on the Allen Camp trail hoping to get to the ridgeline, but patches of snow on the flat indicated that I was going to have difficulty on the steep northern facing section of trail. Snow
Two feet of snow made the steep switchbacks up to the ridgeline impassable, but only about 300 feet from the top I still had a nice view of the Silver Lake area. As far as I got
By comparison to the Allen Camp trail, the Hidden Lake trail is pretty tame, flat and forested for most of the way. Hidden Lake trail
Hidden Lake is pleasantly situated in a small forested area. Hidden Lake
Another look at Hidden Lake more to the north end. More lake
Fortunately lots of logs were down whereever there was a water crossing necessary to keep your feet dry. Log crossings
In a non-drought year this would still be covered in snow in early May, but there was a lot of water all along the entire loop. Water
Granite Lake has a nice setting and a front row view up toward Thunder Mountain to the north. Granite Lake
This is the last trail junction where the Hidden Lake and Minkalo Trails join up just a little to the north of Granite Lake. Last trail junction
There are a couple of nice views of Silver Lake along the Minkalo Trail not to be missed. Silver Lake
One more look back at Silver Lake you near the end of the hike. One last look at Silver Lake
Once you hit the paved road back at Plasse's Resort, you will find the signs for anyone wanting to go the opposite way from the direction you came. Other way
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike