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Swimming & Waterplay: California

Quick Facts

Crags Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 5,900 Feet (1839.2 Meters) Crags Lake Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 800 Feet (249.4 Meters)
Length, Round Trip: 4 Miles (6.67 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: Late Summer
Usage: Heavy in Summer
USGS Map: Manzanita Lake 7.5 Minute Series
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail begins from the Manzanita Lake area and leads two miles eastward to Crags Lake. The route takes hikers through a forested area to an excellent vantage point of the Chaos Crags and Jumbles. The 800 foot elevation gain makes this trail a moderate half day hike.

Begin your hike from the trailhead on the Manzanita Lake Campground road. During the first 15 minutes of the route you remain close to Manzanita Creek and climb 180 feet. Beyond this the route leaves the creek turning northward and remaining level for the next .33 miles. During this time the tail passes three small springs. After passing the third stream the tread turns eastward and resumes the ascent. Hikers will gain 80 feet from the last spring before crossing a small stream.

The trail gains 40 feet and crosses the stream again. After the second crossing the trail parallels the stream for a short distance before making a sharp turn southward. Here the trail begins to ascend a series of switchbacks. At the top of these switchbacks the trail emerges from the stunted forest to an overlook of Crags Lake.

The last few minutes of hiking to the lake is on the descent. The lake lies in a depression beneath Chaos Crags. The lake is fed by melting snow and is usually evaporated by fall.

Directions from Northwest Entrance: Travel southeast past the Loomis Museum and ranger station to the Manzanita Lake Campground entrance. Turn right into the campground and follow the campground road a short distance to the Crags Lake Trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through September (NOTE: Snow may cover the trail in the Early Summer and Fall.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Geology Crags Lake Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Crags Lake Trail
ICON Plant Identification Crags Lake Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Crags Lake Trail
ICON Trailhead Parking Crags Lake Trail - Manzanita Lake Campground Road
ICON Viewing Scenery Crags Lake Trail
ICON Swimming & Waterplay Crags Lake Trail - Crags Lake

Related Activities
Manzanita Lake Campground - This site is located in the northwest region of the park and provides access to swimming, hiking, fishing, boating and picnicking.

More Information

Visitor Information:

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543


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