Tahoe National Forest

Upper Salmon Lake Trail - Sierra Buttes Area

Mileage: 2 miles, one way
Elevation: 6500 to 7110 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Use Level: Moderate
Season: June through October
Topographic Map: Gold Lake 7.5'

Access: Approximately five miles east of Sierra City on Highway 49, turn onto Gold Lake Highway at Bassetts Station. Continue on Gold Lake Highway for four miles until you reach the clearly marked Salmon Lake junction. Turn left and proceed to Upper Salmon Lake. The trailhead is on your right There is limited parking.

Trail Description: This trail, like the Deer Lake Trail, terminates at Deer Lake. However, this is a slightly shorter hike than the Deer Lake Trail. The first half mile is relatively flat as it skirts the east side of Upper Salmon Lake and passes through Salmon Lake Lodge. After crossing Horse Lake Creek the trail heads south past Horse Lake and climbs through a series of steep switchbacks. It soon reaches a saddle where it merges with the Deer Lake Trail. This point provides a panoramic view of Horse Lake and Upper Salmon Lake, with a massive glacial moraine in the background. Another two-tenths mile brings you to beautiful Deer Lake, an ideal place to picnic and fish.

Pacific Crest Trail Access: The trail also provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail at the ridge, two-tenths mile before reaching Deer Lake. The PCT access route is clearly marked.

If transportation can be arranged, hikers may wish to return to the Deer Lake Trailhead near Packer Lake. See the description for Deer Lake Trail for details. Salmon Lake Lodge has no restaurant or other facilities for hikers.

Return to Tahoe Hiking

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 23 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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