Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Trail

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Trail Distance: 8 miles
Time Estimate: 4 hr
Elevation Gain: 825 feet
Leash Rule: On & Off Leash
Difficulty: Moderate
Parking: Free
Route Type: Out-and-back
Restroom: Limited
Description

The eight-mile Caples Lake to Emigrant Lake Trail hike is one of the more gorgeous paths to wander in the Carson Pass Emigrant Trail area. Your pooch is welcome off leash if they are under strict control and have excellent recall. Bring a leash for your pooch just in case, and you should also bring doggy cleanup bags and extra water for you both. 

You and Fido will start out at the western end of Caples Lake right off Highway 88 at the dam. You can camp at Caples Lake if you want to stay the night or the weekend, but you will need a pass from the ranger’s station or visitor’s center.

For the first two miles of the trip, you and your little buddy will be following the shoreline of Caples Lake, which is a pawesome sight at any time of the year, but during the spring and early summer, you will be bombarded by brilliant blues, yellows, reds, purples, and oranges from the different varieties of wildflowers around the lake. Speaking of the lake, it is crystal clear, and you can see the reflection of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Great photo op here. 

Most of the trail is natural with dirt and patches of grass, but you will be climbing over some small rocks and around larger boulders to stay on the upward path toward Emigrant Lake. Yes, the trail starts to ascend after two and a half miles, and you will need to cross over Emigrant Creek several times to continue on the trail. In the creek, you are going to be able to spot some of the beautiful brook trout the area is famous for. There are also plenty of colorful wildflowers here just like all the other areas of this hike. 

There's several side trails where you can get some amazing views of stunning waterfalls. When you reach Emigrant Lake, you will be at 8,600 feet altitude, and this glassy blue lake is almost better than Caples Lake. There are plenty of varieties of fish here, including the brook trout. Camping is allowed, but not within 300 feet of the lake, and you have to get a pass from the ranger’s station or visitor’s lodge. Also, no campfires are allowed here. This is a spectacular hike that is super dog fur-iendly which you and your pup are certain to enjoy!

Trail Features
Grassland, Mountains, Steep Inclines, Rocky, Lake
Scenic, Waterfall, Wildflowers, Abundant Wildlife
Cautions & Considerations
The weather here is difficult to predict. It can be in the 90s during the day, and 35 degrees at night, so be prepared.
Address
1111 CA-88
Kirkwood, CA 95646
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours
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Address
1111 CA-88
Kirkwood, CA 95646
Hours
Mon Open 24 Hours
Tue Open 24 Hours
Wed Open 24 Hours
Thu Open 24 Hours
Fri Open 24 Hours
Sat Open 24 Hours
Sun Open 24 Hours