The Lakes Basin Recreation Area lies within the Pumas National Forest near Graeagle, CA. It features about 38 miles of hiking trails that meander through the forest, looping around 20 small, glacially carved granite lakes. Lake Basin's dozen or so trails intersect and provide access to others, including the famed Pacific Crest Trail. Campgrounds and primitive campsites abound. Some of the trails are looped, others are out-and-back, and you're likely to spy eagles and hawks, squirrels and rabbits, and some larger mammals along the way.
One of the most popular day hike trails is Bear Lakes Loop, which allows hikers, horses and bicyclists. At 2 miles long, with an elevation change of about 300 feet, this trail is very do-able for most folks and their pooches. The trailhead at the end of Gold Lake Highway features a picnic table, water and a toilet, and the hike offers views of Big Bear Lake, Little Bear Lake and Cub Lake. Junctions with Silver Lake and Long Lake connectors provide route options. The descent back to the trailhead is steep and challenging.
The Frazier Falls Trail is an easy, wheelchair accessible trail of about a mile that affords a spectacular view from the top of the 178-foot falls and across the canyon toward Mills Peak. Signs describing the geologic formations you'll see, as well as resting benches, dot the trail to the overlook.
The Jamison Creek Trail is a 3.7 mile, steep hike that climbs to the Pacific Crest Trail via a series of steps that can be daunting. It can be accessed from the Lakes Basin area near the Gray Eagle Lodge trailhead. The Gray Eagle Trail is a special hike that passes through a riparian area between Gray Eagle Lake and Smith Creek, and is overhung with shady vegetation and carpeted with ferns ands wildflowers.
You and the fur-pup will find a variety of hikes here, one or more of which will surely captivate you both! Be sure to urge your water-loving doggo the chance to splash and swim in one of the many lakes and creeks!
There is abundant wildlife in the recreation area, including mountain lions, snakes and other creatures that it's best to avoid. Avoid putting hands or feet under rocks or shrubs unless you know there are no snakes there.