Minkalo Trail

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Trail Distance: 2.5 miles
Time Estimate: 1 hr+
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Leash Rule: On & Off Leash
Difficulty: Easy
Parking: $10
Route Type: Out-and-back
Restroom: Yes
Description

The California mountains are a thing out of a fantasy story, cutting through the sky with high ridges and deep forests to explore. They start at multiple elevations, but to get a great view, you're going to want to check out Minkalo Trail along Silver Lake, which starts out at 7,300 feet above sea level.

The trail begins in Plasse's Resort along the southern area of the lake, which offers an urban setting surrounded by rural features, with a store, bathrooms, water fountains, camping sites, and trash bins. It's also where the trailhead for Minkalo Trail begins, where its rocky terrain provides an easy to moderate place to hike and enjoy the natural views of the area. The trail cuts through the jagged granite terrain, with pretty rocks littering the path.

After a quarter of a mile, the trail forks to lead to Granite Lake, a much smaller body of water that is safe to swim in for humans and pooches. If you choose to stick to the left though, you'll continue along the main path, looking over cliffs and bluffs at the water of Silver Lake below. There are access points along the river, for people to with canoe, kayak, or sit by the river and fish. Other activities include mountain biking, sledding, and rock climbing. 

The area is known for its gorgeous wildflower display and during the summer has sights of violet lupin, bright red paintbrush, and Queen Anne’s lace, all gorgeous flowers that paint the ground in multiple colors. The trail continues through the terrain, passing by alpines and tall spruce trees until it reaches its second trailhead at the end of the path along Kit Carson Road. The second trailhead offers a dirt and crushed stone parking area on top of a rocky cliff that overlooks the blue waters of Silver Lake. 

This short, but strenuous trail is perfect for getting an enjoyable amount of exercise, with glistening views of the lake and surrounding rock formation as a reward for the hard work you put into the walk. With such gorgeous scenery to accompany you, how can you not want to come back and do it again?

Trail Features
Ice, Loose Terrain, Rocky, Steep Inclines, Beach, Forest, Lake, Diverse Landscape
Abundant Wildlife, Wildflowers, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
The trail is open in the winter and can become slippery with ice and snow. Natural wildlife like bears and wolves can come onto the trail, so look out for signs before continuing along the trail.
Address
30001 Plasse Rd.
Pioneer, CA 95666
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset
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Address
30001 Plasse Rd.
Pioneer, CA 95666
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset