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Five Lakes

Granite Chief Wilderness

Granite Chief Wilderness Links:

July 20th, 2001

5.0 miles
1205 vertical feet
Total Time: 3:51

Rating: 7/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

Jean, Jennie, and I parked on the dirt next to the trailhead on Alpine Meadows road. The parking lot, so to speak, was already full of cars as we started our hike at noon.

The trail starts climbing immediately, heading up along a dusty trail through the forest. The trail switchbacks up before turning north. The views then open up, with Alpine Meadows to the west. The forest gives way to open sandstone. We followed a canyon with sandstone on our side and bare granite on the other.

Trees and granite

The trail then continues to climb more gently, turning west and into another forest. Along the way we encountered people every few minutes. Despite it being a Friday, the trail was quite full of people -- many of them accompanied by dogs.

Shore of one of the Five Lakes

The trail descends slightly down to the first of five lakes. The lakes are neither numbered nor named. In fact, we only visited the first of the lakes, which was good enough for us. The lake is lined by granite and some small patches of usable shoreline. We meandered past several groups of people and along granite shoreline before finding a patch of dirt to sit and enjoy lunch.

One of the Five Lakes, backed by Squaw Mountain

Lake thru the trees

A few people on the other shore jumped into the water for a soak. The water felt relatively warm to the touch, but we kept ourselves dry. As we watched the gentle waves, the wind blew quickly by; clouds formed and disappeared in the blink of an eye. We could clearly see a Squaw ski lift heading up to the top of a mountain to the northwest above the lake.



Blue dragonfly

While the Five Lakes area is a nice place to visit, there's no camping allowed within 600 feet of the lakes. After lunch we returned to the parking lot the way we came. Back at the trailhead, a couple rangers asked us some questions for a survey to determine how people were using the Tahoe National Forest. They asked us basic questions like how long we stayed in the forest, what we did, and questions about how much we liked the views, the number of people on the trails, etc. It's nice to know somebody cares; I hope they use the information wisely.

Jean standing above the lake

View on the return hike

Return to 2001 Lake Tahoe trip report.

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