Destination: Loch Leven Lakes
Mileage: 7.7 miles round trip
Trailhead: Big Bend Trailhead off Hwy 80
Elevation: 5,676 to 6,920 feet
It’s March here in California, but based on the weather you wouldn’t know it. Why not see the silver lining in our sad-snowpack and go for a hike that’s normally buried under snow?! One challenge was finding a trailhead with easy access, as backroad conditions were questionable. Big Bend Trailhead is an hour east of Sacramento and less than a mile off Highway 80. Based on how many cars were in the parking lot, it seems we weren’t the only ones with the idea to enjoy some early Sierra granite.
The hike starts by climbing away from the trailhead and the white noise of Highway 80. Up over granite slabs, up past railroad tracks, up through the forest, and finally up to the first lake. Don’t worry though, the climb is manageable and gradual. The first lake has granite lining the far side and there’s even more surrounding the next two lakes that are just up the trail. For lunch we chose a nice lookout point with sweeping views to the southeast near the junction to High Loch Leven Lake. Compass and I had dinner plans back in Sacramento, so we made a quick jaunt up to the last lake to snap a few photos and then retraced our steps back down to the car. Next time we’ll have to leave enough time for a quick swim!
This is a good hike for early season, but if you visit in the summer, be prepared to share the trail with lots of other Sacramentans in search of Sierra sun.
A special thanks to Compass for providing the photos and late-night photo editing to make the post deadline!