Tahoe National Forest
Mileage: 8 1/8 miles one way
Elevation: 6160 to 6400 feet
Difficulty: More Difficult
Use Level: Medium
Topographic Map: Cisco Grove, English Mtn.
Access: There are several points of access to the Grouse Lakes trails. The Eagle Lakes trailhead is reached from Interstate 80 at the Eagle Lakes exit. Proceed north past the Indian Springs Campground. It you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you may drive to Eagle Lakes, but two-wheel-drive vehicles should be parked at the point where the rough road begins.
Trailheads at Carr Lake, Lindsey Lakes, and the Grouse Ridge Lookout may be reached by driving north on the Bowman Lake Road, which is four miles west of Interstate 80 off State Highway 20. To reach Grouse Ridge Lookout, drive six miles on the Bowman Lake Road and turn east on the Grouse Ridge Road. The trailhead is five and three-tenths miles east near the Grouse Ridge Campground. To reach Carr or Lindsey Lakes, travel eight and four-tenths miles on the Bowman Lake Road and turn east. After traveling two miles the road forks. The right fork leads to Carr Lake (seven-tenths mile) and the left fork leads to Lindsey Lake (two miles).
The Sawmill Lake Trailhead, on the north end of Grouse Ridge Trail, is best reached by taking Bowman Lake Road from Highway 20 to the Graniteville Road, County Road 843, and bearing right. You will be following the road along Bowman Lake. After traveling three and three-tenths miles, turn right on Faucherie Lake Road and go one and three-tenths mile to the trailhead. This road is not recommended for low clearance vehicles.
Trail Description: This trail extends north from Eagle Lakes to Sawmill Lake, providing a north/south route through the Grouse Lakes area. At the north end the trail crosses the spillway of the dam at Sawmill Lake, which may be impassable due to high water in Canyon Creek (spring and early summer).
Traveling north from Eagle Lakes, a footbridge takes you across Fordyce Creek, a rather large stream. Fishing is often good when flows are not too high. From Fordyce Creek you climb through scattered timber, brush, and rocky knolls to the junctions with the Spaulding Lake Trail and the Beyers Lakes Trail. About four and eight-tenths miles from Eagle Lakes, you come to the Grouse Ridge Road just south of the campground, a gain of 2000 feet from the trailhead. From the campground the trail continues north. Views of the entire area are excellent. Descending from the campground, you can see Downey and Sanford Lakes. To the east. Milk Lake lies just off the trail to the west. Fishing is good in all three of these lakes. A little over 2 miles of hiking through timber brings you to shallow Middle Lake (sometimes so shallow it's a meadow). Continuing north, you emerge from the timber at Shotgun Lake, no longer a lake, but now a grassy pond or wet meadow. The trail descends along a timbered slope to Sawmill Lake and the South Fork of Canyon Creek.
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Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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