Spaulding Lake Trail

#22 of 220 trails in Tahoe National Forest

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Spaulding Lake Trail is a 3.6 mile out and back trail located near Nevada City, California that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.

The beginning of the trail follows an old washed out roadbed for a quarter mile before climbing a series of switchbacks. The trail is mostly under deep tree cover along rocky ground. There is a significant climb of approximately 700 feet to the edge of lake Spaulding. In the spring there are substantial wet areas and small streams to ford.

About 3 miles in you will need to cross under a large pipeline (penstock). Follow the pipline up the hill approximately 150 feet before continuing on eastward to the lake overlook. Alternately, follow the pipe line south to a small foot bridge that takes you to the overlook near PG& E's small hydeo-electric power plant. Return by the same route.

Take highway 20 NE of Nevada City, Ca for about 20 miles. Turn left onto Bowman Lake Rd. Continue up the narrow paved road past the PG&E cabins until you come to a small concrete bridge across a deep narrow ravine which is the Yuba River. Or take highway 80 from Truckee or Auburn and exit on Highway 20 westbound to Bowman lake Road. Bowman lake Rd. is approximately 5 miles west of highway 80 between Auburn and Truckee.

gravel area just west of bridge. Pit toilets on Bowman Rd. approximately 1/2 mile south (between highway 20 and trail head). Trail head is not marked but parallels the river to the north.

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3 Completed 3 Reviews

Ever wish you can get the solitude of a 20 mile trek in without the mileage? Well that's what this trail offers. Bar none, my favorite local backpacking destination. We've camped here on Memorial Day weekend and still only ran into maybe 3 other backpackers. It is super easy to hike into, only 3.6 miles with a gain of only 600 feet. And the lake is gorgeous with perfect temperatures for swimming, plenty of great fishing and even a freshwater spring to refill canteens. Bring mosquito repellant though because the little buggers are in full force in late summer!

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55 Completed 34 Reviews

A nice walk along the lake into the Grouse Ridge area, the trail doesn't really go anywhere in particular. You can take it up to Split and Fordyce Falls or continue on to the network of trails further on. In either case it's a good idea to bring a topo map, the trail was fairly hard to follow last time we did it in November. The only real destination you can do in a day is the falls, and in that case make sure to leave early, I'll get a picture if I ever make it there.

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