July 2018 update: The weather was variable, warm, cold and windy, and rained most of one day. Check for weather forecasts and go there prepared for unexpected changes that are common in this area. On this trip there were no pesky flies at any of the many lakes we visited as were noted below. Mosquitoes were there but not a high number. There were no more of the biting orange beetles mentioned in the article either, thank goodness. The trail to Milk Lake is more adequately marked than on our last trip, and for my 9 year old grandson's first backpacking trip, we camped there. Expect to see some kids as I do on every hike there, making a great family destination.Distance: can be as little as one mile and can go for many miles over many days.
The forestry link is here.
The forestry link is here.
Difficulty: Easy to difficult, according to your choice. I would be comfortable taking an outdoorsy child who can hike at least 1/2 mile in and then out. They would enjoy the lakes. It really is not too steep for any length of time. There were some tree falls to climb over or go around, and strollers are out of the question. We always meet people with kids here and it is an excellent place for backpacking with youngsters.
Weather: For forecasts click here.
Driving Directions: Get onto Highway 20 West from Highway 80 west of Donner. Turn right onto Bowman Lake Road, cross the South Fork Yuba River and keep going until you see the sign for Grouse Ridge. Turn right on the forest road NF-17 which turns to a dirt and gravel road immediately. When there are offshoots, just follow the road to the right. It gets quite tricky just before you reach the parking. There is a parking circle carved out on your right just before the original shaded parking area at the trailheads that will just extend your hike a little bit. I drove my car successfully in. The top parking is nice and shady.
Note: There are fees to pay at the trail head for using the backpackers campground facilities, but not if you backpack beyond it and camp near other lakes. There are a countless number of sites throughout the area, but no restrooms beyond Carr-Feeley. Fire permits are required, although there are currently fire restrictions, so check the Tahoe National Forest link provided at the end of this article before your trip. Get your permit here: Fire permits
|The local views of the lakes were satisfying at the end of our active days.|
FIRE RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT for Tahoe National Forest. Get your permit here: Fire permits to use backpacker stoves and check any new restrictions.
Carr Feeley Trailhead and Backpackers Camp will give you more information about the area and another map of trails northwest of the Grouse Ridge. From there you use the Twin Lakes Trail or Round Lake Trail.
Crooked Lakes Trail Survivor Night describes an unexpected storm, hiking hazards and solutions. A true account with a happy ending.