Fourwheeling the Snake Lake Trail

Off-road vehicles, challenging fourwheeling, you can enjoy both on the Plumas/Tahoe National Forrest. The forest surrounding Graeagle has some of the best California Offroad trails. Now when I say the best, that certainly depends on your view point of what is the best. If you are a recreational 4x4 offroader like we are then these are great trails. If you are a rock crawler and have to trailer your off-road vehicles where ever you go this might not be for you.

We and our off-roading buddies are most interested in a great day in the outdoors, away from the hustle bustle of everyday life. We throw in the photo opp when it arises. Lunch is always a highlight on any trip we do. If something looks interesting we stop. So yes it is about fourwheeling. But only as that allows the rest of the activities we enjoy.

Now on to the Snake Lake Trail, our jeep won’t do this trail or if it will I probably don’t want to tear it up. This trail is good for those of you with at least a four inch lift and a five or six inch would be even better. I had the pleasure of running this with a friend from our RV Park and his son. They were both running six inch lifts, and both set up with lockers. One is road legal, the other pretty much a rock crawler.

I mentioned this on one of the other pages on the site but I highly recommend that you get the Plumas and Tahoe National Forest Maps. While a lot of roads have forestry numbers on the roads there are plenty that don’t. The map will help you make decisions about where you are. There are side roads everywhere in the forest. A map can make the difference between a scenic dead end and getting where you really want to go.

To get directions to the start of the Snake Lake Trail click on the link for Spencer Lake and read the directions on that page. Our trip to Snake Lake starts at the end of those directions. Continue on the trail from Hawley Lake and go down the hill, when you come to the right hand turn ignore that and keep going straight.

The trail becomes very rocky from here on in, it is a fun trail with views of both snake lake and Little Deer lake. About a mile in you can make a right turn off the Snake Lake Trail onto the Little Deer Lake Trail. This trail gives you a nice overlook of Snake Lake. Then continue on up to Little Deer Lake. Here is a good spot to sit and enjoy that lunch or snack.

From here continue on up the trail until you come to a road on the left, here there is a sign directing you to the Snake Lake Trail. You have two options at this Y in the road. Make the turn and go to the lake coming in on the backside of the lake at a really nice backcountry camping area. Or don’t make the turn and head out to the packer lake area past Deer Lake. Not Little Deer Lake but Deer Lake.

If you made the turn, and the fourwheeling has been too vanilla up to this point, following the trail back to the lake should help to remedy that situation. The road starts out heading back to the lake as just an easy dirt trail. That will soon change as you follow the trail back down to the lake it is steep and has a couple of real tight turns. While fun it will get your attention. From the campground at the lake just follow the road back out to Hawley Lake and from there on into Johnsville. An option is to take the Gold Lake trail Gold Valley trail out. You will come out above Packer Lake on the paved road. From there it is an easy run back to camp.

Ok just one more picture. This one is important to your planning. It was taken on June 28 2009. These trails are up in the seven thousand foot and above range. These fourwheeling trails are normally not snow free until after the fourth of July.Keep this in mind, and may all your offroading be safe.

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