A Day at the Lakes Basin Recreation Area

A Lakes Basin Recreation area visit is the ultimate in great views, dozens of lakes, swimming, fishing, and hiking. On a family summer vacation in Graeagle it is just seven miles up to this beautiful basin. The goal is to build a day trip that will take you to several highlights in the lakes basin.

Off we go. We will start by heading out to Frazier Falls. Go south of Graeagle to Gold Lakes Highway and head up toward gold lake. Frazier Falls is our first destination. About 1.5 miles up turn left on the road to Frazier Falls.

At the intersection there is a geocash hide. "GC1B5JP" If you geo cache click the GC links on this page and download the details for each cache. Four miles up this road is a paved parking area at the trail head. The trail is a quarter mile paved wheelchair access trail out to the overlook of the falls. The falls have the most water in spring and early summer. They are well worth a visit. "GCQRJW"

Next we head to Gold Lake. The road from the falls parking turns to dirt. As long as the snow is gone it is passable, and will save several miles of back tracking. At Gold Lake there is a nice day use area that gives you a view of the lake. "GC1E0M8" Gold Lake has good fishing for most of the summer; it can also be a really nice location for lunch.

Our next stop on today’s trip is Mills Peak Fire Lookout. The lookout is normally manned, so you can go up and visit with the fire lookout on duty that day. It is really interesting to visit and they will normally answer your questions about their job. The views from here are amazing. To get here as you leave the Gold Lake day use, watch for the road sign to Mills Peak and take the first road to the left. It is three miles of gravel and dirt roads out to the Fire Lookout.

Watch for the Red Fir Interpretive trail on your way up to the Fire Lookout. This is a nice walk. Normally this is a good road that all cars with some clearance can drive. I probally wouldn't take a Cadilac on this one though. "GCE8A "

When you are through at the Fire lookout head back out to the Gold Lakes Highway. A left turn will send you on to our last stop. The Sand Pond Boardwalk. "GC15MFK" It is several miles to the turn off to Sardine Lake, take this road up to Sand Pond parking area. From here you can go Swimming in Sand Pond, walk the boardwalk which is an interpretive loop trail through the woods and the marsh.

While you are here be sure to walk on up the road to Lower Sardine Lake. It is really a great view and the fishing is not bad either. The lake sits at the base of the Sierra Buttes. Look right up to the top and you can see the fire lookout at the top. The fire lookout will be another day trip.

When you are done here head on back toward Graeagle. There are many other very enjoyable things to see and do up here in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. We will pick some more highlights for our next trip up here.

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