26E213 - Coyote Lake Trail

Shaver Lake, California (Fresno County)

Last Updated: 06/18/2022
5 / 5 ( 12 reviews )
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Highlight: 26E213 - Coyote Lake Trail
A high mountain lake hidden at the end of the Red Lake 4x4 Trail is, literally, only the beginning. Coyote Lake Trail is a challenging, rock crawling 4x4 trail that runs from Red Lake to Coyote Lake. Rock crawling, swimming, fishing, camping and lake side relaxation in the high mountains of the Sierra National Forest make for one of the most rewarding 1.7 miles you can run. This is one of many 4x4 trails in the Red Mountain off-road trail network in the Sierra National Forest, northeast of Shaver Lake and Southeast of Huntington Lake. Rock obstacles, dense forest, and two lakes make Coyote Lake Trail a prime destination for the seasoned wheeler looking to get off the grid.


Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
This is a rock trail. Rock sliders and under armor are recomended. The left line on the Gate Keeper and Center Rock are the most technical part of this trail.

Technical Rating

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks less than 36" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 36" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 84" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
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Community Consensus

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Coyote Lake Trail is open 06/15-11/01 each year, but this is subject to extended closures / delayed openings. Forest Service Trail Status You must first run Red Lake Trail to reach the start of Coyote Lake Trail. In comparison, Coyote Lake Trail is more difficult than Red Lake. Coyote Lake Trail starts with a serious rock obstacle Gate Keeper and does not let up for its entire 1.7 mile length. Large boulders and tight squeezes around trees are continuous through out this trail. The more substantial obstacles are included in the waypoints below, but be prepared for continuous crawling until you reach the camping area at Coyote Lake.


1. Coyote Lake Trailhead (0 mi)
From the end of Red Lake Trail, turn right / south to pass through this gate and start on Coyote Lake Trail.
2. Coyote Lake Trail Gate Keeper (0.01 mi)
Pick your line and head on up. You have a few choices here. To the right, you can go around the tree and deal with a tight turn, but fewer rocks, or you can take the line just left of the tree (probably the easiest). To the far left is the hard line. Careful tire placement and enough ground clearance should get you right up this, but this line is considered by some to be borderline extreme.
3. Meadow / Pond (0.09 mi)
Continue on. As the trail curves right, the Pond and Meadow are to your left / north.
4. The Roots (0.13 mi)
Squeeze your way through ( or over ) the rocks at the base and continue up this obstacle of tree roots.
5. The Rock Pile (0.25 mi)
Continue straight to make your way through this Rock Pile.
6. Rock Garden 1 (0.92 mi)
Keep going. The Rock Garden here is just more of what you've already been through.
7. Rock Garden 2 (0.97 mi)
Continue on. This Rock Garden is a long one.
8. Center Rock (1.23 mi)
Pick your line and continue over this obstacle. Center Rock, as the name suggests, sits in the center of the trail. Get your tires on the larger rocks on the side of the trail opposite the tree to gain some height and avoid hanging up here.
9. Lake / Camping (1.39 mi)
Continue straight or pick a spot and set up camp. This is your first peak at Coyote Lake and the first camp sites you come across. There is a vault toilet at this location.
10. More Camping (1.59 mi)
Continue straight or pick a spot and set up camp. There are multiple camp sites on both side of the trail here.
11. Best Camping (1.68 mi)
Continue straight or pick a spot and set up camp. This is the best of the numerous camp sites at Coyote Lake. This one is close to the water, has plenty of space for a big group and includes some log picnic tables.
12. End (1.7 mi)
Coyote Lake Trail ends here where you can loop around this rock to turn around. A hiking trail continues on, but this is the end of the 4x4 trail. The only way to drive out is back the way you came in. Set up camp, take a swim, do some fishing, hiking, or head back to Red Lake.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Fresno, California

From Fresno: Take 168 east toward Huntington Lake for about 12 miles. Continue onto CA-168 / Tollhouse Road for about 21 miles. Turn left to stay on CA-168 for another 28.4 miles. Turn right on 8S10 ( Watch for the Red Mountain Trailhead sign.) After 3.25 miles, turn left on 8S42. Follow 8S42 for 3.5 miles to the Red Lake trailhead at Sand Flats. Follow Red Lake Trail to its end at Red Lake and continue up Coyote Lake Trail at the north end of Red Lake.


You will find dispersed camping at both ends of this trail; Red Lake at the west end and Coyote Lake at the east end. Both camping areas include vault toilets and camp sites with metal fire rings. Forest regulations do not allow camping within 100 feet of stream banks or lake shores.
Camping: 26E213 - Coyote Lake Trail

Trail Reviews (19)

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: what would you say the recommended tire size, lockers, and armor be for this trail?
–Ian Lennox (01/09/2020)
A: Doable with less, but I’d say 35s and sliders. Bigger tires, more armor and lockers will make it more fun, but sliders are the important part.
–G. Martin (01/09/2020)
Q: Is this open in June?
–Darrin (04/23/2019)
A: It should open 6/15 pending the condition of the trail. Last year that was delayed a couple weeks because of some drainage issues. We never know for certain until it’s actually open. Bald Mountain is usually a good back up plan if you’re planning a trip early in the season.
–G. Martin (04/24/2019)
Q: Anyone know if there are currently restrictions on campfires/stoves? I have a permit, just would like to know before I haul in firewood.
–Albert (08/29/2018)
A: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sierra/alerts-notices/?aid=34784
–G. Martin (09/07/2018)

Writer Information

G. Martin

Mapping Crew - California

G. Martin, gm4x4 on Youtube , is a California native, born and raised in northern California and now living and wheeling in southern California. He enjoys exploring new trails and setting up camp in the remote outdoors. You may come across him in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the mountains of Big Bear, in the central Sierras near Shaver Lake or any other dirty, rocky road in the southwest.
For individual use only, not to be shared.