26E212 - Red Lake Trail
Shaver Lake, California (Fresno) Technical Rating: 5-6
Last Updated: 10-31-2017
26E213 - Coyote Lake Trail , 26E216 - Mirror Lake Trail , 8S42 to Sand Flats
Dusy-Ershim Trail, Brewer Lake Trail , 8S10 - Red Lake Road, Swamp Lake , Strawberry Lake Trail, 26E219 - Bald Mountain
Sierra National Forest / High Sierra Ranger District
26E212 - Red Lake Trail Highlights
A high mountain lake hidden at the end of this rock crawling 4x4 trail makes for a killer end-of-trail reward and an even better camping location. Rock gardens, dense forest, a few short stretches of easy trail and, of course, Red Lake, make up Red Lake Trail. This is one of many 4x4 trails in the Red Mountain OHV network in the Sierra National Forest, northeast of Shaver Lake and Southeast of Huntington Lake. Red Lake Trail is one of the "easier" trails in this area, when compared to Mirror Lake Trail and Coyote Lake Trail , but do not underestimate Red Lake. While easier, it is not "easy", and still a challenge to reach the Lake at the end.
Technical rating: (5-6) Moderate
Quite rocky or deep ruts. Rocks to 12" and frequent. Water crossings may exceed hub depth with strong currents. Shelves to 6". Mud may require checking before proceeding. Moderate grades to 20 degrees. Sidehill may approach 30 degrees. 4WD necessary and second attempts may be required with stock vehicles. Caution may be required with wider vehicles.
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Directions to Trailhead
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 trailhead at Sand Flats.
Red Lake Trail is open 06/15-11/01 each year, but this is subject to extended closures / delayed openings.
An easy start from Sand Flats quickly changes at Waypoint 3 when you reach the Gate Keeper. While you can find a line to bypass the worst of the Gate Keeper obstacles, don't; this is a good indicator of what's to come as rock garden, after rock garden, after rock garden will keep you working to complete this trail. Yes, there are easy stretches on this trail, and yes, this is the "easier" of the hard trails here, but tire placement is still critical to avoid bends, breaks or hang ups.
1: Sand Flats / Red Lake Trailhead (0.0mi)
Start here, at the east end of Sand Flats. Stay to the right at the sign boards. Sand Flats includes a few campsites, a vault toilet, and open sandy areas around the trees.
2: Tight Rocky Section (0.2mi)
Continue straight to maneuver your way over these few rocks. The rocks alone here wouldn't typically be worth a waypoint, but the tree on the opposite side of the trail might catch the roof of a leaning rig.
3: Gate Keeper (0.3mi)
Continue straight through the Gate Keeper. This obstacle is a good example of what you're to come across on this trail. If you have trouble here, you may want to turn back before you get deeper in.
7: Big Rock Option (1.2mi)
Continue straight over this optional rock obstacle, or bypass it to the side.
10: Uphill Rock Garden (1.4mi)
Continue straight. We warned you at Waypoint 6. We reminded you at Waypoint 8. Now, here's another Rock Garden. This one might be the most challenging part of the trail. This uphill rock garden is long and curves around ( or over ) some sizable boulders.
12: Another Rock Garden (1.9mi)
Continue straight. We explained this already. This trail is full of Rock Gardens. Get through this one and watch for the lake, up on your right.
13: Red Lake (2.0mi)
Continue straight or stop to swim, fish and/or camp here at the lake; Red Lake. Camping is allowed along the side of the trail opposite the water.
Scheduled open time is 06/15-11/01, but subject to extended closures / delayed openings.
High Sierra Ranger District 29688 Auberry Road Prather, CA 93651 (559) 855-5355
Camping and Lodging
You will find dispersed camping at both ends of this trail; Sand Flats and West Lake at the west end and Red Lake at the east end. Sand Flats includes a few sites with metal fire rings and bear boxes. There is a pit toilet at Sand Flats (see Waypoint 1). Red Lake includes multiple sites with fire rings and two pit toilets.