Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Kirkwood Lake is an often-overlooked alternative to the other nearby and more developed lakes such as Caples Lake and Silver Lake. Without any real development aside from its small campground, Kirkwood Lake sees far fewer visitors, and this is the appeal of it. 

The main day use area is a small section of shore with sandy beach, picnic benches beneath tall shade trees, and a flat spot to launch kayaks or canoes from - only non-motorized boats are permitted in the lake - however there are several other jewels here for those looking to explore a little bit. 

The lake is surrounded by modest wooden cabins and a Girl Scout Camp, many that draw water from the lake and rely on solar electricity. A loop hiking trail follows a 1.2 mile path the circles the lake shore. A tree growing from the granite slopes opposite the day use beach area has a rope swing and steps to climb to leap from the tree into the lake waters. 

For those hauling boats in, there is a small dirt road with a turnaround allowing closer access to the water. However it is not an actual boat launch, just a point right beside the lake to transport the kayaks or canoes to. 

The large granite boulders and faces above the lake are popular with climbers. And a small 11 site campground is available on a first come, first serve basis. Access to the day use beach is through this campground.

There are no amenities in the day use area, which includes bathrooms or water. Overall, this is a more basic experience for those looking to escape the crowds and experience a quiet alpine lake environment.

As of 2022, a Day Use fee of $10 is payable at the self pay kiosk near the parking area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day use fee

Open Year-round



A more intimate alternative to other nearby lakes.


Limited amenities.


Big vistas
Family friendly
Picnic tables
Near lake or river


Nearby Lodging + Camping


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