Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
35.00 ft (10.67 m)
Trail type
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
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 Loop is an easy single track trail that circles the forested banks of Kirkwood Lake.

The 1.2 mile loop tends to follow an easy-to-follow marked path on dirt single track as it passes by numerous private cabins and a Girl Scout camp. There are a couple points where granite outcroppings edge the lake, and it may be hard to follow the exact course, but as long as you maintain your direction it's not hard to find the path again when the dirt resumes.

While Kirkwood Lake is small, and the Day Use Area is mostly situated in a single corner, circling the lake gives one the chance to really take in the lake's location amongst the dramatic mountainous landscape in this area of the Northern Sierra. Many of the cabins themselves are images of a modest wooden structures of a past architectural era, some with outhouses and others that draw their drinking water from the lake itself.

The simplest starting point is from the trail sign right next to the dirt boat launch turnaround before the day use parking area. Those looking for a quick swim can keep their eyes open for a rope swing and climbing steps nailed into a tree to jump from along the lake's edge on the north side.

There is no drinking water and no bathrooms inside the day use area. However all amenities and groceries are located at Kirkwood Mountain Ski Resort and a couple other smaller establishments just up the highway.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day Use

Open Year-round



Beautiful way to view the lake.


Feels like you're walking between cabins at several points.

Trailhead Elevation

7,660.00 ft (2,334.77 m)

Highest point

7,685.00 ft (2,342.39 m)


Near lake or river
Big vistas
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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