Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
280.00 ft (85.34 m)
Trail type
4.20 mi (6.76 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.

Signed alternately as the Lake Alpine Loop and the Lakeside Trail throughout the area's signage and markers, the 4.2 mile loop around Lake Alpine gives hikers a chance to access some quieter areas, as well as scenic streams and backcountry forest terrain that most visitors to the popular lake never venture to.

While the loop can be started from any of the various parking or day use areas around the lake, a reasonable spot to start is the Chickaree Picnic Area, which provides ample parking spaces, pit toilets and picnic benches. Heading in a counterclockwise direction allows you to complete the portion of the traill along Highway 4 early and save the more quiet and scenic backcountry portion for last.

The trail along Highway 4 between campgrounds on the eastern and western ends of Lake Alpine is paved and easy, and accesses lakeside boulders and swimming areas, a kayak and boat rental facility that is open to the public, and several different pit toilets and trash receptacles.

For those looking to escape the crowds and see a different side of the lake, the trail continues just to the right and a short bit uphill from the private ranch property that blocks off public access on the lake's western side. The sign here calls it the Lakeshore Trail and points the way to a dirt single track that winds around the property and into the National Forest boundary. Soon reach a cluster of forks, the trail continues in an eastward direction, tracing through quiet backcountry and along Silver Creek. 

Beginning here on the lake's far side, hikers can leave the trail and throw out a blanket at any of the boulders beside the lake for a private spot away from the crowds across the water. The path meanders through the forest, making a popular trail for mountain bikers, before ultimately reconnecting to roads at a couple campgrounds on the lake's eastern side. Sticking to the lake side of the campgrounds leads back to the paved trail that will return you to the Chickaree Picnic Area parking lot.

Those looking for a more challenging route can add in the spur to Inspiration Point, which adds an additional 1.8 miles and 600' of climbing to this route, but leads to a rocky butte overlooking Lake Alpine.

Pit toilets and trash cans are available at several parking areas and points along the northern edge of the trail.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round


Open from

April 01 to November 30


Leads to quieter lakeside areas. Very scenic once you get away from the more popular areas.


Can get crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

7,265.00 ft (2,214.37 m)

Highest point

7,420.00 ft (2,261.62 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Horseback riding
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required




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