Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,028.00 ft (313.33 m)
Trail type
6.00 mi (9.66 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.

The Sierra Nevada Range is well known for big, glacially-carved landscapes composed primarily of granite. When traveling north in the Sierra (as many Pacific Crest Trail hikers do), the Lakes Basin area presents a final hurrah to big rock scenery as the range elevation begins its final descent toward the Cascades. Granite is not the only geologic draw of this area. Gold was discovered in current-day Plumas Eureka State Park in 1851. As the Plumas Eureka mine began to decline in the 1880s, additional gold was located to the south along Little Jamison Creek, and the Jamison mine was established. This is your trailhead to reach Rock Lake and Jamison Lake.

There is much to do around the trailhead before or after this trip. Plumas Eureka State Park offers historical museums as well as car-camping options. There is old mining equipment just lying around the connecting trails near the trailhead. When you're ready to begin, head south along the Jamison Creek Trail and heed signs directing you toward Rock Lake and Jamison Lake. There are several trail intersections that provide longer loop options. A short spur trail (signed) will lead you to Little Jamison Falls, and Grass Lake will make a nice resting spot along the way.

At only 3 miles one way, this trip is great for backpacking beginners and veterans that want to surround themselves with big views without enduring too much difficulty. The trail deposits you between Rock Lake (resting to the north) and Jamison Lake (to the south). Unofficial foot trails and light rock scrambling can give you access to most of Rock Lake and the north shore of Jamison Lake. A good camping location is on the southeast corner of Rock Lake in a stand of fir trees.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great scenery. Easy access. Historic mining features.


Limited camping near the lakes.

Trailhead Elevation

5,274.00 ft (1,607.52 m)


Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Suitable for



Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California


Clear night skies beside the lake!
This looks like a good intro to backpacking hike. What permit would I need to camp overnight by the lakeside?
We encountered lots of yellowjackets (and only a few mosquitoes) at the trail head to all the lakes visited (Smith, Rock, Jamison, Grass) Hiked in from the Graeagle Lodge Road Trailhead past Smith Lake.
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