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Camping: California > Tahoe National Forest > Downieville Ranger District

Quick Facts

Tamarack Lakes Trail

Beginning Elevation: 5,440 Feet (1695.8 Meters)
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,610 Feet (501.9 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 7,050 Feet (2197.6 Meters)
Length, One-way: 4.2 Miles (7.0 Kilometers)
USGS Map: Sierra City 7.5'

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Tamarack Lakes Trail is a very difficult 4.2 mile trail at an elevation of 5,400 feet. This trail winds up along the ridge flanking the Lower and Upper Sardine Lakes, it provides a spectacular view of the Sierra Buttes. The trail descends the other side of the ridge to Tamarack Lakes. This trail can be hiked as a loop by continuing down from the Tamarack Lakes to Packer Lake and from there, following the road back to Sardine Lakes Campground. Total length for the loop hike is approximately 8.5 miles. (For those starting the hike at the Sierra Buttes Trailhead, simply follow the signs to Sardine Lakes.) Due to its southerly exposure and length, we recommend starting your hike in the early morning hours. For those wanting a shorter hike, the Sardine Lake Overlook Trail is reached 1.5 miles beyond this trailhead. This trail provides not only breathtaking views, but a glimpse of the past since it dead-ends at the ore cart tracks of the Young America mine. This mine was in production between 1884 and 1893 with an average monthly "cleanup" of $20,000 to $30,000.

Directions from Sierra City: Travel east on Hwy. #49, turn left onto Gold Lake Hwy. at Bassetts Station. Continue for approximately 1.4 miles to the bridge crossing Salmon Creek and turn left. The trailhead is located approximately 0.7 miles west toward Sardine Lake on the right. There is ample parking on both sides of the road. The other end of the trail is accessed at the trailhead serving the Sierra Buttes Long Trail.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through October .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Fishing Fishing is available in Upper and Lower Tamarack Lakes.
ICON Hiking & Walking Tamarack Lakes Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Horseback riding is available on this trail.
ICON Mountain Biking Mountain biking is available on this trail.
ICON Viewing Scenery Sierra Buttes

Related Activities
Sardine Campground - Sardine Campground is located 1.5 miles northwest of Bassets at an elevation of 5,800 feet. Swimming is available at nearby Sand Pond and boats are available for rent at Sardine Lake Lodge.

Sierra Buttes Long Trail - Sierra Buttes Long Trail is at the end of a very difficult 3.5 mile hike at an elevation of 6,220. Both the trail and the lookout offer spectacular views. Mount Lassen, Mount Shasta and Mount Rose can often be seen.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Downieville Ranger District, 15924 Highway 49 , Camptonville, CA, 95922, Phone: 530-288-3231, TTY: 530-288-3656


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