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Smith Lake

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Eldorado National Forest
7887 Highway 50
Pollock Pines, CA 95726
8700 feet
Year round


Permits are required for day and overnight use. A quota on overnight permits is in effect from Memorial Weekend through September 30. Although not required, reservations for permits are recommended. Please contact the Pacific Ranger District for more information.

The Desolation Wilderness is managed according to the Wilderness Act of 1964 to "ensure an enduring resource of Wilderness for present and future generations." The wilderness character of the Desolation and its unique values of solitude, physical, and mental challenge, scientific study, inspiration and primitive recreation will be protected, and where necessary, restored.

Several dispersed campsites exist, with generally very limited camping. To preserve the wilderness condition, either camp in obviously already used sites, Please limit group sizes. Open campfires are not allowed.

Tour Companies

Brook Trout
Year round
Additional Details:

Please do not leave fish entrails in the water or bury them, as they do not decompose in high elevations. It is preferable to pack them out or scatter them in a discrete location where animals can consume them. Please bury human and dog waste and toilet paper 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.

Hiking only. Smith Lake is in Desolation Wilderness. No motorized, mechanized, or wheeled equipment are allowed in the Wilderness; such as bicycles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, or motorboats.

This lake is reached by parking at the Twin Lakes parking area near Wrights Lake and hiking the Grouse Lake Trail. This 3 mile hike is considered a difficult hike.

Basic Directions

From Kyburz on Highway 50 go 5 miles east to Wrights Lake Road. Turn left (north), and go 8 miles to the campgound.

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