Island Lake - Grouse Ridge - Donner Summit
Carr Lake Trail - Tahoe National Forest
Elevation approx. 6,800
My son and I went on a great backpacking trip with some family friends of ours. 3 adults and 3 kids setting out for a 3 days/2 nights in the Grouse Ridge area of TNF. There are so many lakes in this area and great trails with dispersed camping all around. So much to explore that I am sure we will have to come back several times to get more familiar with it. The family we are traveling with have been coming here for many years, so they knew it very well. Island Lake is one of the favorite areas, so that's where we are all headed.
From the parking lot, the hike in is only about 2 miles. The hardest part was just a couple of water crossings. Other than that, it was very easy. The kids had a pretty easy time with the distance and elevation.
Map of all of the trails and lakes in the area.
To get here: From Hwy 80, take Hwy 20 exit and follow Hwy 20 headed west for approximately 5 miles. Turn right on Bowman Lake Road (Forest Road 18). Stay on that road (windy, with tight corners and narrow spots, but paved) for approximately 6 miles and turn right on Forest Road 17, an unimproved dirt road (not recommended for low vehicles). Stay to the right for 3 miles, until reaching the parking area. The trailhead is easy to see from the parking lot.
We were all loaded up and on our way to find a campsite. We were teasing him about how much gear he has in that pack. I think it must have weighed 60 pounds!!
Along the way there are several ponds.
A marshy, meadow area along the trail.
Our first glimpse of the lake. Now to find a place to camp.
We were able to find a great spot for all of us. We had 3 tents to set up and needed a place for all of us to hang out. We found the perfect site and this was the view. Not too bad at all!
The kids had walkie-talkies we gave them to take when they went exploring. They called in and said "look up". They were way up on the top of this hill. Having a great time!
This is the "island" in the lake. It's small and none of us decided to take the swim to see it, but I'm sure people must swim out there all the time.
Comparing gear... I'm the minimalist. I've sine gone to a minimo JETBOIL and use this cup as my tea cup. I'm wanting a bit more luxury when I'm backpacking... Fire restrictions are in place because it's August and this is California. The drought brings this to a standstill every summer.
On day 2 we took a hike over to explore round lake and long lake.
We all thought this looked like an old glass Pepsi bottle.
Time for a "quick" swim. The bottom was mucky and he was cold. He was in and out very fast.
More views of little round lake.
Back at camp. We had a pretty great site for everyone.
Enjoying one of his first dehydrated meals ever. Spaghetti!! He is giving it a thumbs up!
The clouds reflecting off the lake were gorgeous.
The kids found a rock that resembled an old "brick" style cell phone. They were playing telephone with it at camp. Even backpacking, they are still trying to use cell phones...
We had a great time and I'm sure we will come back here again. So much to do and see in the area and fairly close to the cars, so hiking in is no problem.