For information and maps of this area, contact the Calaveras Ranger District.
Calaveras Ranger District
The Calaveras Ranger District maintains 279 miles of hiking trails (143 in Wilderness, 136 non-Wilderness), offering anything from short, easy day hikes to strenuous, multi-day backpacking opportunities. Most of these trails are at high elevation (above 6,000 feet) and are accessible only during the summer and early fall months. Some of the most popular routes are described below.
Bear Valley - Lake Alpine (4 miles)
This trail runs between the east end of Lake Alpine and the community of Bear Valley. Along the lakeshore, the trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. West of the lake, the trail reverts to native surface as it meanders through the forest, hooking up with a portion of the historic Emigrant-West pioneer route. The trail is open to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians.
Bull Run Lake (3.5 miles)
Trailhead off Forest Road 8N13 off Hwy 4 at Stanislaus Meadow. First mile and a half is fairly level in a beautiful meadow, and then starts the ascent into a more difficult slope. Connects with Heiser Lake Trail at the 2 mile marker. Wilderness permit required for overnight camping.
Duck Lake (1.2 miles one way)
Duck Lake is a small lake just within the boundary of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. The walk is scenic and pleasant, with some moderate ups and downs. Early in the season, the trail and meadow near the lake becomes wet and muddy, with lots of mosquitoes -- so bring your repellent! Taking the loop trail around Duck Lake will add about 2 miles to your hike.
Emigrant-West (1.5 miles)
Portion of historic pioneer route. Trailhead is on Hwy 4 at parking area 1/2 mile past Bear Valley. Trailhead not well marked at this time.
Heiser Lake (2.5 miles)
Uphill trail of moderate difficulty. Begins at Mosquito Lake on Hwy 4. Connects with Bull Run Lake Trail for loop route.
Inspiration Point (1.4 miles)
Access from Lakeshore Trail. Uphill climb of moderate difficulty with rewarding views of Spicer Reservoir and Dardanelles.
Easy walking. Follows south shore of Lake Alpine. Begins at Pine Marten Campground and ends at Forest Road 7N17. Hikers can continue walking along this road; however, it is a popular 4WD route, and there may be vehicles.
Osborne Ridge (1.8 miles)
Trailhead is located .2 miles east of Silvertip Campground, on Highway 4. Offers panoramic view of Lake Alpine area from Osborne Point. Ends at Emigrant-West Trail.
Most backpacking opportunities on the Calaveras Ranger District are found in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness or the Mokelumne Wilderness. A Wilderness Permit is required for overnight camping in these areas. Permits are available free of charge at all Stanislaus National Forest offices during regular business hours.
A Wilderness Visitor's Permit is required for overnight visits to the Carson-Iceberg, Emigrant and Mokelumne Wildernesses. Only one permit is required for trips that are continuous and pass through more than one Wilderness. One permit is required per trip per group. If you have a larger group than is permitted, reduce the number of people, split the group to visit different areas, or visit an area that permits larger numbers. You are not permitted to camp or travel within one mile of a related group. Special regulations for recreation, pack and saddle stock use are attached to the Wilderness permit. Your permit doubles as a campfire permit while in the Wilderness.