Wrights Lake (dayhike)

Trip Date: 12/5/2014 

Location: Eldorado National Forest

Permit/Pass: None

Trails: NA

Directions: From Interstate 5 in Sacramento follow the signs for US Hwy 50 East. After a little over 78 miles on Hwy 50 watch for the signed left turn onto Wrights Lake Rd. Take Wrights Lake Rd. as it climbs and winds for about 8 miles until reaching Wrights Lake campground. If the gate is closed (as it is in winter) park in the lot before the gate and hike in. 

Synopsis: An enjoyable hike around a pretty lake, this trip begins with the promise of stunning views into the high country but for the most part ends up traveling under forest canopy.

Trail sequence:* Wrights Lake Rd. / Wrights Meadow trail / Twin Lakes Tie / Wrights Lake Spur / Wrights Lake Rd.   (Keep an eye out for "Loop Trail" markers.)

Type: Loop

Distance: 3.4 miles

Elevation: Min. - 6871', Max. - 7117'


Rating: Easy (factors: slick rock, wet & muddy trails, snow, poor/confusing signage)

Trail Notes: *The trails around this lake are generally well-marked. The problem is that those marks don't always coincide with what the trail maps say. I caution anyone using this guide to compare their course to a good map and keep a compass handy, as the trail names given here cannot be relied upon to match those on the trail markers.


Wrights Lake - Eldorado NF

Turn by Turn:

  -- After parking outside the gate, head north to pick up the road next to the lake. Turn right to cross the bridge and immediately after find the trail leading off to the left (north) next to the east side of the lake.

  -- The Wrights Meadow trail head east, then north, then east again as it follow the contour of the lake. In the snowy conditions of this trip, it was lost for a while and we ended up on the access roads now and then. In these circumstances the "Loop Trail" markers often helped.

  -- After about a mile the road turn to the northwest to follow the lake and comes to a multi-signed junction of about five trails. This is where things got confusing and I missed the loop trail and continued on to the northeast. 

  -- Discovering this mistake led to a decision to turn left on the Twin Lakes trail, which was not signed and was only found after exploring a bit farther to the north and then doubling back.

  -- Crossing to the west on the Twin Lakes trail brings this hike to a connection with the Wrights Lake Spur (Wrights Lake Rd. on some maps). Turn left on Wrights Lake Spur.

  -- Follow the road south along the west side of the lake, eventually returning to the junction at the bridge.

  -- Head south past the gate and back to your car.


Video: Youtube