Trail Map of Barrett Lake 4x4 Trail, California

Outstanding hardcore trail to a beautiful mountain lake

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Barrett Lake 4x4 Trail, California
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Difficult: 5.8 miles, Half day
Other Information: Family Friendly
Dog Friendly
Overview: Overview: Camp, hike and fish at idyllic Barrett Lake at end of trail. Makes a great weekend trip. ATVs are allowed on trail, but it’s a very tough ride. Forest Service closes trail without notice when it gets too wet. Sometimes it doesn’t open until August. Extra-wide vehicles may have trouble getting through the narrow gate at start of trails. Call ahead for status. Located in Eldorado National Forest. For current conditions call Pacific Ranger District (530) 644-2349. Forest Service also shows this special number specifically for Barrett Lake: (530) 647-5415. Special Notice: There has been talk of shutting down the trail for a while to build a bridge over one of the water crossings. A short section of the trail may be rerouted. Make sure you call ahead to find out what’s going on.


Difficult. Relatively short but a very difficult trail. Large boulders shift sometimes, increasing possibility of body damage. Very high ground clearance and lockers required. Narrow 6 ft.-wide gate at start of trail keeps out extra-wide vehicles. Not for stock SUVs.

This trail is one of 75 trails from the book, Guide to Northern California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, by Charles Wells, and is available at

Tips: Absolutely essential that you stay on designated trail which skirts the edge of Desolation Wilderness. Even hikers must get a permit to enter this Wilderness. Don’t drive this trail alone. Enjoy the lake, but make sure you pack out your trash so the next person can enjoy this beautiful place.

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Important Left Turn
Stay Right
Start of Trail
Second Stream Crossing
Barrett Lake
POIs: numbers | icons