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Truckee, California, United States

Paradise Lake

An overnight backpacking trip along the Pacific Coast Trail in Truckee, California.

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 (16 votes, 6 reviews)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 15.0 miles / 24 km
Duration: Multiple days
Overview: Paradise Lake is a classic Sierra Nevada lake with gorgeous sunsets and a pristine lake full of trout. This overnight backpacking trip is easily accessible from Highway 80 and follows parts of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Tahoe National Forest.

Tips: - Fires require a campfire permit which can be acquired at the Truckee Ranger Station.

- Fishing requires a license from the California Department of Fish and Game.

Points of Interest



You can reach the trailhead from Highway 80 by taking the Boreal / Castle Peak exit. Turn left at the stop sign, go under the highway overpass, and follow the road to the trailhead. Parking is limited so make sure to start early.

Use Trail

Make sure to use the Use Trail to cut through a small meadow to access the Pacific Crest Trail. It's possible to follow the dirt road to the base of Castle Pass but it is not very scenic.

Castle Pass

Castle Pass is a great lookout point to see the progress you have made so far and a sneak-peak to where you are headed.

Castle Peak is 1 mile north east of the pass but is nearly a 1200ft climb. Hikers who choose this will be rewarded with amazing views.

Cell reception on major networks is usually available here which may be useful in an emergency or check-in situation.

The Peter Grubb Hut

The Peter Grubb Hut was built in 1938/1939 by family and friends as a memorial to Peter Grubb. The hut has a wood-burning stove, a kitchen, and a wooden table. The 2-story hut can accommodate nearly 20 people but reservations are required from the Sierra Club website.

There is also a 2 story outhouse that is built just 75 feet away from the cabin.

This area is a great resting point and a seasonal stream is nearby that is great for pumping water. The hut can become a destination itself during the winter season for both backpackers and snowshoers alike.

Paradise Lake

Paradise Lake is a classic Sierra Nevada lake with amazing views and sunsets. There are many campsites along both the lakeshore and a bit inland towards the trail.

The lake has plenty of trout so make sure to get bring a fishing license as one is required for fishing in this area.

A campfire permit is also require in this area. You can acquire one from the Truckee Ranger Station.

Paradise Lake Island

A small island is right off of lake shore that provides a few great camping spots. The main area has a leveled out spot that can accommodate a 2 person tent. There are two additional level areas that can fit a 1 person tent.

Please make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and to use the existing fire rings whenever possible.
Pictures in this guide taken by: laytonw

Layton Wedgeworth
very nice forests...nice place for adventure lovers

by galiliosharma on Mar 13, 2015
This is a great place. I like it
Visited on Nov 30, 2010

by nadine_guadarr on Mar 04, 2015
Great place to roam !!! Like it
Visited on Oct 19, 2013

by lorita_jin on Mar 03, 2015
Adorable place to enjoy
Visited on Jun 07, 2013

by ailly_gorge on Feb 26, 2015
Awesome place with amazing environment
Visited on Sep 19, 2013

by Dennison on Feb 19, 2015
This is a beautiful hike and the lake itself is gorgeous. We hiked in on a Wednesday and had the entire lake to ourselves. There are several great sites around the lake and the granite islands are a fun way to explore. We stayed 2 nights and loved every minute of it. The weather was perfect and the lake was even a bit warm.

Thought it would be good to share that there is another starting point for this trail that can shave quite a bit off of the hike. If you go to the North side of the freeway exit, and drive up the abandoned Jeep trail, you can get your hike in down to around 5.5 to 6 miles. We drove in and stopped at the trailhead for the "Hole in the Ground" trail and parked there. From that point we walked up the Jeep trail to where the PCT begins. There is a short ascent to Castle Pass here and the remainder of the trail is the same as described above.

AMAZING trip. We will definitely be back next year!

Visited on Jul 24, 2013

by fusionkid on Jul 28, 2013

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