Swamp Lake     
Sierra National Forest  (View this site)
Difficulty Rating:  
* Trail Length:  
** Elevation Range:  
Operating Season:  
12.5 Miles - loop
7355' - 9576'
Mid Summer to Fall

Swamp Lake is a trail that truly has a lot to offer. Along the way you will enjoy amazing views, great obstacles and camping as well as hiking, fishing and other recreational activities. Plan to spend at least two days to enjoy the trail, I would suggest an extra day to relax and explore.

The trail begins fairly mild as you enjoy some views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range continuing deeper into the Sierra National Forest. Shortly after the junction to Mudd Lake the trail will increase in difficulty. If you find yourself over your head at this point don't be afraid to turn back. The trail remains fairly consistently difficult for the remainder of the adventure.

Trail Access (Southern) - Swamp Lake trail can be run in either direction, but is typically run from South to North. Although the trail head is not near a main road it is well marked along the way. The trail will quickly climb offering some great views,

Small Rock Garden - Swap Lake will increase in difficulty as it goes and this is just a taste of what is to come. Although this section is not much of a challenge for a moderately built rig it is still fun to drive.

Top of the ridge - This is a great place to stop rest and have a bite to eat. There is a table along with a great view of the surrounding area.

Mudd Lake Junction - A right here will take you to Mudd Lake and is posted on a bright hand painted sign. Keep left to stay on Swamp Lake Trail. This is also where the trail goes from moderate to difficult and remains consistently difficult nearly until the end of the trail.

Rooster Rock - Named after a similar rock obstacle on Dusy-Ershim Trail, Rooster Rock is a steep climb. Use caution and keep moving up the rock to avoid loosing traction. Once near the top it is difficult to see the trail and you may need to get out or use a spotter to find your way.

As you reach the top bear to the left. Once you are near the trees you can go slightly left to a difficult rock obstacle or turn back right for an easier route.

Grouse Lake - Grouse Lake is a great mid point for the trail as it offers a great place to camp, fish, hike and just relax. There is a pit toilet at the camp and quite a few spots near the lake.

The lake is also near an abandoned mine and it is not to find traces of it's existence. This truly is a great place to spend some time.

Junction to Little Dorris Lake - About a half a mile down the trail from Grouse Lake, you can take the short drive to the right along the ridge toward Little Dorris Lake. At the end of the road walk Northeast a short distance for spectacular views of Swamp Lake and Little Dorris Lake. Little Dorris Lake can be reached by hiking down near the Northern edge of the ridge.

Please use extreme caution, there is not an established trail and the Northeastern and Northern edges of the ridge are met with a sheer vertical drop!

Swamp Lake Camp - Swamp Lake is just under a mile from Grouse Lake and also offers camping and a pit toilet. There is plenty space for larger groups and offers all the same great benefits as Grouse Lake.

Rock Garden - The second half of the trail is just as difficult as the first and offers more challenges. This section is one of the the most difficult of the trail and is close to the end of the difficult section of the trail.

Stay left - Keep to the left at this point to stay on the trail. You are just shy of 3/4 of a mile to the Northern trailhead.

Trail Access (Northern) - A gate, trail sign and information board mark the northern access point to the trail. As you head back follow the signs for Highway 168 where you will take a left toward Shaver Lake.

You may also take a left onto Forest Service Road 9S09, toward Bald Mountain OHV Route. This will loop back and take you back to the campground along Dinky Creek Road.

Trail Maps      

GPS Waypoints   (GPX)
Swamp OHV Route   (US Forest Service)
Sierra National Forest   (US Forest Service)
Dogtooth Peak   (USGS Topo)
Nelson Mountain   (USGS Topo)

Trail Links      

Swamp OHV Route  (View this site)

Trail Photographs      

  (click to view)


Charles Wells: Guide to Northern California Backroads &...
Charles Wells & Matt Peterson: Guide To California Backroads & 4-Wheel-...


From Fresno - Southern Access (59 Miles)
- Take Highway 168 North (32 Miles)
- Turn left to stay on Highway 168 (9.4 Miles)
- Turn Left on Highway 168 / Tollhouse Rd (5.4 Miles)
- Caution long steep grade!
- Turn Left to stay on Highway 168 (4.4 Miles)
- Turn right at Dinkey Creek Rd (11.8 Miles)
- Turn right at McKinley Grove Rd (0.4 Miles)
- Leave any tow rigs at the camp
- Take the camp road North
- Take a right at each of the first two forest service gates
- Take a left at the third gate, this is the trail head

From Fresno - Northern Access (58 Miles)
- Take Highway 168 North (32 Miles)
- Turn left to stay on Highway 168 (9.4 Miles)
- Turn Left on Highway 168 / Tollhouse Rd (5.4 Miles)
- Caution long steep grade!
- Turn Left to stay on Highway 168 (4.4 Miles)
- Keep right at the fork (6.7 Miles)
- go through the parking lot on the right to 9S10
- Take 9S10 toward Swamp Lake
- Turn sharp right onto 9S62
- Trail head is well marked

Waypoint Coordinates      

  Trail Access (Southern)37° 04' 23.8" N- 119° 06' 07.2" W
  Small Rock Garden37° 05' 31.2" N- 119° 04' 46.1" W
  Top of the ridge37° 06' 00.5" N- 119° 04' 18.9" W
  Mudd Lake Junction37° 06' 26.5" N- 119° 04' 28.4" W
  Rooster Rock37° 06' 47.3" N- 119° 04' 58.6" W
  Grouse Lake37° 07' 09.6" N- 119° 04' 22.4" W
  Junction to Little Dorris Lake37° 07' 27.4" N- 119° 04' 25.6" W
  Swamp Lake Camp37° 07' 45.3" N- 119° 04' 25.1" W
  Rock Garden37° 08' 02.8" N- 119° 05' 35.7" W
  Stay left37° 08' 51.7" N- 119° 05' 52.8" W
  Trail Access (Northern)37° 08' 54.8" N- 119° 06' 19.8" W