Leave Your Footprints at Lake Magaret


This well-traveled path provides an opportunity to experience everything mother nature has to offer, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded strangers who share your passion of hiking, running, and exploring.


While Lake Margaret is a heavily trafficked trail, the picturesque scenery will take your breath away. The trail is a 2.5-mile trek to the lake (five miles round trip) with 678 feet of elevation change and the high point of the trail reaching 7,750 feet. It is a great hike for beginners, families, and our four-legged dog companions. The trail crosses Caples Creek and leads you to several ponds that hold stagnant water. While these ponds are surrounded by lush green banks, they do not compare to the beauty of your final destination, Lake Margaret. With the numerous bodies of water that are encountered on the trail, bug spray will certainly be needed.

Log crossings on the way to the lake
The Lake Margaret trail, considered a moderate trek, offers adventure around every bend that includes glimpses of open meadows, lush forests, log crossings, hill climbs and rocky paths. Beautiful wildflowers of lupine, Mountain Spiraea, Groundsel, and Indian Paintbrush are abundant along the trail even in the hottest months of summer. Do take caution on the rocky areas as there are a few steep spots you will need to pass through. Your feet might also get wet when you trek through the marshy areas. With the cold winter and heavy snow pack we have had, there will be a late snow melt if you plan to visit the trail in June through mid-July. Plan ahead to make certain you are prepared for the snow conditions. The trail is well marked by cairns and logs that block the fake trails, but there are still quite a few small, unmarked trails that branch off from the main path. As with any hike, maps and a compass are recommended to carry along with you.

Pond stop on the way to the lake
Arriving at the small lake, you are rewarded with crystal clear water that provides reflections of trees and large granite rocks that line the shore. Bring a lunch or camp overnight at the few spots available surrounding the lake. If camping, a campfire permit will be needed. Lake Margaret tempts you with its inviting waters to jump in and go for a swim, but keep in mind that even on the hottest of days, the water will be cold, yet still quite refreshing.


Traveling from Placerville by car will take an hour and forty minutes to reach the trailhead. It is on the north side of Highway 88 between Kirkwood Inn and Caples Lake. Watch carefully for the sign. There is a little parking lot that gets filled up fairly quickly. It is recommended to get to the trailhead early and beat the crowd. To plan your adventure, and check on trail conditions, call the Amador Ranger District at 209-295-4251.


It is no wonder that this beautiful trail gets a lot of foot traffic. Get outside, meet a friend or two, and Enjoy the journey of this breathtaking trail!

-  Written for
2017 Around Here Magazine Publication

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