The five lakes are in a basin between the Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley bowls. It is an Alpine wonderland of granite, water and conifers. A few of the lakes are quite small, and are sometimes a meadow depending on the time of year and the snow melt. A little gentle cross-country hiking will provide stupendous views of the Alpine Meadows valley.  From the first lake, you can head East to the ridge to the Squaw Valley Bowl.


The five-lakes trailhead is on Alpine Meadows Road. Look for the wide parking areas on both sides of the road.  It's about a 40 minute walk from the condo to the trail head. It has a large sign with a map.

Distance and Difficulty

The first 40 minutes are steady uphill with switchbacks on well-groomed trail. Bring water. Once you reach the granite basin, the trail flattens out and becomes roughly level. You will have to look to find all five lakes, and you may find that a couple have no water when you're there. There are two larger lakes that never disappoint.  Avid local athletes run this trail.

Take a detour cross country to the right to reach the rim of the Squaw Valley bowl and enjoy the view of the upper complex and the high-plains ski area.

The Five Lakes trail intersects the Pacific Crest Trail some distance past the lakes. Turning left on the Pacific Crest Trail will lead you to Alpine Bowl from which you can return to the Alpine Meadows ski area and then the condo.