Gold Lake is located about 5 miles North of Hwy 49 on Gold Lake Hwy between Bassets Station and Graeagle in the “Lakes Basin Recreation Area“. There are miles and miles of trails, endless crystal clear alpine lakes, dozens of great campgrounds and of course it’s about 5 miles to the Brewing Lair (craft brewery) in Blairsden.
The recreation possibilities are amazing: SUP, boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, running, hunting, horse back riding, rock climbing, winter sports and camping. To get there from Truckee, take hwy 89 north for about 45 minutes, and then stay right on hwy 49 toward Sierra City for another 15 minutes to Gold Lake hwy. Turn right, and head up to the Lakes Basin area where you have unlimited choices of lakes and campgrounds. Fall is the best time, as the campgrounds are open, but free and uncrowded. The Sierra Buttes tower high above the basin and the view from the top is AMAZING. The PCT runs right through the area as well.
Abbey and I drove up on Friday around noon, pulled into Bassets Station, and got a map and info on the best campsites. Pete, Erin and Siri Broomhall were coming up with a trailer, so we needed a site that would work for us, plus Chris Perillo, who would come up Saturday after kids’ soccer. We checked out Goose lake, which was too rough for the trailer, but was beautiful and secluded. We found a great spot near the boat ramp at Gold Lake and set up camp, (We car camped.) and headed out on the trail for a quick run. We ended up at Summit Lake near the PCT and then back to camp to drink beer. Pete got in right before dark and beer was consumed, some food, too. We slept in, hit the trailhead at Round Lake trail and went for about 18 miles up to and on the PCT, over to Elwell Pk and back. We regrouped after the run, and then we all drove over to the Brewing Lair for beers and a Canyons “RD meeting.” We woke the next day, a little hungover, and drove up to the trailhead to Sierra Buttes fire lookout. A 5-mile out-and-back included incredible views from the fire lookout.
We barely scratched the surface of the trails and hidden gems in the Lakes Basin area, but we will be back soon enough to explore more of this beautiful and sublime region that is so close, yet so far away!