Duck Lake Trail

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Duck Lake is a small lake just within the boundary of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. The walk is scenic and pleasant, with some moderate ups and downs. Early in the season, the trail and meadow near the lake becomes wet and muddy, with lots of mosquitoes -- so bring your repellent!

The shortest route to the lake one-way is 1.2 miles; for this route, at .6 miles from the trailhead, pass by the intersection with the Duck Lake Bypass Trail (20E04A), to Rock Lake) on your left and continue to the right on the main trail, (Highland Creek Trail, 20E04) .6 miles to the lake.

For a clockwise loop around the lake, take the Duck Lake Bypass Trail .7 miles, then the Highland Creek Trail to the right, which will take you to the south side of the lake. You will pass through a meadow at the lake's outlet and cross over a ditch, which will likely have water in it early in the season. In .6 miles you will reach a meadow at the other end of the lake and the intersection with the Highland Creek Trail. Turn right to return to the trailhead. For the loop, it may be easier to find the trails by going in a counterclockwise direction. Taking the loop trail around Duck Lake will add .7 miles to your hike; the total distance is 3.1 miles. The Duck Lake Bypass Trail goes over some rock outcrops at the bottom of the slope before approaching the flat area around the lake; watch for cairns (human-made stacks of rock) to guide you.

Difficulty of this trail is moderate.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Calaveras Ranger District (HWY 4)
Online wilderness permits are available. Obtain a free online wilderness permit.
Permit Info: wilderness permit is required for overnight visits to the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.
Usage: Medium
Best Season: Summer, early fall
Busiest Season: Mid-June to mid August
Closest Towns: Bear Valley and Arnold to the west, Markleeville to the east.
Water: At Lake Alpine Campgrounds in summer season; Silver Valley Campground is closest
Restroom: Vault toilets at Lake Alpine Campgrounds in summer season; Silver Valley Campground is closest

General Information


Trail starts at the Silver Valley Trailhead: From Highway 4 at Lake Alpine, take the Lake Alpine East Shore road and follow it to the end, just before the Silver Valley Campground entrance. Turn around and park along the right side of the road. The turnoff from Highway 4 is 34 miles east of the Calaveras Ranger Station in Hathaway Pines, California.

For a map to the trailhead, go to the Silver Valley Trailhead page.



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