Angels Camp is the perfect base camp to miles and miles of hiking and backpacking. Within minutes from Angels Camp is the beautiful New Melones Lake with miles and miles of year-round trails at all levels, such as Natural Bridges Trail and the Carson Creek Trail. Big Trees State Park east of Arnold offers more year-round trails. The Arnold Rim Trail offers numerous opportunities at elevations over 3,000 feet. The Calaveras Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest maintains 279 miles of hiking trails (143 in Wilderness, 136 non-Wilderness), offering anything from short, easy day hikes to strenuous, multi-day backpacking opportunities. Most of these trails are at high elevation (above 6,000 feet) and are accessible only during the summer and early fall months. Some of the most popular hikes are described below.
Bear Valley - Lake Alpine - 4 miles
This trail runs between the east end of Lake Alpine and the community of Bear Valley. Along the lakeshore, the trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. West of the lake, the trail reverts to native surface as it meanders through the forest, hooking up with a portion of the historic Emigrant-West pioneer route. The trail is open to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians.
Bull Run Lake - 3.5 miles
Trailhead off Forest Road 8N13 off Hwy 4 at Stanislaus Meadow. First mile and a half is fairly level in a beautiful meadow, then starts the ascent into a more difficult slope. Connects with Heiser Lake Trail at the 2 mile marker. Wilderness permit required for overnight camping.
Duck Lake - 1.2 miles one way
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! Taking the loop trail around Duck Lake will add about 2 miles to your hike.
Emigrant-West -1.5 miles
Portion of historic pioneer route. Trailhead is on Hwy 4 at parking area 1/2 mile past Bear Valley.
Heiser Lake - 2.5 miles
Uphill trail of moderate difficulty. Begins at Mosquito Lake on Hwy 4. Connects with Bull Run Lake Trail for loop route.
Inspiration Point - 1.4 miles
Access from Lakeshore Trail. Uphill climb of moderate difficulty with rewarding views of Spicer Reservoir and Dardanelles.
Lakeshore - 1.6 miles
Easy walking. Follows south shore of Lake Alpine. Begins at Pine Marten Campground and ends at Forest Road 7N17. Hikers can continue walking along this road; however, it is a popular 4WD route, and there may be vehicles.
Osborne Ridge - 1.8 miles
Trailhead is located .2 miles east of Silvertip Campground, on Highway 4. Offers panoramic view of Lake Alpine area from Osborne Point. Ends at Emigrant-West Trail.