Carson Creek Trail

The Carson Creek Trail is one of he several trails within the New Melones trail system in the Glory Hole Recreation Area. This trail is a moderate 4.3 mile loop beginning at the lower parking area, near the intersection of Glory Hole Rd and Angles Creek Access Rd. The trail follows along the shores of New Melones Lake for most of the way and offers spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding hills, especially in the spring when the wild flowers are in bloom. The east end of the loop, coming up to the second parking lot is dubbed “Tower Climb” and is the most difficult part of the hike. The climb, however, follows a series of switchbacks so the ascent is not as steep as the name implies.


The Carson Creek Trail is moderately exposed and gets really hot in the summer months so it’s recommended you do this hike during cooler months or on days of overcast. The trail is routinely maintained but in mid to late spring the grasses get really tall so leather hiking boots and longs pants are recommended to protect from ticks and rattlesnakes.

The Bureau of Reclamation requires you to pay a day-use fee of $8 in order to access the Glory Hole Recreation Area. If the kiosk is un-manned then use the fee stations to conform to the rules and be sure and bring exact change. For a map of the Glory Hole Recreation Area and the Carson Creek trail click here.

Trail Specifics

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Distance: 4.3 mile loop
  • Elevation Change: 380 ft.
  • Best Season: spring, fall
  • Open To: hikers, bikers
  • Dogs: yes, on leash
  • Hrs of Operation: year-round, dawn till dusk (gates close at night)
  • Fees: $8 day-use
  • Managed By: Bureau of Reclamation

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