Lyons Reservoir From the Dam

Lyons Lake Loop is an easy 5.5 mile hike that follows the entire perimeter of Lyons Reservoir. Since most of the hike is fire road, it is easily accessible by hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The grade is very gradual with a total elevation change of less than 300 feet so this hike is suitable for varying ages and skill levels. The most difficult part of Lyons Lake Loop is the South Fork Stanislaus River crossing at the northeast end of the lake but even at full capacity the water is only about knee deep here. In addition to the river crossing there are also a couple of seasonal creek crossings which can easily be traversed without getting your feet wet.

Lyons Lake Loop can either be done clockwise or counter-clockwise so take your pick. Clockwise will take you across Lyons Dam and immediately right on the single-track foot path. Follow this foot path along the shoreline for about 1/4 mile till you get to FR 4N02 and head northeast. The rest of the way is all fire road. If heading counter-clockwise make sure and keep an eye out for this trail as it is easy to miss. Just look for the closed gate on 4N02 and the trail heads off to the right just before the gate. Which ever direction you choose there is an ideal resting spot near the South Fork Crossing and old barn where a beautiful meadow awaits. This is roughly the half-way point of the hike.

A couple of things to note are the land immediately surrounding Lyons Reservoir is owned by Sierra Pacific Industries so no motor vehicles allowed on these roads. Also, Lyons Reservoir is off limits to swimming for both humans and your furry friends.


  • Hrs of Operation: May 1 – Nov 1, dawn till dusk (day-use only)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Distance: 5.5 mile loop
  • Elevation Change: 280 ft.
  • Best Season: spring, summer, fall
  • Open To: hikers, bikers, horseback
  • Dogs: yes, on leash
  • Restrictions: no swimming, no camping, no OHVs

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