Nelson Lake Trail | California Hiking Trails | Hiking Adventure

I have been wanting to go out on this hike for months now; however, there was so much snow this year that it hasn't been possible until now. My goal for this hike was to make it to Nelson Lake and take some beautiful wild flower pictures along the way to add to my Sierra Nevada Wildflower Guide Book!


The trailhead is just outside of Courtright Lake and is accessible with a 2 wheel drive vehicle, which makes this trail quite popular. The trail itself is a bit sandy for the first portion up until you cross the river. You will walk up the trail to a junction. If you stay left you will go to Nelson, Right you will go to Helms Meadow, and straight will take you to Cliff Lake. Nelson Lake is a bit off the unbeaten path so the trail can be difficult to follow at times.


It is such a beautiful hike, but beware of mosquito. They were out in force when I went up there this mid July and I forgot my bug spray :( The lake is surrounded by a beautiful meadow and partly by trees. I wasn't able to try out fishing this time, but I have heard the fishing is good at Nelson.

Details of the Trail:

  • Trail-head name: Cliff Lake Trail-head
  • Vehicle Access: The road is paved the entire way. You can get a 2 wheel drive car to the trail-head. The trail-head is gravel. It will take you about 2 hours to get to the trail head from Fresno, CA
  • Animals: Dogs are allowed
  • Permits: required for backpacking
  • Length: 10 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,025'
  • Highest Elevation Point: 8,942'
  • Trail type: One way, There and back
  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Duration: One long day hike
  • Season: Best July - October
  • Area: Sierra National Forest, Dinkey Lakes Wilderness

Here are some beautiful wildflowers that I found along the way:

While driving home the sky decided to give off a grand show! I was beyond thrilled.


I hope you all enjoyed this adventure. If you did don't forget to comment and subscribe :) Wishing you all fun adventures!

Adventuring of a Small Town Girl

P.S. All photos are taken by Bessie Young and available in the shop. Check them out here.

P.S.S wanna know what gear I used? Check it out here:
Kit Used:
Camera: Sony A7Rii:
Favorite Lens: Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master:
Best Wide Angle: Sony 16-35mm lens:
Vanguard Tripod: