Sword Lake

When Is the Best Time

Sword Lake is a popular destination for hikers as well as backpackers in California. It’s an easy trip and only a 2.5 miles hike from the County Line Trailhead.


The best time to visit if you plan to go swimming is summer (late June/July/August) and early fall (September). However, expect a crowded area in summer, even more on weekends. Weather details: Monthly Weather – Sonora (nearby)

Avoiding Tourist Crowds

A great time with pleasant weather and less people is September after Labor Day, when the tourist season has died down a little. But still, try to avoid weekends if possible. You can also continue 0.3 miles farther to Lost Lake if Sword Lake is too crowded.

The trailhead is right off the Sonora Pass Highway. Plenty of wildlife to see. Great views of Sonora Pass and the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.

  • Roundtrip Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
  • Permits: A forest service permit is required for overnight camping but for day use a permit is not required.
  • Closest Hotel: Strawberry Inn


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