First Dinkey Lake

First Dinkey Lake is quintessential Sierra Nevada; almost as pristine as when John Muir explored the range. Dinkey Creek was named after a shepherd's dog who died defending the shepherd from a bear in between what is now Courtright Reservoir and Shaver Lake (both man-made lakes). Dinkey Creek and the Dinkey Lake Wilderness are within the Sierra National Forest.

First Dinkey Lake is one of several small lakes at 8,000 to 10,000' altitude that make up the headwaters of Dinkey Creek, a tributary of the north fork of the Kings River. The lakes lie within the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness Area. There is camping accessible by car in the Dinkey Creek campgrounds at the 6,000 ft elevation, found by turning south on Dinkey Creek Road off of Highway 168 at the town of Shaver Lake.

To reach the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness take Dinkey Creek road from Shaver Lake and then turn left on Rock Creek Road (four wheel drive desirable, but not essential). From this turn off to the trail head there will be about a 2,000 ft elevation gain and it takes about 45 minutes to get to the trail head. To hike up for the day a permit is not required. To camp overnight a permit must be obtained from the Sierra National Forest office. There is no fee. But there are entrance quotas to protect the fragile ecology of the wilderness.

It takes me about an hour to carry a pack up the trail from the trail head to First Dinkey Lake, and as often as not I'm the only one fishing on the lake, unless my son and grandson come with me.

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Latitude: 37.165515 Longitude: -119.0677643 Elevation: 9244 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
David Young

Recreational Opportunities

Fishing, hiking, and photography. My favorite activities here are fly fishing. You can almost always catch supper, and then catch and release the rest. Primarily 8-10 inch brook trout can be found in First Dinkey Lake. In some of the other lakes of the wilderness area there are rainbows, and in the highest lakes there are some golden trout.

Seasons Accessible

This is accessible primarily in the summer. The trail may not be clear of snow until after the 4th of July in some years. It is possible to experience snow even during the summer. I have had it snow on me in the last week of June and the first week of September (both summer according to the calendar) in the Dinkey Lake Wilderness. As with all high Sierra hiking, one must be prepared for weather changes and carry some emergency supplies even if out for a day hike. 



ADA Accessibility Notes

Fairly rough terrain and minimally improved trail. Not accessible for wheelchair or for persons using assistive devices to walk.

Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs are allowed. There are bear and mountain lion in the vicinity, so animals that wander off are at risk.


This is a great area to go backpacking. Easy access from both sides, willow meadow or courtwright reservoir. Lots of lakes to choose from for camping. All lakes are easy day hikes from any of the lakes. Island lake is one of my favorites, tucked up against the three sisters. Great place to fish.

clymber, 5/25/2015

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