Highland Lakes, located in picturesque Alpine County, are set in a spectacular high alpine valley, close to the top of the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway (Hwy 4) at an elevation of 8,600 feet. These two lakes are unique in that they are headwaters for two different watersheds. The eastern lake flows into the Mokelumne River drainage, while the western lake flows into the Stanislaus River drainage. Maximum boat speed on both lakes is 5 mph, and gas powered motors are discouraged.
Highland Lakes are unique both in their physical beauty and geography. The Highland Lakes are headwaters for two different watersheds. The eastern lake flows into the Mokelumne River, while the western lake flows into the Stanislaus River. The two lakes are at an elevation of 8,600 feet, and trails from around Highland Lakes lead into the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness and connect with the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River.
Highland Lakes are on the western side of Ebbetts Pass (Highway 4), less than a mile from the summit. From the western side, follow Highway 4 from Angels Camp through Arnold and beyond Lake Alpine and the Pacific Grade Summit. Watch for the turnoff as you near the top of the pass. From the east side go south through Markleeville and pick up Highway 4 at the Monitor Pass turn.
The first mile of the Highland Lakes Road is paved. Then it becomes a sometimes bumpy dirt road. Although you may want a high-clearance vehicle, 4-wheel drive is not required. A single stream crossing early in the summer may cause problems, however.
- Maximum boat speed on both lakes is 5 mph, and gas powered motors are discouraged. Open late June to October.
- Camping, hiking and horseback riding are also available to visitors of Highland Lakes:
Highland Lakes Campground is situated right beside the lakes, making a convenient place to set up your tent or park your RV. Four miles back on the road is Bloomfield Campground. Many people opt for "dispersed camping" along the road. You can find more campsites farther down Highway 4 on either side of the pass.