Kinney Lakes and Kinney Reservoir are popular fishing spots for brook, rainbow, and cutthroat trout, easily accessed via a network of hiking trails that provide spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and Ebbetts Pass. Half the fun for anglers is driving historic Highway 4 to Kinney along the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway that connects Arnold to Markleeville for an unparalleled fishing experience.
The Kinney Lakes are depicted as Silver Lakes on an 1864 map of the Silver Mountain Mining District, with the Mountain Oaks Mine located between them. In the 1890s, the Alpine Land & Reservoir Company, an organization of the East Fork Carson River farmers in Douglas County, Nevada, dammed a tributary of Silver Creek to create Upper and Lower Kinney Lakes, as well as Kinney Reservoir. Utilized for irrigation purposes in the Carson Valley, by 1912 the agriculturalists had constructed half a dozen reservoirs in Alpine County. Lower Kinney Lake Dam was completed in 1926, and Upper Kinney Lake Dam in 1990.
The trail to Upper Kinney Lake, via the northbound Pacific Crest Trail trailhead, other than the initial climb up the mountain, is gently graded and an excellent day hike for the family. There are some good campsites here, one of the better overnight hikes in the Ebbetts Pass area. Wildflower viewing in the early summer is spectacular.
From Meyers at junction of Highways 50-89, take Hwy 89 South and go 11 miles to junction of Highways 88-89. Turn East and go 6 miles to Woodfords. Turn South and go 12 miles on Hwy 89 (past Markleeville) to junction with Hwy 4. Continue straight on Hwy 4 for 13 miles. The reservoir is alongside the highway. Steep, narrow winding road last several miles.