Huntington Lake 2023

We have been coming up to Huntington Lake in the Western Sierra Nevada mountains for 5 summers and have always had a good time. Some people in the group have been coming up to the lake for 40 or 50 years since they were kids and now their kids in their 20s and 30s are making the annual camping trip. This is where we camped.

The Friends

Group sitting on the benches with pine trees in the background

We were fortunate to get 2 great campsites for our stay. The first one was very large and we stayed there for 10 days. It was a great spot and we hosted 2 group dinners. The second one was a beautiful spot with great views of the lake and a lot of privacy and we were in this spot for 2 weeks. Lilly, our cat loved this spot and looked forward to her daily outings where she unsuccessfully tried to catch birds and chipmunks and she climbed her first trees.

Lilly

cat at the waters edge

With the unusual amount of snow this year in the Sierra Nevada we had heard stories and seen some videos of the waterfalls and streams in the area during the springtime where there was an amazing amount of water flowing. We had our fingers crossed, but things had calmed down when we got there in late July. There was more water in the streams than we had seen on our previous trips but nothing like what we had seen in the videos.

The hike to Rancheria Falls by Huntington Lake in the Sierra Nevada is a great way for hikers to take in the natural beauty of California’s high country. It is a short, easy hike that is mostly shaded by pine trees with wildflowers along the way.

Hiking

waterfall cascading over a cliff and boulders

Indian Pools is another easy hike we like to do when up at the lake. The hike has a lot of shade and there is one area where you have to scramble over some boulders. It starts behind the China Peak Resort and follows a stream with small pools where kids can splash around and eventually comes to a larger pool with a small waterfall where people jump off the boulders into the pool and swim around.

Large pool, surrounded by boulders and pine trees

One of the highlights of our time at the lake is kayaking. We have inflatable kayaks that we take with us on most of our trips. They don’t take much time to inflate and they are easy to store. The lake is usually dead calm from sunrise until around 10:00 AM when the wind starts to blow from the west. We like to paddle out to some islands and explore some inlets around the east end of the lake.

On the Lake

Clouds and trees reflected in the calm lake
Trees and clouds reflected in the calm lake
Four kayakers posing for a selfie on the lake

Eagles

Last year some people pointed out a bald eagle nest that was in use and had been for awhile. We witnessed a pair of bald eagles flying in and out of the nest but from a distance. We never saw any juvenile eagles but were told that they were still in the nest. But this year we got to witness a juvenile eagle out of the nest on a branch flapping and stretching its wings the first day out on the lake. The next day we saw the juvenile in a different tree than the nest so it was apparent that it had its first flight. We missed its first flight but saw it on multiple occasions while we were there, flying around. There was always an adult keeping an eye on it. The adults would fly over us quite close and land in trees along the water’s edge and pose for us. I did take a 150-600mm lens out in the kayak with me and got some nice shots.

Juvenile bald eagle sitting on a branch
Bald eagle flying over the water with boulders and trees in the background
Bald eagle posing while sitting in a tree looking directly at me

It was a great 3 and a half weeks and we are looking forward to next year.

Sunset at the lake with a cloudy blue sky

Go here to see another trip to Huntington Lake

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