This was not one, but four trips during this summer and to the same destination. However, the place is so beautiful and so “untouched by the crowds” that I decided to wait until the end of the season before sharing with others this natural gem. It takes about 4 hours from Berkeley: essentially you drive on Hwy 50 towards lake Tahoe and about 20 miles past Placerville take Ice House Rd. It is windy and goes zigzaging up taking you into Crystal Basin recreational area – the land of many beautiful lakes, hiking trails, nearly wild forest, waterfalls, etc. Predictably, many people come here, but…most of them never go until the very end (35 miles) of Ice House road. And really, why to bother and drive (slowly) this distance if there are plenty good campgrounds and nice lakes all along Ice House Rd. But if you go all way until the very end, you will come to Loon Lake and also the beginning of famous Rubicon Trail – a 22 miles trail for ORV which goes to lake Tahoe and essentially serves only one purpose: to fully ruin your vehicle.
Landscapes surrounding Loon Lake are austere: grey granite formations, pine forest, mountains dotted with snow even in late summer
But Loon Lake itself has some very captivating, positive and welcoming energy
If you come here on a weekday (as I did), you may have the entire lake only for yourself and play a modern Robinson Crusoe
After exploring the lake from all sides, I found most perfect spot for my camp: right next to the water and yet protected from the wind by huge boulders and under nice (and very fragrant) pine trees.
I should mention that the lake’s elevation is 5600 feet: so, it can get fairly chilly in the night, but the days are hot and – because the lake is shallow – water is perfect for swimming. The best thing to do here is to bring a kayak (I have inflatable) and simply explore
By the way, Loon Lake is also very reminiscent of Scandinavian fiords: both from the coast and from the water
And when the time of sunset comes, you may enjoy an astonishing interplay of colors
This season is over, but I will be back next year: 100%!