Balsam Forebay Hike

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
1.8 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
31 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Balsam Forebay Trail is a short, but scenic nature walks in the Sierra National Forest. Wander through a mixed conifer forest to the charming alpine reservoir that boasts wonderful views of the High Sierra from the south shore.

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Route Description for Balsam Forebay Hike

The Balsam Forebay Hike is ideal for those seeking a quick hike to get outdoors and stretch their legs. Wander the dirt path through the mixed pines up to the alpine reservoir bounded by a dam. The blue-hued waters, though inviting, are very chilly! Note that much of the hike is exposed, so make sure you dress accordingly, and in the summer months, wear sun protection! If you have the time, we encourage you to bring a picnic and have lunch overlooking the waters or the High Sierra.

Setting out from the trailhead, the Balsam Forebay Hike follows the Balsam Forebay Trail north, gradually climbing through the woodlands. The wide dirt route is easy to follow and will likely be busy as those roaming other routes wander this path before diverting onto their respective hikes. Soon the path will curve west before dipping down to the reservoir.

Explore the shoreline and walk along the dam. From the south shore of Balsam Forebay, you will be granted wonderful views of the mountainous landscape that stretches for miles. Revel in the views and the beauty of the reservoir, and when you are ready, retrace your footing along the path back to the trailhead.

Getting to the Balsam Forebay Hike Trailhead

The Balsam Forebay Hike departs from the trailhead off Huntington Lake Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground


  • When to do


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Balsam Forebay Hike Elevation Graph

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Balsam Forebay Hike Reviews

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