Serene Lakes California Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Serene Lakes

Donner Summit's lakes, only a short drive from Lake Tahoe, offer the visitor the perfect location for paddling, hiking, camping and fishing in a peaceful and pristine environment. Read More

  • A short drive from Lake Tahoe
  • Fish Long Lake for the best luck at catching rainbows or browns
  • Take a kayak or rowboat out onto Cascade Lake


Not far from Lake Tahoe, you can enjoy some solitude and great outdoor recreation at the Donner Summit Area Lakes. This is a collection of five mountain lakes in the High Sierras, providing some unique recreational opportunities. The lakes, each about fifty acres and at an elevation of over 6,000 feet, are Cascade Lakes, Kidd Lake, Long Lake, and Serene Lakes. Please note that Palisades Lake is a private lake and not open to the public.

Location & Information

To get to Kidd Lake or Cascade Lake from Lake Tahoe, take Highway 89 to Interstate 80 heading west. Take the Soda Springs exit and take Old Highway 40 west to Soda Springs Road. On Pahatsi Road, turn right. It turns into the Kidd Lake Road. Follow the signs to Kidd Lake. You can continue heading west to Cascade Lakes.

To reach Serene Lakes, take the Soda Springs exit and follow Old Highway 40 west to Soda Springs Road. Travel on Soda Springs Road to Serene Road, which will take you around the lake. Note that access to Serene Lakes is only allowed on public roads.

The best season to visit these lakes is from June through October. However, Kidd Lake and Cascade Lakes are usually just mud holes by late summer.

Contact information:
Placer County General Information


  • Hiking
    To hike among the stunning mountain scenery is absolutely the best. Here on the side of Donner Summit, you’ll find numerous trails taking you into the backcountry of the Sierras. The Heath Falls Trail is on the north side of Cascade Lakes, 10 miles of a challenging (difficult) out-and-back hike.
  • Fishing
    There are fish in Serene Lakes to be caught, such as rainbows, brook trout and catfish. Long Lake is the best fishery among these five lakes.
  • Boating
    No motorboats are permitted on these lakes, but Kidd and Cascade Lakes are wonderful for paddling in the summer months. Take out a canoe, rowboat or kayak to enjoy the wonderful mountain sunshine.
  • Camping
    There is a campground at Kidd Lake for group camping. Find 10 sites that each accommodate up to 10 people.

Fun Facts

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, these beautiful lakes used to supply ice for the local railroad.