Photo of Lower Lola Montez Lake,  Nevada County, CA

Lower Lola Montez Lake Fishing

Nevada County

Photo of Lower Lola Montez Lake, Nevada County, CA

Lower Lola Montez Lake

Lower Lola Montez Lake offers convenient access from Highway 80 near Donner Summit. A moderate hour-and-a-quarter hike brings you to its wooded shores where you'll likely find 12 to 15 inch rainbows cruising the shallows. It's a great place to take kids for an overnight of camping and fishing.

Getting to Lower Lola Montez Lake

From Interstate 80 west of Donner Summit take the Soda Springs exit. On the north side of the Interstate turn right immediately on Sherritt Road and drive for about one-half mile past the fire station to the well-marked trailhead for Lower Lola Montez Lake on your left.

In My Creel

  • Needlefish
  • Daredevle Skeeter
  • Rooster Tail
  • Mepp's Syclops
  • Berkley Power Bait
  • Kraft miniature marshmallows

I took a nice selection of spoons, spinners, and bait with me on my sojourn up to Lower Lola Montez Lake.

Photo of trailhead sign for Lola Montez lakes, Nevada County, CA

Parking is permitted along the road near the trailhead, but check the signs. The trail to Lower Lola Montez Lake crosses private property and alternates between dirt trail and gravel road. Although there are many side spurs along the way, the route to the lake is well marked so that it is easy to follow. Naturally you'll want to respect property rights by staying on the trail.

The hike to Lower Lola Montez Lake is 3.25 miles. With a few ups and downs you eventually gain 735 feet. You will start on a dirt trail but soon join a gravel road for a while. After about a mile the route turns up a steep section of trail. (A sign at the bottom of this portion of the trail claims it is 1.75 miles back to the trailhead, but this is incorrect. As I said, you've only come about a mile.)

At the top of the steep section the trail rejoins the gravel road and the grade becomes easier. As you near Lower Lola Montez Lake the road evolves into trail, leading you to a junction. Follow the sign to Lower Lola Montez Lake.

Accommodations and Supplies

After your day of fishing at Lower Lola Montez Lake you can find lodging available at nearby Soda Springs, Norden, or Cisco Grove. For a little more comfort, you may also want to cross over Donner Summit and head down to Truckee.

Campgrounds can be found at Kidd Lake and Donner Memorial Park. A host of National Forest campgrounds are located in the Truckee area. The best backpacking campsite at Lower Lola Montez Lake can be found to the right, near a shallow cove at the western end.

California's Best Camping logo

To find the very best campgrounds in the area and all across California, visit California's Best Camping.

Photo of Lower Lola Montez Lake, Nevada County, CA

Lower Lola Montez Lake

For complete information about campgrounds, lodging, and recreation around the Donner Summit area, see Around Donner Summit.

logo saying Around Donner Summit

The Soda Springs Store (8am-7pm) near the trailhead carries a small selection of basic fishing supplies. Other places to pick up supplies on your way to Lower Lola Montez Lake include the following businesses:

Recommended Books for Fishing Grouse Ridge


You can follow the trail from the junction to Upper Lola Montez Lake if you wish or you can make a more direct cross-country climb from the lower lake. The upper lake is 400 feet above its lower sister. 4-wheel access to the upper lake has kept me away from it. Just north of Lower Lola Montez Lake is a little pond known as Hole in the Ground. I'd be tempted to go there just to see what it was like. It's part of a popular mountain biking loop, however.

By following the Hole in the Ground loop trail you can also reach Sand Ridge Lake to the north, although it is not known for its fishing.

Photo of Castle Peak, Nevada County, CA

Castle Peak from the Montez Lake Trail

Nearby Featured Trips in Nevada County: