Sign at Salmon Lake near Loch Leven Lakes
Salmon Lake is a an alpine body of water in an elongated granite bowl surrounded by polished slopes, granite terraces and an open conifer forest with the Tahoe National Forest. This small lake is located between Huysink Lake and the Loch Leven Lakes, south of the South Yuba River in the Sierra Nevada, Placer County, California [1-3].

Similar to the Loch Leven Lakes, Salmon Lake is a destination for hikers and backpackers. However, the number of campsites is very limited, fishing is poor and swimming is more enjoyable in the lochs [4]. I didn't find the Salmon Lake water as clear as the refreshing water of the Loch Leven Lakes (September 2, 2012). Yet, being less crowded and rimmed by interesting granite formations, Salmon Lake is an exciting place to visit and explore.

Under Stop #7 in his informative, hands-on Sierra College natural history article, J. L. Medeiros writes about the trees and shrubs you are likely to encounter in the lake basin [5]. For example, he describes the occurrence of high-elevation dwarf manzanita, known as pinemat manzanita (also written as pine-mat manzanita): “Both Green-leaf manzanita (large shrub) and Pine-mat manzanita can be found together at this transitional elevation. Higher up, only Pine-mat species will persist.” Indeed, for many months of a typical year, those shrubs at higher elevation are covered by long-lasting snow loads that keep the plants close to the ground, where they have to master their survival.
Salmon Lake near Loch Leven Lakes

Salmon Lake surrounded by rocks, conifers and shrubs

Pinemat manzanita between Salmon Lake rocks

Pinemat manzanita between Salmon Lake granite rocks

References and maps

[1] Mapcarta: Salmon Lake [].
[2] Map of Loch Leven Lakes and Salmon Lake area.
[3] Mike White: Afoot & Afield, Reno-Tahoe, A comprehensive hiking guide. Wilderness Press, Berkeley, California, 1st Edition August 2006, 2nd printing 2008, pp. 83-85.
[4] Section Salmon Lake (secondary route) in Hiking & Nature Trails in Placer [].
[5] J. L. Medeiros: A Naturalist's Transect along the I-80 Corridor in California: Rockin to Donner Pass [].

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