Saddlebag Lake: the highest lake in California that you can drive to
Saddlebag Lake is a high mountain lake at an elevation of 3.091m (10,141ft) above the sea level, located in Mono County, in the east central portion of the U.S. state of California. It’s one of the highest roads of California. It’s said to be the highest drive-to lake in the region.
Located east of the Sierra Nevada, within the Inyo National Forest, near the east entrance to Yosemite National Park, the road to the lake is a well marked dirt road. It’s called Saddlebag Lake Road. It is generally open to vehicle traffic only from late spring (usually late May or early June) through mid-fall (usually until the first significant snowfall in November). The road offers breath-taking views of beautiful lakes and majestic mountains. This is bear country.
In 1919, the Southern Sierra Power Company built the dam. It’s said to be the highest drive-to lake in the region. Small RV's or short trailers only, no RV hook ups. It is very low traffic. The road ends at Saddlebag Lake Resort, with a parking lot, a campground and a store where you can purchase food, drinks, and water taxi tickets. Starting from Tioga Road, the ascent is 4.02km (2.5 miles) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 179 meters. The average gradient is 4.47%.