Lake Jenkinson at Sly Park

Hike El Dorado County

By Stephanie Silva March 2, 2024

As we transition from the wet and stormy Winter days into blossom filled Spring, my mind goes straight to one of my family's favorite activities, hiking! Hiking has so many benefits for our whole being; fresh air, connection with nature, exploration and physical activity, just to name a few. As my family hikes through our favorite destinations, and find some new gems, I welcome you to follow along on our journey. 

First stop, Jenkinson Lake at Sly Park. This location is one that we have come to multiple times over the years. This spot has become a favorite due to the family friendly hiking options, swimming opportunities and of course the Park Creek Waterfall, but Sly Park has so much more to offer including: fishing, boating, water paddle rentals, horse trails and camping. 

With a day pass only costing $15 per car, this is a great budget friendly activity. We typically pack up a picnic and plenty of water and spend our day completely unplugged enjoying all that nature has to offer. On our most recent trip, we were lucky enough to witness the ladybug migration and we even found a California Salamander!

There are a few ways to get to the Park Creek Waterfall depending on how long you want your hike to be. For a shorter hike at around 2.2 miles round trip you can park at the Hazel Creek Campground lot. For a longer hike that takes you around the lake, take the Freedom Trail/Liberty Nature Trail which will be a 4.2 round trip hike. All the trails are very well maintained and there are bathrooms at the start of each trail head. Please remember to leave no trace and stay on designated trails so as not to disrupt the ecosystem. We hope you have fun and add it to your family's must do list. Happy hiking!