Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada

Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada

The Angel Lake Rec Area is a popular hiking, fishing, and camping spot just outside of Wells, Nevada. You've probably seen the brown sign off I-80 for this area, but drove past. I'm here to tell you its worth the stop! Not only is this area very dog and kid friendly, but the lakes, views, and surrounding peaks make this a very enjoyable visit. The shortest hike in the area is Smith Lake, at just 1.3 miles one way. 


The trail itself is very easy to follow, but there's zero shade for a bulk of the hike. It's only when you get to within 0.3 miles of the lake that you hike on the NE slope of the mountain and have trees for shade. The views to the East can't be beat, as you get higher above Wells and can see several mountain ranges from here.

I visited this area as a solo, overnight trip with Charlie. On our first day, after we made the drive out, we started out with the hike to Smith Lake. This lake is accessible and best seen in late Spring or Fall. Summer is pretty hot, and the sandy trail can potential burn dogs' paws. Winter would be unsafe, as you hike across very steep terrain - the perfect angle and zone for frequent avalanches. Charlie and I actually hiked this on Halloween Day, and there were only a handful of people at Angel Lake (you can drive right to it), and only saw two other hikers the entire weekend when I hiked back to my car from Smith Lake. Overall, I was very impressed with this hike and was surprised how pretty it was!

While I just drove down a dirt road and camped for free, there are two actual campgrounds called the Angel Lake CG or the Angel Creek CG you can make reservations at. Both looked nice and clean, but again, zero shade. They are only open certain dates, so be sure to check those on each of their websites linked.



Google maps will sometimes want to take you South on HWY 93, and then cut over. There is actually no road to get through! So follow this instead (mapped linked below). In Wells, NV take exit 351. At the bottom of the exit turn left, and then after you go under I-80, take an immediate right. Now all you have to do is follow this road all the way up to Angel Lake. So much easier than what Google says!

Here is a driving map.



Distance: 2.6 miles RT
Elevation gain: 700 ft
Time: 1-3 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Yes, all ages
Fees/Permits? None


Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
View driving towards Angel Lake. 
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
You can drive all the way to Angel Lake. The parking lot is huge, there is a port-a-potty, and a few picnic tables at the edge.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
To hike to Smith Lake, park at the lower parking lot off to the right, near the Campground entrance.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
The trail gradually curves it's way back towards the lake and then away.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Hike through a field of low brush. Thankfully for this hike you don't need to wear pants to protect your legs but it was cool enough that I did.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Pass through the gate.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
It will feel as if you are hiking in the wrong direction, away from the lakes but around 1/2 mile you will reach the trail split. Stay left.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Great views as you keep getting higher.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Now you really gain some elevation as you get closer to the lake. Notice how steep this slope is from left to right? This is why you wouldn't want hike this in winter. High avalanche danger with a slope this steep.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Ahh we made it! Charlie soaks up some late evening sun.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Smith Lake was so pretty, I was very surprised. There were about 2-3 campsites as well if you wanted to do an easy overnight trip. I was sweating so much that by the time I got to the lake I was down to my base layer tank top.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Halloween Day and the lake had a frozen layer.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Charlie and I explored high above the lake to get a sweet view. It was steep and tough! Time to head back before we lost daylight.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
Loving my new light set up! Prior to these lights, I had a much heavier string of lights and it kept popping off my magnet holder on the ceiling. I switched to these Fairy lights and they work so much better! I just bought a second set to hang above my head. Gives it such a nice, cozy feel inside especially during long winter nights.
Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada
I'll be honest - I'm lazy when it comes to cooking when I'm by myself camping. I just don't want to bring all the gear - stove, fuel, cooler, real food, etc. It's so much easier to just bring my JetBoil and make dehydrated meals. Lasagna is my favorite! Couldn't get over my sunset view as I ate dinner too over my tiny table.

Watch my video!



 
My track via Gaia GPS - the best tracking app!




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Hiking to Smith Lake via Angel Lake Trail, Nevada


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