Paradise Valley (lying west of the lake and just above the Pacific Crest Trail) contains one of the loveliest meadows in these parts. The handcrafted meadow is threaded by blue ribbons of the photogenic North Creek and shadowed on the south by Yosemite-sized cliffs. You’ll want to catch the sunlight for the perfect picture. I did, and as a result got back to my car well after dark.
Paradise Lake is stocked with rainbow (2001). Hike and view are usually better than fishing -- but then views are terrific, especially if you scramble the few feet to the Crest. That’s Warren Lake in the gorge to the east. Paradise Lake is one of my all-time favorites.
No bikes on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail).
Topographic Maps: Norden, Independence Lake.
Follow Pacific Crest Trail north 8.9 miles from trailhead and cross North Creek in Paradise Valley below the meadow. Turn right (east) uphill either on a faint, old 4WD road (shown as Paradise Trail on Donner Summit Map). Or simply parallel North Creek around the meadow and continue up until it ends at a granite graveyard within ½ mile (west) of the Crest. Then scramble over the rock up the last 1/3 mile.
The PCT and the Paradise Trails are suitable for horses. It is only the last 1/4 mile that requires scrambling over sheer granite slap that is not recommended for horses.