Mt. Lola is a wonderful way to spend Independence Day. The Mt. Lola Trail has ample parking at the trailhead and the trail is well marked and well graded. It's a long walk so be prepared.
I started off at daybreak to beat the heat of the day. The trail heads almost directly south, parallel to and on the east side of the Cold Stream. The stream is quite a ways down the slope from the trail for the first couple of miles. Enjoy all the wildflowers on the trail here and all the way through the Big Meadow.
When thr trail pops up to a 4WD road, make note of your surroundings so you can find the same spot on your return. It is not marked. You could also walk all the way down the 4WD road to your access road and then walk back down to the car. Cross the bridge on the road and then the trail begins just a few yards past the bridge on the left. Watch for it or you will miss it. This isn't marked either.
The Cold Stream Meadow is big and beautiful with lots of flowers. At the south end of the meadow the road comes back to the trail and I saw someone camping near the stream at this spot. Really beautiful setting.
From here the trail zigzags under the trees up the canyon, crossing Cold Stream several times. No big problems here, I didn't get my socks wet, but I wear full size boots and 4" of water isn't a problem. Near the top of the canyon at about 8,000 ft there were patches of snow that I had to cross, but there was no problem losing the trail. It was fairly obvious and there were bootprints from other hikers.
The snow patches became a little more extensive near the ridge top. The trail hits the ridge top about 1/2 mile east of Mt. Lola. I just headed up the ridge line avoiding the steep snow sections because they were slippery and walking in the dirt on the left was easier. At about 9,000 ft the snow patches ended and it is easy to just follow the trail to the summit.
There is great snow shelter on the south side of the summit. Take time to look it over. I took the time to follow the ridge line over to North Lola because I am a County Highpointer and North Lola is the high point of Sierra County. Lola is the high point of Nevada County. I ate my lunch and enjoyed the views all around.
I retraced my steps on the way down and met several hikers and mountain bikers who were on their way up. I guess they slept in on Independence Day. On the way down, I couldn't resist tasting the water of Cold Stream and on one of the many crossings enjoyed the cool water. It was starting to warm up getting back to the car, so make sure you bring lots of water and sunscreen.
Total trip took about 6 hours and with North Lola totalled over 13 miles and about 3,000 ft of elevation gain.