THIS hike takes 5 miles to reach the summit before it starts, with about 3,000' elevation gain!
I wish I would have known that before attempting it. I thought this would be a day hike. We didn't make it to even the 1st lake after the ascent because we didn't want to trek down too late, if we would have given this an early start we would have made it to at least see one. Most people hike the 4 lakes loop trail and camp overnight for a day or 3.
The wildflowers on the way up were gorgeous and the views of Shasta were worthwhile. It is quite a climb to reach the summit and not for the faint of heart. I can't only imagine with a few nights provisions it would be a very good workout.
Although we didn't make it all the way to L Lake, we did hike to Canyon Creek Lakes, and it was absolutely gorgeous! The holiday weekend made it a bit busier than I suspect it normally is, but due to the length of the trail, it didn't feel unbearably crowded. After reading about the impressiveness of the lower falls on summitpost.org, we decided to journey through the brush, and it was absolutely worth the scratches I got on my legs. We ended up setting up camp atop a boulder overlooking the falls (See photo). You can find this old trail at the top of a set of switchbacks, where a "TRAIL" sign will point you to the right; the falls are to the left, you can hear them roaring. The trail is generally well maintained, at least as far as we went. It was quite hot in places where the lush vegetation was replaced with steep granite that seemed to magnify the hot summer sun, and this coupled with the incline will certainly leave you sweating; however, I highly recommend the trail for the surrounding beauty, especially as a good multi-day hike, where you could easily spend as little as 2 or as many as 5 days exploring the area.
Highly recommended in Late June or early July. The trail head is easily accessible and there is ample parking. The first couple miles take you through beautiful pine forest before you emerge into the upper canyon. To the south you will see exposed red rocks, while to the north you will see exposed white granite - it almost feels like you are hiking in two canyons at once. There is a creek crossing where the trail can be a little tricky to follow but for the most part the trail is well-marked and well-maintained. At the top of the trail you will reach Bee Tree Gap and a view of Siligo Meadows. Turning south you have the option to proceed toward Echo Lake and turning North you will proceed to Deer Creek Pass and the beginning of the Four Lakes Loop. Outstanding scenery!
Remember to pack plenty of water or (better still) bring a water filter, as there is plenty to see, but the hike can be somewhat strenuous for novice to intermediate hikers.
Photo Album: http://imgur.com/a/xctqt
NOTE: As this site often does, multiple trails are joined under a single name. Long Canyon Trail is a 5.2 mile trial from Long Canyon Trail Head to Deer Creek Pass. The total distance of the trail as advertised here of 13+ miles include the Four Lakes Loop. Other sites will reference these as separate trails.
Ok so to start..the road is a fairly dangerous one to get to the trail head. The ranger will tell you it's 4 miles..it's not. It's 12+ to get to the trailhead. Keep going and you'll pass 1 lane or less cliff side and other cars. Once you get to the trail it's very clear. It was in the 50-60s all day and 20s at night the colors were great and fires are allowed so bring some shovels and fuel! Waterfalls were flowing too! Have a great time!
This trail was simply an eye opener as far as what backpacking can really be! Four ice cold lakes tucked into a gorgeous Alps like setting was more than a guy and his Dad could ask for. Hit it during the week and you will have it all to yourself. Diamond Lake on the other side of Siligo peak was like something out of a story book. Perfect little camp right under a towering pine by the lakes edge. Its quite a hike up to the loop but well worth it. A word of caution about the long canyon approach. The elevation gain is rough on the last third of the trail so be ready for a real trial on your legs.
The trail starts out moderately for the first 2 miles or so, but once you get out of the forest, the trail steepens & the scenery just keeps getting better! At the big red metamorphic rock outcrops, there's an option to scramble up the gully to Anna Lake & down to Bowerman meadows. Or continuing on the trail, you'll get to bee Tree Gap with incredible views of Siligo meadows & all it's ponds. You can continue down & to the Four Lakes Loop or Deer Creek Pass (to the right) or down &cross the creek to the left & go back up to Little Stonewall Pass & to a large pond & beautiful Echo lake.
One word. Amazing! This area reminds me so much of Yosemite and the Western Sierras. It is the crown jewel of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Never in my life have I seen so many waterfalls on a single hike (over 30, no joke), although you do need to travel a short distance off trial for the rewarding views. This is an excellent trip best spent over a few days.
We did this as a day-hike while we were camped (backpacked into) Echo lake. Also hiked to top of Siligo Peak for great views. Luella looked like it would be great for swimming, but there was already a large group swimming there, so I waited til we got to Summit lake for a very cool, but refreshing dip!
The mile inbetween the main Bowerman Meadows and the upper Meadows right below Lake Anna is supposed to be maintained trail. It is not. In fact, I couldn't find it at all after the feeder stream crossing that is approximately parallel to Granite Peak. Nonetheless, the rest of this trek is fantastic.
What a Nor Cal gem! This is a very rad trail which follows Canyon Creek the whole way to its primary source (Upper and Lower Canyon Creek Lakes). The elevation gain is gradual over the 10 mile or so course. There are plenty of spots to stop and camp along the way. Campfires are permitted up until about 1.5 miles from the Lower Lake.
We went in on Friday evening and set up camp before sundown at "The Sinks." It was a beautiful location right next to the creek and a gorgeous doe came into our camp to say hi. I believe it wanted food, which made me think someone's fed it before. Please don't feed them :).
We went on 5 more miles to the sign which marks the campfire boundary. Considering we were about 1.5 miles from the lakes, we set up camp again and went on to the Lakes. There are more EPIC waterfalls than can be counted on one hand and I recommend allowing time to explore them. The lakes provide gorgeous views as well that remind of the Eastern Sierras.
There's no wonder this is one of the most popular trails. Even still, the permits are free and unlimited still and people do a good job of not leaving to harsh of a mark on the wilderness. A GREAT TRAIL.
The trailhead is Hobo Gulch. 1/4 mile or so from the trailhead there is the choice to take the low water route or the upper route. Both trails have their good and bad points. The low water route has two wet river crossings that could be a real PITA if the water is swift or deep. The upper trail is steep as a bugger with a few downed trees. Pick your poison. I took the low trail in and the upper trail out. If I were to go again, upper both ways. I like keeping my boots on
After a good 4.5 miles or so you come to the fork in the trail. Left will take you to Grizzly lake, the right to Papoose lake. Continue right toward Papoose. The trail meanders up and down, not too bad through Rattlesnake canyon. Remember it is called Rattlesnake for a reason. Make sure to tap on downed logs. We only saw three rattleshakes but there were more we didn't...of that I'm pretty sure.
At the 10 mile mark, after a real tough stretch up through an exposed area you come to the Bob's farm junction. Stay to the right. In another quarter mile there are a couple of camp spots at Miller creek.
Great place to stop for the night...watch out for snakes and check yourself for ticks. Trust me.
From Miller Creek it is uphill, hot, and not real pleasant. Just keep walking and eventually, about two tough miles later you run into Enni Camp. Stop and eat in the shade, fill up your water.
FILL UP YOUR WATER AT ENNI CAMP. YOU WILL HAVE NO PLACE TO DO IT AGAIN UNTIL YOU REACH THE LAKE AND MOST OF THE APPROACH IS EXPOSED AND STINK-FACE HOT!!
The "Papoose Trail Proper" stops just after Enni Camp and the "Papoose Scramble" begins. Make sure as you head through the boulders that you follow the ducks (carins). The path is not hard to find, just use your head and don't rush. It is brushy, the scratches on my legs attest to that, and hot. Hydrate.
As you look ahead you see what appears a sheer cliff. Don't be afraid, there is a path. I call this the Pre-gate. Again, just follow the ducks. The path is rocky and steep but passable, just be smart. Risks are not required, the consequences of a mistake are as steep as the path. After the first wall another wall looms, the Gateway. The same strategy applies. Go slow, follow the ducks, and you will be fine.
From here you are not far from the lake but a very sketchy but totally doable path wraps you around the side of the mountain. The trail is not wide nor is it clear of hazards. Cosequences for a misstep here mean a 20 foot slide before a 300 foot drop. My guess is that you would at least sprain an ankle....at least.
Be smart, take no chances or risks, enjoy the adrenaline if you can, and as you get on stable footing you will see the lake and the sight will make all the nastiness forgotten.
Be extra careful on the way out, watch your step and your hiking partner(s). THERE IS NO REASON TO RUSH!!!
There were at least a dozen downed trees between Hobob Gulch and Rattlesnake Junction. There is a lot of history on the trail, some good views of peaks and old mining leftovers.
Enjoy your time, bury your poo but not your TP.
Above all....USE YOUR HEAD!