Rattlesnake Creek to Papoose Lake

HARD 1 reviews
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Rattlesnake Creek to Papoose Lake is a 23.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Weaverville, CA that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is accessible from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

23.2 miles 6866 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

over grown

rocky

scramble

snow

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 impassable if the water is swift or deep. The upper trail is steep, with a few downed trees. 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. 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 for ticks. 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 and hot. Hydrate. As you look ahead you see what appears a sheer cliff. Don't be afraid, there is a path. 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. Use your best judgement and do not proceed if you cannot do so safely. 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. 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!!! Above all....USE YOUR HEAD!

hiking
3 years ago

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.
I repeat...
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!