Sky High Lakes and Marble Mountain Rim is a 12 mile out and back trail located near Somes Bar, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, horses, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.
If you take the PCT section to the right, you come around the top side of the ridge and it's much better!
First real backpacking trip. Entered at lovers camp and camped at little elk lake. Lots of deer and lots of bear. Trail is very fun and was challenging to me being green and all. Lake was stocked with small trout but I pulled out a pretty large one(adjusted for the setting). Very fun adventure and I will be back. Maybe consider waders for creek passage.
It's been 6 years since taking our pilgrimage. This was my wife's favorite hike and during the 15 years we hiked the Trinities, Marble, Russian and Siskiyou Wilderness lake trails I think we trekked to Sky High Lakes 6 times. It's a vast area offering great seclusion. 2 major lakes and a "frying pan" lake make up the valley. There are a lot of steps to take going up and hikers with troubled knees should consider using a pole. It's not hard but has a relatively constant climb (and descent). I love the large grove of aspen you find as you approach the lakes. We felt like the hike was perhaps a 14 mile round trip which was our preferred route though we took the loop trail back one time. Going West up the trail toward Marble Mountain you come to a point where the sign says something like: narrow trail not suitable for horses. There is a trail down from there that reconnects with the Lovers Camp trail completing the loop. I highly recommend it though it adds a few extra miles. The marble massif is an incredible sight. We had no problems finding our trails but I wouldn't try it without GPS and a great map when going in the early season snow.
Mid Summer the trail gets pretty dusty due to the pack trains bringing fishing groups into the lakes. We found it best to get there in late June or late September and bring "Off" spray with you. We heard critters approaching the tent and sniffing around most night but that's just part of the fun. There were cattle in the lower valley area but they never came around us. There is little firewood and it takes a lot looking to get enough for an evenings fire. Logical campsites have been occupied in half a dozen different spots but in my mind, the premo spot is on a little peninsula jutting out into the big lake about 30 feet. It has a tree on it and a great place to spend a couple days. I know we have been lucky but in perhaps 800 day trips and overnighters during our NorCal hikes we never had our car broken into at any trailhead.
The PCT route is on the ridge above the valley and occasionally some hikers will come down to camp in the valley rather than at Shadow lake (pond) up on the ridge. There are so many lakes in NorCal and so little time but we tried. Sandra passed 4 years ago but we counted more than 60 destination lakes during that time from Devil's Punchbowl in Siskiyou down to Caribou in Trinity. Most were repeat trips with Upper Wright Lake (7400') being another favorite. Now that is a challenging lift to make using the Boulder Creek trailhead!
Great trail, although half of the trail is still under snow till mid June. Beautiful views, lots of wildlife and moderate hike.