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This is a fun, moderate hike. The day we went it was incredibly windy, but we decided to soldier on. The hike below tree line is quiet and serene with moss-covered trees and typical fall foliage. We hiked in early fall, so no wildflowers, but it was still a gorgeous hike. We began our hike at 0730 and saw only hunters scouting for the upcoming hunting season as we ascended. The views are even more beautiful once you emerge from treeline with towering rock formations, exceptional views of the surrounding peaks, as well as the 3 lakes that frame this particular trek. Kirkwood Ski Resort seems almost touchable from a portion of the trail. The trail is rated as moderate and I agree, so if you are a novice hiker, pace yourself as the trail has few "level" areas with the exception of a couple saddles that give your legs (and lungs) a welcome break. Arrive early so you can summit and return without feeling rushed.

The summit itself is rather small, craggy, and requires a bit of scrambling to reach it. There are several small trails that lead to the summit, some easier than others, so choose carefully and remember to stay within your climbing ability.

It took us around 3ish hours to summit, walking at an easy pace and stopping to snap photographs along the way.

As we descended, we were glad we arrived early as we passed a steady stream of hikers on their way up.

All in all, a very nice hike. Remember to bring your camera or phone because the views are breathtaking. And honestly, what better way is there to make friends and family envious than to show them spectacular photographic evidence! :)

Great, fun hike! Pretty level throughout. Lots of rocks on the Western side, but the other side is a breeze! Will probably do it again sometime!

I gave this 4 stars because of how much traffic there was when we were there. We thought we wouldn't run into too many people due to the time of year and remote location. But there were literally 7 different parties of groups more than 5 people in each party. Everyone was nice, but we like minimal people when we go backpacking, as does everyone I guess :) but I guess maybe they all had the same ideas as we did? lol. :)

Start early in the morning. We started at 10 and we made it to the meadow after 7 hours of hiking. We are in decent shape, however we packed way too much weight. Each of us were carrying nearly 60 lbs! Way way way too much. There are spots to fill up with water once in the gulch, but the trail does steer away from the creek for a long while. I recommend refilling water bottles once you get to the first established campground at the bottom of the decent. Then you should be good to the next watering spot. Like others said before, the CCC did an awesome job clearing the trial! Thanks for the hard work CCC! The meadow is nice, as there were various campsites along the creek. We were worried that we would be close to all the other people, but we weren't. The first night we had two black bears check us out. We had a large dog with us, that warned us of them. They did not mess with us, but be prepared for large wildlife! After staying the night near the meadow, we hiked up the scramble. Follow the stacked rocks as that is the easiest way. The scramble is no joke, if you do not like heights, this might not be the most pleasant situation. Large boulders and steep cliffs grace you throughout the climb. Was a little worried as we were hiking up as people were coming down, knocking rocks towards us, which is something that happens with steep grades, but can be dangerous. If you get injured out here you are screwed, unless you have a gps device, which we did not :( We all concurred at this point, that we were foolish carrying such heavy loads going up the scramble. We finally made it to the lake after some weak knees and conquering some fears of heights. We were worried also about finding a campsite as there were so many parties that past us on the way up. We found a campsite though away from all the large parties to the left when you first get to the lake. We thought campsites would be minimal, but there are more than you think. The lake was amazing, but unfortunately it was very windy that day. The wind calmed at night and stars were spectacular. We were away from people and had no issues with enjoying our own private camp.

We ended up going back the next day to split our hike home in two days. Glad we did, as we had a person in our pack hurt their knee. So it was slow moving. So to wrap it up. Pack light, and prepare for a strenuous but unforgettable adventure!

backpacking
20 days ago

Beautiful hike. We hiked in to Middle Velma and spent the night, then hiked back out the next day. We drove up from the valley and started this cold turkey with no elevation acclimation so it sucked the oxygen out of us very quickly, especially since we all had on 40 lb backpacks. The climb up is like going on a stairclimber machine for 4 straight hours. For you novices, like me, the trail is rough, with rocks and granite steps and fallen logs and debris the whole way. Its not a nicely groomed trail that is easy to walk on. You better have sturdy shoes/boots to prevent ankle sprains. And I'm in pretty good shape as I exercise regularly. I was exhausted when we got to camp. But the lake was gorgeous. COLD water though. No bugs, just some annoying chipmunks that got into my snack stash. Next time I'll bring a pellet gun to deal with them... And we never saw any signs of bear, unlike some of the other reviewers stated.

Amazing destination. CCC crew has done a lot of trail maintenance. If you plan to sleep on the granite be sure to pack an insulated pad. The scramble is easy if you go way left but otherwise it can be a little sketchy. Well worth the hike.

Loved this one! Really well marked trails and a good mix of terrain and absolutely spectacular views. That being said, the trail up to round top is precarious! It’s hard to see where to go - it curves toward the front so as you’re going up, the lake is at your back. The trail down to 4th of July was hard to see - just as well, it’s a steep trek back up.

Loved this trail and would be an excellent place to backpack and set up camp! Beautiful views... experienced all this area has to offer weather wise. It rained, snowed, hailed and then it was like it never happened! Incline is pretty hefty first part of the trail. Coming down got to experience the sound of Bear. Never saw it though. Started at sunrise at finished at noon which was perfect because it was very busy then.

hiking
1 month ago

Overall a great hike! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a perfect day hike... Took us about 3 hours to hike in and 2 hours to hike out.

There is parking directly at the trailhead. Arrive early (before 8:30am) to get parking there; otherwise, you may have to park along the road closer to Fallen Leaf Lake.

The first mile or so of the hike is incredibly rocky. Be prepared to have unstable footing over large gravel and cobble stones (no boulders, though). This was mildly annoying, but fine if you have good hiking boots and decent balance.

Once on the trail, the directions are not entirely clear. Once you get to the Glen Alpine Spring Resort, follow the sign that points toward “trails to wilderness.” Past that, you will come across three wooden direction posts on your way to Susie Lake. At the first post, follow the arrow toward “Gilmore Lake.” At the second post, follow the arrow toward “Lake Aloha.” At the last post, follow the arrow toward “Susie Lake.” Susie Lake is less than a mile past the last post.

The lake itself is beautiful! We hung a hammock along the shore to eat our lunch (plenty of shade and trees) and enjoy the A+ views.

Depending on the time of year, water is pretty scarce along the trail until you get to the lake (we hiked this at the beginning of September). We packed a water filter and replenished our water at Susie Lake for our hike back down the trail.

Great hike. Stayed at wood lake campground. Host was great. Started from there. Lots of things to see, mine, snow, climbing, water to jump in and view from top was amazing.

excellent hike. if you are looking for a bit easier hike, I suggest you go from woods to winnemucca then Round Top back to to woods.

Awesome trail. Some tough spots prior to getting to the pass. Well worth the effort.

Beautiful views and pristine lakes. Fantastic hike.

To make this hike a little more interesting – as well as difficult – we climbed Thunder Mountain then walked over to Thimble Peak on the ridge above Kirkwood to the south. At 9805’, Thimble is about 400’ higher than Thunder, but a couple decent drops along the ridge make it all add up to about 800’ and 4 miles of extra hiking. The route to Thimble starts at the Horse Canyon Trail junction just below Thunder, then basically follows the ridge except in a couple places where it dips below on the west side to avoid large rocky outcrops. There’s not really a trail, but a faint footpath can be followed most of the way—nothing tricky or dangerous, just more miles and more climbing. At the summit there’s some moderate scrambling, though we avoided the actual highpoint in favor of sitting atop an adjacent spire that looked no more than 5’ lower. I’m too old (and too wise?) to try Class 3 climbs these days, and Thimble’s real summit block looked particularly harrowing. Nonetheless, we felt like we were sitting on top of the world and views in all directions were marvelous. Adding Thimble Peak to the standard Thunder Mountain hike made for a moderate-paced hiked that clocked in at 7 hours, 11.8 miles and 2851’ of elevation gain. Thimble Peak is a strenuous but adventurous and highly recommended option to the popular Thunder Mountain hike.

Lots of bird watching. Kid friendly

The trail from y Meadows to chewing Gum lake not maintained and is more like rock climbing

An amazing trail! Scenery is unparalleled. Trail is steep at first both up and down for first few miles, then steady up. Took us (average in shape guys) 6.5 hrs up to 1st camp. 1st camp for us was below the falls. 4.5 hrs back from 1st camp to trail head. Would recommend a 3-4 day excursion. One day up to camp (8.5 miles). Second day up to the lake and then up to peak. Then 3 rd day head back if your hurting for time. Stay an extra day and absorb the beauty. On the way back, if your headed NE, go to the kid friendly Etna Brewery for a stellar burger and home brewed root beer. I can’t wait to go back. I went with my 10 and 12 yr olds, but they are mentally tough and physically fit kids. Keep their packs 25 lbs or less.

backpacking
2 months ago

Beautiful, but there's a 600+ lb California Brown bear that's way to comfortable with people and knows how to bring down a properly hung bear bag.

hiking
2 months ago

My only complaint is the amount of morning sun ! Trailhead is an additional mile from parking area that the app doesn’t count. There were some beautiful waterfalls and streams along the way.

This one is a gem of an adventure. Led a group of about 18 people here for a backpacking adventure in June. Permits are free at the Ranger Station. Parked at the Woods Lake Parking and started the hike. The place is filled with Flowers which is awesome. Great views and nice small waterfalls along the way. See neat old broken rusted down carts. Some snow here and there but nothing to be worried about. This hike is pretty high in elevation so it was difficult because of that and the pack that we wore. Spent the night at Round Top Lake. Nice lake. I went in for a swim so did others. Its a nice lake. At night, the lake is SUPER windy and things will be flying. Not too cold though. In the morning around 630AM and it was super windy and chilly, hiked Round Top Summit which took about 2.5 hours. Its nice up there. The elevation made me tired and I hike quite a bit. Back at camp, cleaned up and hiked back down through Winnemucca lake which was nice. Great views of the place going down the hike. Lots of flowers. Recommended!

Beautiful and easy. Watch for crazy thunderstorms

I don’t want to tell anyone about this place because it was so beautiful!!! Hiked counter clockwise. Lots of rocks and unstable smaller rocks on the 7-10 o’clock side. But an absolute stunner of California!!

phenomenal hike

Right out of the gate is a large push uphill with decent elevation gain. Not bad from trailhead but coming back TO the trailhead is a burner. After peaking you will encounter sharp annoying brush that encapsulates you. this leads to a split, go left. Ensuing is an easy hike along the river and over a ridgeline. Eventually you hit the meadow which is nice but should be passed on for a campsite at the top of the ledge. The scramble isn't bad at all, a few areas with loose scree and dirt that should be used with caution, very possible to do with a large pack. Follow the cairns, approaching the scramble there is a rock slide to the left behind a small flower patch that appears to be the trail. Do NOT take this, very dangerous. The real path is more to the right. Larger granite slabs await at the top for the final push to the lake. Enjoy the views and take a dip. very refreshing.

plenty of water filling spots, gets very hot, alot 4-6 hours depending on shape. Possible in 3. Start very early to avoid sun. no boots necessary, used pair of keens and performed great. lots of tick opportunities,
deet up. road up in good condition. watch out for fallen rocks

First I want to start with the TH. The directions given are funky and confusing on the link of this site. I would follow this link for overall better information: https://hikemtshasta.com/trails-further-afield/trinity-alps-trails/grizzly-creek-trail/ I found that many people slept at the trailhead the night before. We slept at the North Fork Campground right at the turnoff to the TH. It is a pack in/out campground with a bathroom. We were the only ones there while the TH was crowded with cars. There seemed to be plenty of parking at the TH. Mileage on this site is very off! I had 2 GPS devices and both read just over 8 miles one way to the meadows and another 1 mile scramble to the top of Grizzly falls. This means that round trip it was just over 18 miles. Be prepared for that. This was a beautifully amazing hike that was extremely difficult. If you are in shape you will have no problem. There is plenty of water along the trail so you don’t have to pack it all. Camping is in the meadow and there is space across the water. The scramble was insane and going down was even a greater challenge. People were camping at the lake, but it is more exposed in thunderstorms, which there were when I was there. It was also 91 degrees which made this hike even a greater challenge. Wildlife and deer are plenty. DO not leave ANYTHING outside your tent except for the food you hang. The deer will eat it. They did that to my friend and several other hikers.
I highly recommend this hike for fit people who want an extra challenge. The views are stunning and worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this as a day hike with a stutdy 9 year old and a daypack from Eagle Falls starting at 8am in mid July. Steady climb for about 2 miles with great landscapes. As you descend towards the Velma lakes the trail crosses a stream, which I could imagine being easy to miss or inaccessible with higher flows. The trail gets within 200-300 yds of Middle Velma, you have to scramble through boulders to get to the shore which isnt too tough. Tried to fly fish the lake in a few spots but saw nothing. Heard the park service is clearing fish from these lakes to restore Yellow Legged Frogs, fwiw. Bring insect repellant. Passed many backpackers who had overnighted at Dicks, Fontanellis and elsewhere.

I hiked Thunder Mountain on July 14,2018. I have done many hikes and this hike was one of the prettiest hikes I have done. Due to late snow melting and a mild summer so far, this trail was decorated with hundreds of wildflowers and greenery. It felt magical walking through it.

The total miles to the summit and back is 8 miles. I suggest leave very early as most of the trail is exposed to sun. Also, the actual summit is extremely small (maybe big enough for a handful of people). I started the trail at 7am and I was the only person on the trail. I had the summit to myself for 40 minutes. When I started to head back down, I must have passed 20-25 people coming up. The parking lot was completely full.

The trail has many sections that are flat which allow you to take a break and catch your breath. The inclines can sometimes get to 30-35%, but very doable.

This trail is going on my annual hiking list!

10/10 would recommend! We went out towards Winnemucca first, crossed to Round Top Lake, dropped to Fourth of July Lake, and took the Woods Lake trail back. Does not disappoint!

Great hike from hwy 88 trailhead to top of Thunder mountain summit. Actually 8.5 to top and back. Amazing wild flowers all along trail. Breathtaking views!

Did this trail with my sister. It was my first time to squaw valley. It’s a very beautiful area. We were the first two to go on the updated trail. It’s a steady incline with a couple of mountain streams next to the trail. I used them dip my hat in and cool off. There are some really great meadows as well, and all the flowers were in bloom. It’s July, so it’s definitely a bit toasty. Make sure to bring a hat and sun block.

Went from Carson Pass to Round Top. The flowers are blooming and the weather great. Highly recommended hike. Go all the way to the top of Round Top for killer views!

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