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The ascent up Sand Ridge Trail can be difficult, but beautiful views from the top. Beautiful and not heavily trafficked.

Great 4 day hike. Late start camp at Island Lake, 5 Lakes via Sand Ridge, Glacier Lake, Round Lake, out. 5 adults, 2 kids. Meteors.

Kicked my butt trail. Nice elevation change. Wish the smoke wasn’t there right now. A lot of the normal views were not visible but the hike was a lot of fun and I’m so glad that people have kept the trail so clean.

Amazing trail. This was my first coastal hiking, and as the other reviewers said here, it is important to download a tide chart and understand how to read it as there are two 4-mile stretches of impassible zones.

I found low tide easier to hike because the sand was more packed, and I could avoid more of the cobblestone type rocks. The northern impassible zone would likely be truly impassible in my experience (I travelled at full moon and very light surf and winds) - I hit that part at receding tide and even then some areas were iffy.

The impassible zone south of Miller flat may be doable in high tide with calm conditions, but I wouldn’t risk it.

The views, solitude and wildlife make this trail one of my all time favorites. I bought a map, rented a bear canister and got a free tide chart from the lost coast adventures shuttle.

Please note that there is no cell service in Settlers Cove and anywhere along the coast - so plan in advance.

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.

Super nice and diversified trail! We did it as a half day hike (a little bit under two hours to the highest lake). In my opinion more a MODERATE then a hard hike (there for sure is a rocky section tho). The first 0.5 mile of the trail is a little tricky to follow, I was glad I brought my phone for GPS. Bring your dog and plan on taking a dip in the lake(s)!

I thoroughly enjoyed this hike and highly recommend it. Its a first for me going to this park and am very glad I gave it a shot.

Some notes:

1) Bring a bathing suit and water shoes if you can! The lakes are very nice to swim in in the summer and are not nearly as cold as you'd think they are.

2) There is no cell reception within 45 minutes of the park, so make sure you download everything you need to and have a solar charger or battery backup with you.

3) The sand is a real downer but its not the whole way, less than half. Just make sure you are prepared for sun for the sections that are fully exposed. Even in full sun, the breeze makes it very tolerable.

I agree that it is a hard hike, especially coming back down. If you have a knee issue, use poles to soften the impact on the rocks, tree roots and just altogether steep and rugged trail terrain. The lakes are worth all the hard work to reach them. Middle Loch Leven is about 6 miles RT, but don’t get fooled by the shorter mileage. It’s still tough go. I have thought to make it a shuttle by putting a car at the Salmon Lake TH & hiking out by way of Salmon Lake & in at the Loch Leven TH. This would make hiking out less strenuous on folks with knee problems like I have.

Cons:
- 5+ hour drive to Bay Area
- $80 shuttle ride not including tip
- Walking long stretches on wet, unstable rocks
- Lots of poison ivy
- Had to climb portions of rock that are very dangerous where tide came in too high
- Walking at an angle in sand that is not packed down at all, caused foot injury for me
- Lot of people backpacking the trail
- Tides coming in and out very stressful, reaching and finishing impassable zones challenging
- Zero marking on trail
- Bear footprints on beach
- Very difficult to be rescued in this area and is dangerous enough to be a concern
- no cell service
Pros:
- Beautiful scenery
- Some private campsites

My boyfriend and I are avid backpackers and completed this trail in 2 nights/3 days in mid July.
I did not enjoy it and found myself looking down for a lot of the trail trying to stay balanced on the rocks. I personally do not find walking on rocks to be enjoyable when backpacking. My boyfriend liked the trail because of the challenge. For me, it was too difficult to enjoy. I thought this trail would be mostly walking on sand and did not factor in the rock aspect or stress with the impassable tide zones. There were a lot of people hiking the trail and I was hoping to be a little more isolated than that. There was one very sketchy portion of the trail we encountered on the first day where the water on the beach was too high so we had to climb up and over a portion of rocks that was very dangerous with some other people who took the same shuttle as us. (note: this was not at high tide) The one upside was that the scenery was beautiful. However, I advise really knowing what you are getting into, this is not an easy or moderate trail by any means.

To save on driving I started the walk from Summit Lake and set off clockwise at ~6AM. I'm in reasonable walking shape and hoped to finish in around 8h-8h30 but this took me about 9h15 so do not underestimate it.

This is an outstanding walk that covers a huge variety of different terrain in a very compact walk. Each of the lakes are stunning, particularly in the early morning light and the walk up Cinder Cone is fortunately not too strenuous if you take it slow and steady.

Doing this as a day hike I found the section from Snag Lake to Rainbow Lake to be particularly punishing, in part because it was the middle of the day with some strong sun. If you're also interested in doing this as a day hike and think you won't fully seize up, it may very well be worth taking a long break at Snag Lake to allow the midday sun to pass.

Strongly recommended, the only downside is all the damn sand.

This trail kicked my butt! Thankfully I went with a group who knew the trail, otherwise I never would have been able to stay on track. There are portions where you’re climbing/hiking over big slabs of rock and I still have no idea how they knew which way to go. I’d definitely recommend having this mapped out before losing service (although my phone worked the whole time). The views were beautiful at the top, but this is definitely strenuous; it was uphill the entire way. My group hiked up to the second lake because it wasn’t much further and it was worth it. We stopped there and had lunch, got in the lake, and then went back. Be prepared to work hard and bring lots of water because you’ll need it! The way down was a little rough too just because it’s very steep and my poor knees felt the impact the next day. Overall- great workout and beautiful lakes.

mountain biking
18 days ago

Do not attempt on a mtb. I couldn't find any info saying it's not allowed. You'll find yourself carrying your mtb 80% of the time and that's from RR tracks and down. Was not fun.

Definitely deserving of the hard rating. Hiking boots are a MUST, seen far too many people wearing tennis shoes which won't have enough grip for the granite faces near the base of the falls. After carefully navigating up the faces and once you enter the talus fields, Take time to visualize a route after each section of the climb, lot better use of your time than having to backtrack to find the right route through the talus fields. Climb over 800 feet of vertical in about a 1/4 mile. Hike evens out at the top of the falls, but all the effort is rewarded by mountain peaks as far as the eye can see. Clocked 8.4 miles, but wondered around Ropi Lake for about two hours before heading back. I've hiked this trail numerous time, so with my knowledge of the routes going up the falls, this hike only takes about 5 hours while spending 2 hours at Ropi Lake. Great Lake to swim and rest on the granite slabs in the sun at.

Absolutely beautiful area! We hiked in from Lovers Camp TH and spent one night at Sky High Lakes. The second and third nights we spent at Summit Lake with a day hike to Campbell Lake. And the fourth night we hiked into Red Rock Valley and camped near a meadow and creek confluence. Despite part of the trip being on a weekend, we didn't see all that many people and it was very peaceful. Our trip was at the end of June and the mosquitoes weren't nearly as bad as other mountain lakes I've camped at. I loved the variety of the terrain, the views, and the wildflowers were stunning.

backpacking
22 days ago

Took my kids up to the middle lake for two nights. The lake was beautiful and perfect for swimming with some great jumping rocks. Trail was rocky and steep at times. Did it in running shoes and regretted not having hiking boots. We were tired so decided not to head up to the upper lake, also heard it was pretty crowded up there. The lakes were beautiful but the rocky trail was tough on the feet. Would do it again!

backpacking
25 days ago

Up hill to lake..lake seemed to be dead ( no fish) pretty but better hikes

A beautiful trip! If you’re decently in shape and have good balance, you can do this trip in 2 full days, but it’s nice to have some extra time to soak in the beauty.

Definitely wear waterproof hiking boots so you don’t roll your ankle (you probably will anyways. There is barely any elevation gain, but you will be walking on the slanted beach, which feels odd after many miles of repetitive strain. Bring layers!

You need a permit and a bear canister. We saw bear prints in the sand. There aren’t many trees hang your food from.

The impassible zones are indeed impassible at high tide! Make sure you check the tide chart, or get ready to be very wet. We went about an hour after a moderately high high tide and were chased by many waves. It was very fun, but know what you’re getting into.

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

A lot less strenuous than I thought. Nice three day trip!

Great hike, but hot this weekend (Mid July). Bring lots of water. Plan to swim or bring a float to enjoy the beautiful lakes.

backpacking
27 days ago

This was a superb trail, and the falls are unbelievable! We camped at heath falls overlook and hiked down to the falls for day trips, very sweet situation. Went in mid July, lots of water, great trails well defined by way of cascades lake trailhead. We met a few homies who came in from the south end, sounded pretty steep, and it seems their trail put them out right near the main falls south of the bridge.

backpacking
28 days ago

Worth the views and almost a hidden gem! We backpacked this in June and had the trail and campsite (next to waterfall) to ourselves. Perfect for a 1-2 night trip and great for beginner backpackers.

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.

This is an Absolutely gorgeous hike. Fun scrambling up and down. It was very quiet and peaceful at Ropi lake.

recently backpacked loch levens for an overnighter. trail is mostly uphill and rocky, but not horrible. The hike was quick and lower loch leven had a great camping spot towards the back. Overall, was a great hike and camp.

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing experience. Standard Avalanche Gulch route, rather late in the 2018 season (July 6th-7th). In retrospect, worth doing earlier for more snow on the approach, which was instead a lot of scree.

Additional reason for doing earlier is the hazardous rock fall danger. In fact, rock traveling ‘warp-speed’ split my roommate and I (we were no more than 10’ apart) on the gulch ascent (3am start) from Helen Lake to the Red Banks. Made for an extremely unnerving remaining ~1k’ up past the Heart. Apparently better to get later start (~4am) this late in the season re: rock fall + wind.

After the Red Banks (steep) chimney, and magical sunrise Shasta shadow to the south, Misery Hill was indeed a slog, all scree at this point.

Final push on summit plateau was inspiring, only ~250’ of elevation remaining to the summit. *Make sure to get updated forecast (storms/wind) and worth bringing an anemometer, as we were surprised with near 50 mph winds while summiting (8:15am). Ideally less than ~40mph at the top, as we barely felt comfortable getting to the register.

All in all, an incredible introduction to mountaineering. We went unguided after much research and planning, but benefited from linking up with 2 other small groups. Fun Glissade on the way down. Total RT time from Helen up and back was ~8 hours, but included some leisurely breaks. Crampons and axe almost certainly required.

While others are a priority now, definitely would revisit Shasta in the future, potentially on more technical routes with some more experience. 9/10, only due to rockfall moment and the scree.

Have done this hike about a dozen times. Found it easiest to stay closer to the falls when scrambling up to Avalanche Lake. Look for the heavy brush area once you're at the top of the main fall and remember that trail that goes through it on your way back! I see a lot of people miss it and stick too close the water, hit a dead end and have to hike back up. Personal opinion is don't bring a dog if you're going this route up to the lakes.

Day hike, over night camping, fishing, dog friendly and beautiful granite basin lake to swim!

well deserved hike went in on walked in on Sunday before 4th of July very very busy parking lot was full must cross paths was about 18 other hikers walking down the hill it well physical demanding Trail. took our time going in to soak it all in first night stayed probably about a mile past the hobo hobo Gulch intersection. continue the next morning to The Meadows which were beautiful time we got there there was no one left in the Meadows sub for one small group that ended up going back down Sunday night so we have the Whole Meadow to ourselves which was awesome. the next morning we proceeded to Summit Caesars Peak. it was awesome I cannot explain words and pictures cannot Define the beautifulness of our Northern California area. downside numerous people decided to leave the trash in Camp. and Scattered about the trail I just reminder people if you want to continue exploring places like this pack in and pack out.

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