Formerly known as the Salmon-Trinity Alps Primitive Area, the Trinity Alps Wilderness is located 50 miles west of Redding California. The area contains the Wild and Scenic Trinity River in the south and the Wild and Scenic Salmon River in the north. Numerous rushing streams feed into these rivers, many of them emerging from the region's 55 lakes. Scattered stands of timber, most of them virgin, are opened by large meadows with wildflowers in July and August, and shadowed by barren rock cliffs and stark peaks with elevations up to 9,000 feet. Black bears are common (despite the name, they're often colored brown or blond), sharing the area with an abundance of other wildlife species. As much as 12 feet of snow falls on the high country every year. Currently the entire Wilderness (one of the state's largest) is situated on, and managed solely by, the USFS. The Trinity Alps Wilderness contains a total of 550 miles of maintained trails. Numerous loop hikes are available, requiring three to five days to complete. Seventeen miles of the Pacific Crest Trail run through the northern part of the wilderness. There are many areas within the wilderness capable of providing opportunities for solitude.
What a treat! This is a hard hike and took me about 7 hours to get to the meadow. If you plan to go to the lake from the trailhead give yourself plenty of time. The hardest part besides the scramble at the end is the long uphill at the beginning followed immediately by a taxing downhill. Nothing crazy just long. After the hard down you take a long gradual climb to the meadow. What a sight once you finally come into the meadow. Truly an amazing place. Plan to go in mid spring to see the falls raging. I'm not sure if you can cross the falls when they are running hard though. If not your camp sites are limited!
Be aware! When heading up the scramble stay left, there is a point where the trail splits and the left side looks harder than the right. Don't be fooled it's not bad, the right is almost a downright rock climb and there were times I was unsure of our situation. Totally worth every step you take!
One more note, the trailhead is on 37N07, also known as rays gulch I believe, and not 37N02 as labeled on this site. Heading towards 37N02 though you will see signs, follow them they are right.
We actually did the China Gulch TH to Grizzly Lake for a 3 day, 2 night trip. What a workout and amazing experience! The lake was so beautiful. I plan to go back again next year in mid July to see the wildflowers and hopefully experience the falls. I'd love to extend the trip by a day or two and try to summit Thompson Peak.
This was my first hike since quitting a 38 year pack a day cigarette habit 8 weeks ago. I am also about 50 lbs overweight at 240. I would say it was taxing to say the least on the uphill portions and down right brutal coming back up the hill to hunters camp. My brother and I left China Gulch trailhead at 8am and reached the end of the Meadows and set up camp. No time to make the lake but a 3 day hike planned to make the lake and Thompson peak soon. I think sheer stubbornness got my butt up that hill.
Canyon Creek is one of my favorite trails to hike, backpack, and explore. The scenery is amazing especially when you go at different times of the year to experience the changes with water run off. Simply breath taking! Love it... A must do!
excellent trail, plenty of places to fill up on water, if you get a chance definitely hike to the upper lake, then walk around to the meadow on the other side. it's a great place to camp and see lots of wildlife. For a short day hike go 1/4 mile north up the inlet and you'll see a nice waterfall aka "hotel falls."
only issue: after mile 10, closer to the lakes your not allowed to have campfires.(too keep the forest healthy)
Taking into consideration the holiday weekend (we spent Memorial Day holiday here) it was a pleasant trip. Overcrowded, but the beautiful scenery absolutely made up for it. The moderate trail rating is well deserved, especially with a full pack. Bring plenty of water for the hike in and a purifier for camping. We also hiked to Thompson Peak and were rewarded with world-class views of Tangle Blue, Trinity Lake, Mt. Shasta, and the surrounding Alps and mountain meadows. Fishing was rewarding also - we enjoyed a fresh Brook trout dinner our last night there. A must for all Trinity hikers and backpackers.
Incredible if you possess the desire to go beyond the upper lake you will find some hidden adventures full of back country high alpine beauty. L lake is above to the NE and a wonderland full of waterfalls and soul rebuilding views awaits to the NW. This hike and is difficult and for the experienced hiker seeking some away time off the trail. If you really feel the need to explore take the high routes up around wedding cake or meander your way up to Kalmia.
I absolutely adore this area and feel at peace when I pass the upper lake and into the higher elevations the wildlife is beautiful the views breath taking and the energy that will restore your spirit.
Our group headed up to the lakes for the long weekend. It was fantastic. The trail was well maintained, scenic, and rewarding. We attempted the summit of Thompson Peak during the second day, swam in the lakes, and enjoyed the incredible stars at night. Even though it was highly trafficked, we were still able to enjoy solitude. Will definitely return.