Explore the most popular birding trails in Trinity Alps Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great night or two backpacking destination. Warning, water is cold until late summer though!

I did this trail with my best friend when she graduated from Humboldt. It was the best backpacking trip ever! Beautiful and lots of camping places to choose from. We spent a few nights at the top just enjoying the wilderness. It requires a pass at the ranger station with a brief review of where you’ll be along the trail and how many nights you’re camping there.

fishing
8 days ago

The reviews aren't wrong. This hike is definitely worth it, but man, it is straight uphill. Make sure to bring a lot of water. My buddy and I brought a gallon + two pints between the two of us and nearly ran out by the time we got to the lake. Not an easy hike.

We also got pretty damn close to two black bears on our way back which was a bit scary. All in all certainly worth it though. Gorgeous lake.

A note on fishing: as the hike is pretty strenuous I thought the fishing would be good (thought the difficulty would deter others). It wasn't terrible fishing but it also wasn't better than mediocre. Fish were pretty small and we only got a few bites in four hours on the water. The lake is also super hard to get around which confines you to only a couple fishing spots on one end of the lake.

This is an AMAZING hike. We luckily hiked it a few weeks ago before the fire started and did it as a day hike. The ascent is an ass kicker, especially the last mile. It’s worth overnighting simply to allow more time at all the awesome features. There are multiple waterfalls and swimming holes not to mention the lake at the top! In my opinion you get National Park like views with way less people. Enjoy this one! Follow all my adventures on Instagram @themicrotourists!

One of the coolest hikes I’ve done! Make sure to start early since camping spots started to fill up by the time we got close to the lake around 1:00. Beautiful waterfall about half way; great opportunity for a little rest, and refilling on water. Last 2 miles or so are tough, lots of switch backs and exposed in the sun, but worth it for the views and lake.

You do need a permit. They can be picked up the day of (or day before) at the Weaverville Ranger station kiosk, no cost.

can't get any better

Pros: Incredibly, unbelievably beautiful and humbling landscapes that get better and better as you head up the valley. Perfect temperature lakes for swimming (exactly the right reward after the final push across hot exposed rock). Many opportunities to explore surrounding peaks as day hikes if you make a base camp at the lakes for a few days. Solid workout hiking in with overnight packs. Gigantic old trees. Lots o stars. Did I mention that it is just incomprehensibly beautiful?

Cons: Huge numbers of people hiking to the falls and camping at the lakes on the weekend in summer (which should seem obvious but I neglected to consider), so select your time wisely and do not expect solitude depending on when you go. Some dirty toilet paper here and there, but mostly trash and waste free, so please keep it that way. Most of the hike is high above Canyon Creek on the valley side, so you don't get to be near water a whole lot save for a few points.

Overall, if you're trying to decide whether or not to go, definitely do it. Be mindful of the volume of people it attracts and take care to keep this area as clean as possible.

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful hike and lake. I followed the directions which the directions Icon gave me on this website and it took me a longer back way. It was very rocky, rutty road. Luckily I drive a jeep. Follow the sign on HWY 3 that says Boulder Lake trail. Big brown sign. I went back the correct way and it was way smoother and faster.

The trail is pretty easy to follow, but maybe they haven’t gone out there yet to clean it up... bushes were covering the trail throughout. & huge trees were in the way of the trail that you have to climb over (not hard to do if you don’t have back problems). Lake is beautiful & if you want there’s random camp sites around the lake. All together it was a little over 4 miles. Would’ve given it more stars if the trail was cleaned up.

It was a really nice hike all the way to the lake and a nice Camp spot but the lake itself is nothing you'd want to swim in it's pretty much a puddle

backpacking
1 month ago

Trail completed (7-12-18) this trail is for no faint of heart. I recommend experienced hikers only, and common knowledge of maps and navigation. I flaged the trail off with pink flagging. I spent the night at alpine lake the hiked up to Smith from there. To get to Smith trail head, head back to the trail that takes to you alpine lake. After you cross the outlet creek of alpine lake begin to keep an eye out for the pink flaging or look for cairns to northeast off the marked trail. once you spot the cairns or flagging the begin the hike. good luck! the lake is beautiful and fishing is good too.

this will help, https://www.backpacker.com/trips/redding-ca-stuart-fork-to-smith-lake

Backpacked to Boulder lake then to lost lake/ Found lake, scrambled across the mountain and both my partner and I weren’t expecting what all our hard work brought us too, not sure if around this time of year July 6 2018 was a bad time of year to hike to lost and found lake but we were kind of disappointed, the lake was stagnant and dead bugs all around.. wasn’t worth all the hard work we put into getting there.. our opinions, beautiful views though.. our opinion stay at Boulder lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Went on 7/7/2018. Easy to find, well maintained forest service road. I would rate as easy because the incline is so gradual. Wildflowers were nearing the end, but thousands of butterflies along the creek, probably because of the blooming milkweed. I believe they were Acmon Blues. Because of the westerly wind direction, no smoke from the Klamathon fire. Forest, meadows, creeks, waterfalls, pristine lake. What more could one ask for?

backpacking
1 month ago

I would have to say it is one of the nicest lake I have been to the first four miles were easy the last three were the hardest I have seen in a long time there are only two camp sites at the lake but don’t worry there will most likely not be anyone there they unlike me got the memo to go elsewhere

Beautiful! Trail well maintained, clean, and tons of wildflowers in bloom right now! We went on the 4th of July 2018. Great place for all ages!

backpacking
1 month ago

As expected, it was strenuous but worth it. We didn’t set off until about 10, so it was pretty hot by the time we got to the unexposed scramble and switchbacks, but we made it to the lake in less than 5 hours at a moderate pace with stops for lunch and to fill up our water and an accidental detour where the trail diverges to the Boulder Creek drainage on the other side of the ridge. The trailhead parking lot was pretty full, as usual on a nice weekend during the summer, and we saw a handful of people on the Stuart Fork trail, but once we veered off to Alpine, we only saw two other people, and they never made it up to the lake, so we had our own private lake on a Saturday night which is pretty unheard of, even for the Trinities. Because there aren’t any big waterfalls flowing in nor a major outlet flowing out, the lake was surprisingly warm, though the sitting water results in the expected layer of algae on the bottom and swarm of insects of all types. By our count, the trail was a little over 17 miles which seemed about right considering the trail map doesn’t include any of the switchbacks, just a straight line up, and the recording has a lot of backtracking. Overall, I’d say it’s not the most gorgeous lake in the area, but offered the most solitude I’ve had yet, so it still gets a 5 in my book.

went there at the end of June weather was perfect.scenery offered a variety of wild flowers as well as jagged rock formations. wild fern lined the valley floor with plenty of places ro camp. with sun light lasting until 9.45 PM gives plenty of time to make it to the top even with a late start. enjoyed this hike and will do it again.

Loved this hike. Beautiful!! Loved being close to the PCT too!

Went backpacking here, & thoroughly enjoyed it! Short hike, uphill for most of the way there, then a descent into the basin. Camped at Boulder Lake. Very serene. Climbed Tapie peak. Lovely views!

Great hike, questioning why this is labeled as difficult. This is a very timid hike with great views throughout.
I would suggest to hike about 5-6 miles and set up a basecamp along the creek. Hiking to Boulder Lake was a little bit of a scramble, but very doable for most.
Overall, good beginner hike!

hiking
1 month ago

I’m not an avid hiker, did this as a day hike and I was fairly sore by the end of the day. I think I walked for about 9 hours in total. Would have definitely been nice to camp overnight. Don’t miss the waterfall with the swim hole marked on the trail map. It’s the first big waterfall you see. The trail map was spot on, saved my ass a couple of times at the top as it got harder to find the trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail is 10 miles in, 10 miles out and incredible along every step of the way. Look to the stacked rocks of three once you advance up the trail about 8 miles and start to reach the lakes for help keeping on the trail.

The trail starts off as a very gradual ascent at the Stuart Fork trailhead but once you ford (call the ranger station in Weaverville to make sure the river is passable) the Stuart Fork river, it gets steep and stays steep till Alpine Lake: Make sure you stock up on plenty of water after you cross the river because we did not encounter any viable water sources till Alpine Lake (Don’t leave your bug spray or your tent at home! There were a lot of mosquitoes all day and night at Alpine Lake in mid-June!). From Alpine Lake till you get to the saddle above Smith Lake is about one mile or so but it is a route rife with boulder fields, steep dense brush, slabs of rocks and exposed sun. It took us hours to make the saddle. There are very few spots with water access and a place to pitch tents at Smith Lake: the best spots are mostly on the southeast side of the lake by the drainage. Morris Lake has better lake access for swimming and fishing, so we camped there. This is a very long and tough hike.

on Boulder Lakes

hiking
1 month ago

Here are the facts to find the trailhead: Sign is easy to find on Hwy 3 (just south of Coffee Creek) takes you to gravel road (#???) that is easy to follow until you get to a sharp right...sign says 35N53 (topomap said 35N55?). Then follow along and stay to the left when you get to an intersection (other options to the right have crappy signs so you can't read them). Then it's fairly easy to follow...about 10 miles from Hwy 3 to the trailhead.

The trail is relatively well marked except for in the meadow areas, but since all you do is follow the canyon up to the lake it's hard to get lost. The incline is steady, but not steep until the last 1/4 mile. Once you arrive at the lowest lake there are not very many camp grounds, but there appears to be two upper lakes that you can visit.. There are beautiful views of the valley below and the lake is lovely, but it is difficult to get access to the water. There were many little trout (4-6") jumping and you could see dozens of them swimming around the edge, so maybe bring a fishing pole! Bonus points for there being constant water access along the trail for dogs.

Canyon creek never disappoints!

My first backpacking trip for my 31st birthday! It was still early June and was freezing cold at night, it actually rained and snowed the first two nights. We stayed under the tree cover during the storm and finally made it to the lakes the 3rd day when the weather improved slightly. Of course it was super nice on the way back and we jumped in the river several times!

Nice moderate hike and very rewarding views for the effort. The one caution is that parts of the trail are gravelly and exposed and trail is narrow so if you have anyone in your family who is acrophobic might be slightly tense.

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