Explore the most popular camping 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.

Packed in to camp between the Lower and Upper Canyon Creek Lakes. There are a number of camping spots near both lakes, ample water throughout the hike. Camped mid-October, perhaps 10-12 other people spread between both lakes. Will definitely be back next year! Beautiful views.

A fairly easy hike until the turnoff for alpine lake. From the turnoff, the trail becomes steeper but the sights from the top are well worth the effort. Very cool approach to the lake with views of awesome rock formations ahead and the valley behind. Round trip probably closer to 18-19 miles.

I underestimated the difficulty of this trail and busted both my knees doing it all in a one day hike with no trekking poles. I however don’t regret the majestic reward for completing it.

the multiple water falls make this hike fun. otherwise it's boring trees until the last portion where the valley opens up near the lakes. not a hard hike at all, this rating is crazy. very steady with small elevation bumps along the way. felt like a nice walk most of the way

generally: amazing backpack in trinity alps with variety of scenery (river, meadow, valley, mountain ridges, alpine lakes) with many options of camping locations at various distances, uncrowded, gorgeous fall colors
Road conditions: paved until last mile, dirt road with some potholes but passable in low clearance vehicle
Permit: free and unlimited at weaverville ranger station
Trail; well maintained until Morris meadows then slightly overgrown to the lakes
Scenery: first 9 mile along the river with vibrant fall colors; numerous campsites along the river; meadow w sweeping views of the valley, hike to the lakes w continued fall colors, stunning views of sawtooth ridge, gorgeous alpine lakes at the end
Weather: hiked in October and warm (60-70s) during the day and chilly (20-30s at night) but manageable w a fire (allowed at the meadow not the lakes)
Wildlife: birds, deer, close encounter w a mountain lion at our campsite(!); no bears or rattlesnakes
People: saw a handful on our way in and two on our way out; no one camping at the meadow with us or up at the lakes

backpacking
27 days ago

I took a prolonged 5 day trip out on Stuart Fork Trail and I was not disappointed. The views up to Emerald and Sapphire Creek are amazing and the trek is well worth it. The north route to Sapphire Lake was a bit of a climb but from my understanding easier than the southern route.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful lake. One of my favorites in the Trinity Alps. Moderate hike with some scrambles but not too difficult. The few campsites are on the North side with picturesque views of awesome granite peaks with snowmelt falls cascading down the face.

hiking
1 month ago

Difficult hike. First half to the river crossing was relatively flat and easy, the second half was steep with not a lot of access to water. Wanted to make the trek over the saddle to Smith and Morris lake but ran out of gas and camped the two nights at Alpine. Mosquitos were a bit of a pain but nothing beats the view of the sawtooth mountains. Beware, no campfires and camp stoves are allowed with a permit.

1 month ago

This is a great hike for the family. My 5 and 7 year old daughters enjoyed this hike immensely.

hiking
1 month ago

On it's own, not a stunning hike. Mostly an uphill walk in the woods, with beautiful forests, huge Ponderosas and Doug fir. One campsite along the river a few miles in, but for the most part you're well above it.

If you are wanting some good views, the access to Foster & Lion lakes is great. Keep along the trail til the fork and take a right. Good signage. To the left is a longer hike to Boulder Lake, which is a busy lake by backcountry standards and more easily accessed from the east - not worth going to Boulder this way except to get a workout. In short, if you plan to do this hike, take the extra time to head up to Foster & Lion Lakes.

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
1 month ago

Stellar hike, great challenge to make it to the peak!

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.

1 month ago

Done this twice. Plenty of water, meadows, views, and room to camp on the way up. The lake itself can only hold 3 or 4 group camps, and there were 30+ people there last time during a holiday weekend. That last mile is fairly brutal. Will certainly go back.

We just hiked to the lower lake this weekend. It took us
Approx 6 1/2 hours there and 3 1/2 to get back to the trailhead. The home there was a bit challenging. Coming down was easy and fast. It’s absolutely gorgeous! We caught trout and there was a large bear across the lake from us. We decided to go back down 1 1/2 miles where we had camped the night before to spend our night. .

Did a day hike to the Canyon Creek Lakes and L Lake. For the distance, the elevation is quite tame for most of the hike up to the Canyon Creek Lakes. For those who want to journey a bit farther up to L Lake, the trail is loosely marked with cairns as it winds up a drainage area. Beautiful views of the valley from L Lake, worth the extra climbing effort. Will definitely be back to camp when more of the summer smoke has cleared. Passed 30-40 people on my round trip hike over Labor Day weekend.

backpacking
2 months ago

One of the best place to go backpacking in California

The last 2 miles were challenging but definitely worth it! The view of the lake is amazing!

Really enjoyed our hike to Canyon Creek Lakes. Yes, it was a challenge but nothing horrible for the mountains. I always expect a slog getting to the reward of lovely scenery and hanging out in a natural environment. Took a day hike to the upper lake. Seemed like there were many more camp areas than the lower lake so if you have a larger party I would plan on staying there. Boulder Lakes had great granite vistas. Quite an uphill climb with narrow trail. Get there early for the better camp spots. Beautiful.

Hiked this trail many times, & always look forward to doing it again.

Did this as a day hike today. Only went to Lower Lake...saw a bear coming down the mountain and we met eyes 40 yards away from each other and then he ran the other way. I only saw 3 people on the trail, which was surprising because I heard this is the most popular trail in this area. Takes a while to get out above the trees but once you do, the mountain views are awesome! Not really all that difficult of a hike, just a steady ascent most of the way. Took me about 5 hours, 15 miles. The waterfall and swimming hole is a great spot for a dip. Mosquitos were pretty annoying on and off.

backpacking
2 months ago

Friend & I went on a backpacking excursion into the Boulder Lakes area of the California Trinity Alps wilderness. This was an easy hike to the first lake & camp clearings. Within a mile or two of this lake, you can find 4 more small lakes & hike a ridge that overlooks it all. From the base of the ridge you kind find trails connecting in all directions. Some great hikes connect through this trail system including the Pacific Crest Trail. Make camp & hike till you drop. Video on my YouTube- thatDADclint.

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.

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!

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.

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

hiking
3 months ago

We took this trail down from Big Boulder and little Boulder lakes. There were still many downed trees across the trail and a lot of dust and debris making for sliding conditions on the 8 mile downhill to Coffee Creek. July is not the best time to be here due to heat so pack plenty of water.

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