Explore the most popular horseback riding 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.

some snow past 3 miles, but mostly passable. no visible poison oak or ticks. a couple flowering plants but almost no flowers yet.

My group of six backpacked this route in March of 2014 over a weekend. We started our hike late morning, camped at the Canyon Creek Lakes at the top, spent the entire next day hiking around the bowl and up to L Lake, and then hiked back the next day. March was a little early to be hiking up there and crossing the river (maybe too dangerous in hindsight). The river looked safe to cross on the way up, but on the way back the river had rose significantly and felt quite treacherous. The nights were brutally cold, but L Lake covered in snow was the most beautiful sight I've seen to this day. Climbing up to L Lake can be intimidating for some. I don't recommend bringing your backpack up there. Camp below and make a day hike up there. Did I mention we had the entire place to ourselves the whole time? Best part of it all. I highly recommend this trail; stunning views, waterfalls, rivers, beautiful boulders, and whimsical wooded areas. Be careful when you're hiking around on the rocks and boulders--they get slippery--and be cautious around flowing waters. Don't miss L Lake!

Had an amazing 2 nights up here. Absolutely stunning. ❤️❤️❤️

We enjoyed this hike very much, as it had been years since we had been out with packs. It was just right to get us warmed up to hiking again. Found some beautiful spots along Union Creek. Beautiful meadows and wild flowers. And we had union lake all to ourselves!! Well almost. Sock eating chipmunks were abundant. Lol. And many many Deer. So peaceful!! July 27th 2017

Went a few weeks ago with some friends and it was a beautiful hike with views of mountains and waterfalls popping out as the trail turned and wound its way up the mountains, a gorgeous crystal clear green river that followed us for much of the way, and the beautiful granite and mountain-surrounded lakes at the end. The two less ideal aspects of the trip were the facts that the Upper and Lower Canyon Lakes are completely exposed with very little shade, so spending a day up there can be quite brutal (the water is freezing cold so you can't really stay in there for too long), and the hordes of people all along the trail and at the lake. it was very difficult to find a campsite and you were always within view and earshot of other groups, not to mention the strain that must put on the ecology. On the way back, we stopped by the crystalline river to have lunch, but it was marred by the smell of human waste. Please bury your waste and keep it off the trail and definitely at least 100 feet away from water.

hiking
9 months ago

Not Easy!!! Moderate hike with a good elevation gain. Nice for people who are afraid of heights.

10 months ago

Sonya ST gave good description. water temperature for swimming in early July.

backpacking
10 months ago

Me and a friend took our 10 year old and 12 year old daughters on a three day two night backpacking trip to Fox Creek Lake. This was there first experience with backpacking and this was a good introduction. Just the right distance into the basecamp at Fox Creek Lake and a great campsite right by a stream with just the right amount of shade and fantastic options for hanging hammocks. We decided to scramble up to Section Lake for lunch and a swim, and then on up to the top of the crest above the lake with a good view of the Scott Valley. Decent fishing at Fox Creek Lake, caught 4 trout and the water was perfect for swimming. Later in the afternoon we saw a Bald Eagle and a Golden Eagle. It was a fantastic hike for a couple of kids' first backpacking trip!

backpacking
10 months ago

Amazing backpacking weekend all with a full moon!

Hiked in last weekend on a beautiful early spring day. A LOT of snow past the big waterfall. Slow going through sections of deep snow drifts, but well worth it for the views and the solitude. I've also hiked this trail in fall when the extra colour makes all the views extra special. Highly recommend.

backpacking
Friday, April 14, 2017

Canyon creek had some great views, fun to swim in the water with all the waterfalls. Plenty of areas for camping out.

backpacking
Saturday, December 31, 2016

I can't wait to go back and check this trail out again. I used it every weekend to get to different lakes and peaks in the Trinity Alps. Stargazing in Mumford Meadows is a must!

backpacking
Thursday, November 10, 2016

This was my first time backpacking and my husband thought a challenge would be ok. The first mine felt super easy, we reached a bridge and the view was breathtaking! A little down from the bridge was a great spot for camping. unfortunately the previous people didn't put out their fire, so we got some water from the river and put it out. There was a load of switchbacks going up a huge granite rock that was pretty exhausting and you see this huge opening! Don't be fooled like me, it was mumford meadows, not the lake. You have another mile to go up more switchbacks up another granite slab. A bit more woods and then you see the huge granite cliffs! There's a few spots to camp, cross a stream(great for filtering your water because you're probably low or out) and you find a few more spots near the water. We choose the furthest for privacy and knew it'd help keep our two dogs calmer. It had a slight decline, a perfect fire pit with bench made of slab of wood across two boulders. Climb up from the spot and there was still plenty of great wood and twigs for a night fire and morning fire. Waking up to that sunrise was amazing, i saw it creep down the face of the mountain. The hike back was nice. I recommend wearing pants, parts of the trail were brushy and I was glad to not have my legs scratched up. Overall I can't wait to repeat this trail! I have a much firmer grasp on how to pack, and what to expect!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beautiful hike with spectacular views a number of options to create a nice loop or connect to other trailers. Morris meadow is a beautiful walk to the higher elevations with the anticipation of high alpine beauty this will inspire you with amazing lupus fields scattered with a variety of incredible wild flowers. It's a moderate hike go enjoy the beauty!!!!

backpacking
Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Although we didn't make it all the way to L Lake, we did hike to Canyon Creek Lakes, and it was absolutely gorgeous! The holiday weekend made it a bit busier than I suspect it normally is, but due to the length of the trail, it didn't feel unbearably crowded. After reading about the impressiveness of the lower falls on summitpost.org, we decided to journey through the brush, and it was absolutely worth the scratches I got on my legs. We ended up setting up camp atop a boulder overlooking the falls (See photo). You can find this old trail at the top of a set of switchbacks, where a "TRAIL" sign will point you to the right; the falls are to the left, you can hear them roaring. The trail is generally well maintained, at least as far as we went. It was quite hot in places where the lush vegetation was replaced with steep granite that seemed to magnify the hot summer sun, and this coupled with the incline will certainly leave you sweating; however, I highly recommend the trail for the surrounding beauty, especially as a good multi-day hike, where you could easily spend as little as 2 or as many as 5 days exploring the area.

camping
Sunday, November 08, 2015

Ok so to start..the road is a fairly dangerous one to get to the trail head. The ranger will tell you it's 4 miles..it's not. It's 12+ to get to the trailhead. Keep going and you'll pass 1 lane or less cliff side and other cars. Once you get to the trail it's very clear. It was in the 50-60s all day and 20s at night the colors were great and fires are allowed so bring some shovels and fuel! Waterfalls were flowing too! Have a great time!

hiking
Saturday, September 12, 2015

This is a pretty easy hike by Trinity standards. Moderate for first mile, then about 2 miles in goes down to a bridge crossing of Union Creek, then almost level. The lake's about 5 or 6 miles in, traveling near the creek & past a few nice meadows. We had a couple boulder-hop type crossings in June of a dry year, so I imagine in spring/early summer of a normal year they could be tougher.

hiking
Saturday, September 12, 2015

By Trinity standards, this is an easy hike. It starts out moderately for about a mile, then levels out & goes down to a bridge crossing about 2 miles in. There were a few creek crossings that could be difficult in the spring, but they were just boulder-hops in June of a dry year.There are a few nice meadows before you get to Union Lake.

The only reason this doesn't rate 5 stars is because of the lack of water the first 7 miles. It starts out moderately through forest & gets more strenuous when you come to a long, exposed (hot!) ridge. It goes back down along a rocky hillside, then into forest & up a brushy hillside before crossing a creek--these last stretches are usually not maintained, so be prepared for a bushwhack or bring shears. Once you cross the creek it's an easy scramble up the granite to the first lake. It's a little harder to get to the second lake & harder yet to the upper lake, but swimming is best at the upper lake. Early season there's streams & ponds everywhere.

hiking
Saturday, July 04, 2015

This is one of the easier Trinity hikes. We added on McDonald & a scramble up to Upper Stoddard, then had a refreshing swim from the north shore of the lake where it looked less mucky. One of the meadows we passed through was filled with pitcher plants, a.k.a. cobra plants.

hiking
Monday, June 08, 2015

Sonya ST gives the perfect description. This trail can be very challenging in certain places. It is not as easy as the trail descriptions say it is. But, all in all it is well worth the effort.

hiking
Friday, May 22, 2015

Great trail with a lot of options--Horseshoe lake is where this trail ends, but you can access Granite Lake Trail, Bear Basin Trail or 4-Lakes Loop easily (among others).

hiking
Friday, May 22, 2015

Easy hike as far as Mumford Meadows, then trail steepens. We camped at ward lake & had beautiful sunrise & sunsets. Day-hiked down a SteepWard Lake trail continuation the next day, & to awesome Horseshoe Lake, cold for swimming, but refreshing! and surrounded by granite.

hiking
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

One word. Amazing! This area reminds me so much of Yosemite and the Western Sierras. It is the crown jewel of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Never in my life have I seen so many waterfalls on a single hike (over 30, no joke), although you do need to travel a short distance off trial for the rewarding views. This is an excellent trip best spent over a few days.

What a Nor Cal gem! This is a very rad trail which follows Canyon Creek the whole way to its primary source (Upper and Lower Canyon Creek Lakes). The elevation gain is gradual over the 10 mile or so course. There are plenty of spots to stop and camp along the way. Campfires are permitted up until about 1.5 miles from the Lower Lake.
We went in on Friday evening and set up camp before sundown at "The Sinks." It was a beautiful location right next to the creek and a gorgeous doe came into our camp to say hi. I believe it wanted food, which made me think someone's fed it before. Please don't feed them :).
We went on 5 more miles to the sign which marks the campfire boundary. Considering we were about 1.5 miles from the lakes, we set up camp again and went on to the Lakes. There are more EPIC waterfalls than can be counted on one hand and I recommend allowing time to explore them. The lakes provide gorgeous views as well that remind of the Eastern Sierras.
There's no wonder this is one of the most popular trails. Even still, the permits are free and unlimited still and people do a good job of not leaving to harsh of a mark on the wilderness. A GREAT TRAIL.

hiking
Friday, September 13, 2013

What little trail information I could pull together on this hike was incorrect. First, it is not 3.5 miles one way; it is 4.4 miles one way. It is not "Easy/Moderate", it is moderate to somewhat demanding in parts.

The trailhead can be difficult to find because of the logging roads that shoot off the main dirt road. We took two wrong roads before getting it right. The road is rough and a 4x4 is recommended.

The trailhead is at 5134 ft elevation and the peak climb is 5934, for an elevation gain of 800, however, this is deceiving because much of this trail is steep. By the time we went up and down and up and down, our round trip elevation gain was 1,982 according to my GPS and hike tracker!

About 1/3 of the trail is rocky, so wear good sturdy shoes. This is the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 (tough on the feet). We had to do a little rock "scrambling" toward the last mile.

At mile 1.75 there was still a spring running in mid-Sept. and it feeds into a beautiful meadow. It's great if you have your 4-legged friends along so it saves some of your water. At mile 3, there's another spring and the turnoff to the left for Stoddard Lake and to the right for Doe Lake. We took the left and from that point, Stoddard Lake was another 1.5 miles straight up in a rocky wash. We did not even sight the lake until we had hiked in 4.3 miles...but when we did, it was all worth it!

The two of us and our dog were the ONLY people at this whole big, beautiful lake. In fact, we never saw a single soul the entire trip! Granite mountains jutted up on the opposite shore and the sight was breathtaking. Both of us jumped in and took a swim. It was not too cold in Sept. and that sure did hit the spot! A great spot to have lunch or pitch a tent as we saw evidence of a prior backpacker. The RT took about 3-hrs and that beer sure tasted good when we came down! We would definitely hike this again!

I have been there tree times sense 1970. Grate: Hiking, Camping, and fishing in the spring. One of my three favorite places. Mybe crowded in the summer.

hiking
Thursday, March 15, 2012

I went in the spring of 2011 when there was still alot of snow on the ground. The first day we were the only ones there, and the second evening two different couples showed up. Beautiful views and the snow filled trails were more than worth it when we hiked to the upper lake and was the only ones there! You can only see these lakes by yourself if you are the first one of the year or the last to leave. :)

fishing
Saturday, September 10, 2011

Great trail which follows Canyon Creek past beautiful waterfalls, great scenery, lakes with plenty of campsites. We went in early September, which was very hot, but bearable. I'd highly recommend it.

This is a great day hike if you are camping near the lakes below. We did it in mid-June and there was some snow up by L Lake, but not enough to get in our way (only to make swimming a bad idea--but we did it anyway). You get some great views of lakes and the valley below.

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