Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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
2 days 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.

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
8 days 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
12 days 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!

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
19 days 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
19 days 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.

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!

My wife and I did this hike on 6/11. We are both 57 and found the hike fairly easy. Not the death march that some describe below. 2.5 hours up, about 2 hours back down. Mosquitos not a problem.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail with nice variety of ecosystems. The trail isn't that steep in most segments but the ascent is fairly constant the entire 4.5 miles to Big Bear Lake, though significant segments are only slightly inclined. Nonetheless, the overall experience is strenuous and requires moderate fitness.

The trail from parking lot to lake and back is actually 9.0 (rather than 7.8) miles round-trip. Apparently the parking area was moved some years ago and the AllTrails route is outdated. You get to the trailhead by crossing the creek right by the parking area and then climbing the wide "road" for about 100 yards, then the (signed) trailhead will be on the right.

Mosquitoes were moderate at the top but their prevalence prevented any prolonged stops on the hike up. Bring bug spray. Wasn't hot that day but I still drank lots of water - bring plenty or a good filter.

The Big Bear Lake area itself is fairly rocky and scrubby and does not have many camping locations. On the other hand even in early June I did the entire hike without seeing anyone else. Took me about 2.5 hours up and 2.1 hours down.

Big Bear Lake connects to Little Bear Lake, but I did not hike it given the time of day.

Did this as a day hike Memorial Day weekend 2018. More than doable in one day. Almost everyone on trail was backpacking. As expected a good amount of foot traffic on a holiday weekend but nothing compared to a national park. This hike is absolutely stunning. Everything you could ask for on a hike. Plenty of running water. Just be careful of the river/creek crossing. Will need some degree of balance to cross over a log. If you are camping over night there is tons of room at the lakes.

backpacking
1 month ago

Trip Dates: June 1st, 2018 to June 3, 2018

This trail is tough and I’ve done my fair share of tough ones. The difficulty comes with just essentially going uphill for 9 miles. Some parts are steeper than others but seemingly always up. Based on the topo map, it appears that the last 2.5 miles are the easiest... wrong. I’d say they were the hardest as you’re tired and hiking over rubbley granite which grinds on the feet and still plenty of uphill.

The prize at the end (three lake basin), however, is worth it if you are spending an extra day up there to relax. It would be quite a feat to push up there one day and come back the next. We headed up on a Friday and had one day of rest (Saturday) which was highly necessary. The views were breathtaking and we had (quite nearly) absolute solitude! We fished (for trout) and caught 3! Soaked up the sun. Swung in our hammocks and caught up on reading. I even dove into the lake... which is pure snow melt and COLD! But all in all, it was paradise. We headed down the following day (Sunday).

Things to know:

1. There are plenty of water sources along the trail during the dates we went (rivers, brooks and finally, lakes)

2. I never got a lick of reception (nor did I expect it) but I heard you can get it (dependent on your carrier I’m sure if you hike up the ridge (snow covered though)

3. As of the dates we went, the trail was clear of snow and there were only a few little patches here and there up at the lakes. If you hike up to the ridge though, you will run into some for sure.

4. There is trout fishing in the upper lake for sure and they were biting. The ones we caught though were fairly small.

5. The ratio of sun exposed to shade is about 65/35. Doing it in mid-August would likely be pretty brutal.

6. Not a crowded trail. Hardly ran into anyone, so that was nice but also if you get hurt, help is not coming for you anytime soon so be aware of that.

7. During our dates, I hardly noticed the bug situation. It was not too severe, but might be as it gets hotter.

8. Remember before you go to get a Wilderness Permit and Fire Permit (both available at the Weaverville Ranger Station at the self-serve Kiosk, so you can go get that even if the station isn’t open). Both are required even if you only intend on using a camp stove.

Hope this is helpful! Stay safe!

backpacking
1 month ago

Good beginner/intermediate backpack trip.

were there this memorial weekend no snow on the trail up to the 3rd lake

backpacking
1 month ago

This was an amazing backpacking trip that id recommend to anyone. Our GPS had the mileage longer than this and so did the signs at the trail head.The hike to the canyon creek lakes is more like 16 or 17 miles. It was a busy memorial day weekend but you can still find plenty of solitude. Most of the people are found at around 5.5 miles up near the middle falls. We stayed at boulder creek lakes our first night which were even more beautiful than the canyon creek lakes

backpacking
1 month ago

Excellent 3 day hike. Amazing views, crystal clear waters! Rugged in some spots for short duration and parts of the trail just before the upper lakes and around the upper lakes is difficult to make out and follow if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s unfortunate how popular this one is though. You see a lot of ill prepared people due to its popularity. Lots of folks without water filtration/purification abilities. We gave a lighter to one group that had no means to light their stoves and two burning logs from our fire to another group that didn’t know how to start a fire. To be clear, it’s not difficult but please bring appropriate gear.

hiking
1 month ago

Really great doggie-friendly backpacking trail with lots of different terrains and waterfalls

Take caution around L Lake. We saw fresh bear tracks in the snow.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Several waterfalls and lakes. We did Sat-Mon with 2 nights at McKay Camp. Wish we camped further up the trail but we arrived very late on Sat and decided to just say hike to the lakes and back. When I recorded the trail coming back from the lakes, it said it was closer to 8 miles rather than 7

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike! Went Sun-Mon of Memorial Day weekend and there were a decent amount of people, but it wasn’t super crowded. Our GPS said it was closer to 9 miles than 7 like this says, probably doesn’t account for all the switchbacks going up the mountain.

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