Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

Amazing and serene

Trail is a bit overgrown, but still a great place for solitude. The lakes are clear and beautiful!

Have done this hike twice now, once to the lakes and this weekend just to Morris Meadows, as I was intending to do Alpine Lake on an overnighter, but Stuart Fork was too high to cross this early in the year, and I got a late start to the trailhead.

Overall, the trail is pretty moderate with mostly a gradual incline until the scramble below the lakes. As others have mentioned, however, the trail is longer than advertised. I submitted an edit recommendation for the trailhead lat /long to be revised, so hopefully that will help make the description closer to accurate. There are several areas with multiple established camp sites, i.e. where you veer left to do the Alpine Lake trail (there is a sign), off to the left around mile 7 where the trail has a decline back to the level of the river, and at the south end of the meadow, which is around mile 9, to name a few.

This time, my hike was very quiet, I only saw about a dozen people over the course of 2 days, but late last June, the trail was much more crowded, and the people in the camp site next to us got drunk and obnoxious in the evening which is, unfortunately, probably not that uncommon of an occurrence given how busy this trail can get during peak season (though still nothing compared to much of the Sierras or the Tahoe area). Still incredible though and absolutely worth the effort!

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!

4..0hours to the lake via a a unrelentingly steep trail.

backpacking
4 months ago

Amazing trail, the lakes are beautiful. We hiked up the end of June and beginning of July. Lots of snow up on Sawtooth and some snow on the trial. One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve been on.

I would rate this more of a moderate hike, due to the steady incline and tricky spots on the trail. Gorgeous views and serene atmosphere. Lake is clear and beautiful. Definitely worth the effort.

hiking
5 months ago

I hiked this trail as a day hike with my dog and a friend in November 2017. I had seen the previous recording of 14-15 miles and thought that I could do that in a day hike at a quick pace. The trail ended up being 20+ miles to Alpine lake from Stuart Fork TH. We got held up for 30+ minutes trying to find a dry place to cross Stuart Fork about 7 miles into the hike. There was no definite dry crossing established, so we took off our shoes and waded through midcalf deep frigid water. The climb from the creek to alpine lake is steep , a good work out , though hard to do at a fast pace when sunset is nearing. We misjudged the elevation and got stuck in some snow for the last mile. Snow shoes would have allowed us to get to the lake, but we ran out of daylight. There was a beautiful waterfall that we accepted as worthy of our climb and started down to cross the creek before it got dark. Headlamps saved the day for the trek back to trailhead. I'll definitely retry this hike as part of a 3 day backpacking trip including Emerald and sapphire lakes when the snow clears and will re-review at that time. Overall, pretty hike, challenging ascent.

I backpacked to Emerald and Sapphire Lakes as a 2 days backpacking trip with my dog near the end of October. It was stunning the entire way from trailhead to the lakes. Fall 2017 in the Trinities was a very vibrant autumn and this trail really showed off the yellows and oranges of the deciduous trees lining the trail. The contrast of dark green evergreens vs yellow maples vs the Stuart Fork creek was beautiful. I camped up at Emerald lake, just barely made it before sunset - I clocked 16 miles on my fitbit. There was only one other tent there. I passed only 2 other couples along the trail and they ended up camping at the meadows. Walking through forests, along a creek, through a random meadow, crossing a few small waterfalls and constant views of the valley's peaks. It was a very secluded hike. The trail is well maintained. The scramble up to Sapphire lake gives a beautiful view of the valley you just climbed up.

backpacking
6 months ago

This was an awesome 4 day adventure for me and my Buddy.
But, I want to start with a slight disagreement with the All Trails route selection of proceeding directly up (or down) the stream during the "off trail" section to/from Lake Anna. As confirmed by the Rangers I spoke to, and in the book "Trinity Alps & Vicinity," by Mike White, a "better off trail route" for arriving to, or in our case departing from, Lake Anna is to either (if coming in from the North), proceed further along the "official" trail toward Deer Creek Pass, then contour over back to Lake Anna, or if coming from the South, to angle up to the Ridgecrest from the "end" of the "official" Bowerman Meadow Trail, then traverse over to Lake Anna. (I've attached a very, very rough photo - our approx. route is in purple and the ranger's description in green.
Another difference in recommended route selection, would be to avoid the multiple creek crossings in Bowerman Meadow, shown on the Alltrails map, and stick to the meadow trail itself.
Other than those differences, I completely agree with the previous reviews that this is an Epic Backpacking Adventure. We spent 4 days enjoying this Area and will be back. See pics for details.

backpacking
7 months ago

beautiful trail, challenging for sure. Definitely worth the hike. Caribou Lake is breathtaking

backpacking
8 months ago

The directions provided by Google Maps are unclear if you want to get to the trail head and not park where you must wade across the Trinity River: From route 3, turn onto Bear Creek Loop and that will get you to the trail head.
The hike is not especially long but it is straight up and it gets steeper in the last mile or so. I did not encounter any accessible (late September) water sources until I was well past the halfway point so bring water (1.5 liters was more than sufficient for me). If the campsites at the north side of the lake are taken, there are several campsites further up and along the south side of the lake but that does take work to get to. Once the sun went down, it was chilly and there was frost everywhere late at night and the early morning.
The hike up is worth it because the lake and the surrounding area is beautiful.

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

The best solo backpacking trip I've done so far. Firstly, this is 15 miles from the trailhead to Emerald Lake or back. I used my fitbit to calculate the return route on my last day.

Here's what you should know:

1. Dirt Road Approach is about 2 miles so drive slow and definitely make sure you have tools just in case.
2. No service about 30 min before you even get to trinity county so be aware.
3. Trail has lots up ups and downs through the forest but so worth the hike, make sure you stay hydrated and stop for snacks/rest.
4. Hiking shoes are a must.
5. Ran into 6 snakes, but they slithered away so just watch where you step.
6. If you're camping at the Meadows for your first night, note that you will approach a sign right before it that breaks a trail in half. The right will say "trail", the left won't have a sign but head left into the meadows to camp. Going right will just take you further up the trail. Morris Meadows is also 9 miles from trailhead, just fyi if you're keeping track.
7. There are plenty of streams to refill your bottles.
8. Once past the meadows, its like walking through a jungle. Its sooo incredible.
9. I camped out at the top of Emerald lake next to the waterfall. Didn't run into a single animal. I definitely recommend it.
10. Keep your food secured and away from your camp, lots of bears (I've heard) and critters.
11. You can camp at several creeks/lakes before or past the meadows as well. Deer creek is great if you're going solo. The waterfall will put you to sleep in no time.
12. Lastly, enjoy the beauty of this magical place !!! I'm so glad I went.

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

Spectacular ridge views and rivers. Super rewarding loop- I'm definitely coming back!

I hiked this loop but took Swift Creek from Sunrise to access Granite Lake, from Granite I hiked to Deer Creek. This added a considerable amount of miles but its a doable three day loop.

Trail conditions on Sunrise are dismal- no track, and few/small cairns. Same story for the top of Triforest coming from Deer Creek. Good idea to bring several maps. A trail crew was working up Sunrise from the bottom of the valley, so conditions might get better soon.

I would rate these ridges as difficult, especially during the day time when the temperature gets up in the 90's. Also, lots of bear scat.

Beautiful trial with heaps of wildflowers.

Emerald and Sapphire Lakes are both amazing. Here is a trip report with pictures that I wrote for a backpacking trip out to the lakes and back. https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/trinity-alps-emerald-lake/

way too many people but awesome
veiws

backpacking
9 months ago

Great Lake and the other two lakes are just as amazing. Hike in and of early in the morning to avoid the heat.

hiking
9 months ago

Breathtaking... both physically and emotionally! This is the perfect challenging day hike, you'll work your tushie off on the way up but the reward is so, so sweet . Absolutely beautiful scenery and Big Bear Lake is the perfect temp for a dip to cool off at the end. Definitely recommend morning this time of year, I started at noon and it was pretty darn warm. There are several creeks on the way up if you have a doggo who wants to cool off, but I'd suggest still bringing water for Fido just in case cause he'll be working hard, too! Love this hike, I'll be back!

This was a nice short trail for my first time up in the year. It's short but at a steady incline right from the start. As you get closer to East Boulder lake, it get fairly steep but with the switchbacks, it's doable for all levels. at the top of the trail, you get a beautiful view of the valley and the amazing creek coming down from the lake. A couple of down falls are the lack of descent camp spots, dried cow pies everywhere (good for fire fuel though), and quite a bit of mosquitoes. there is a great 6-7 mile day hike around the ridge that hits the PCT. Absolutely beautiful. would definitely do it again.

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.

backpacking
9 months ago

I'm getting ready to head up here in three weeks. Any idea of how the fishing is?

hiking
9 months ago

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

there seems to be a lot of mis information about how long this hike is. The USFS map we picked up from the ranger station in Weaverville said 17 miles to Sapphire Lake. The sign at the trailhead at Bridge camp where everyone parks said 14. We took our Garmin and it read 11.5 on the way up and 12.5 on the way back. So who the heck knows! In any case it is one of the prettiest hikes I've ever done. Morris Meadows half way up is a great half way point if you wanted to take two days to make it to Sapphire. Both Sapphire and Emerald are gorgeous. Wear long pants past Morris Meadows, as Jonathan said below, it's like walking through a tropical jungle. The wildflowers and butterflies were gorgeous. We saw 6 snakes in 3 days so keep an eye out! None were rattlers.

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!

I'll start off with tips:

The gps location they give is about 2.5 miles away from the trailhead. I was dropped off and had to walk that distance to the trail head and subsequently after to meet my ride because of no cell service.

When you get to the rock scramble do not go down and do not go up. I accidentally went up about a quarter mile on some sketchy rocks until I saw the lakes and had to climb back down. Just go straight ahead when you see the rocks. You will get what I mean.

The board says 14 miles to Sapphire Lake not 12

In total it became a 30+mile hike

NOW the review.

I did this as a day hike. I started at 6 am and ended at around 5 due to all the extra mileage. It starts off slow with some nice views of the river.

The changing point was when I hit the meadow. It was extremely nice and has about knee height plants (I'm 5'10). The trail is really easy to follow.

After the meadow you then fall into what seems to be a tropical jungle. At certain points i wish I had a machete to make a clearer path but that is just me. Haha. Most of the trail is extremely easy to follow.

Once you pass this point you are almost there. You have some decent elevation and then boom you see the first lake. It surprised me. Very beautiful. Go up a mile or less and then you get to see Sapphire. I sat for 20 mins and made my way back.

If I brought my own car and started at the trail head the hike would have been from 6 am to 3pm.

The trail isn't hard. Anyone who is in decent shape can do it with the correct stamina. I am new to hiking and I did 14-15 mile hikes for 4 days previously and was still able to complete this easily.

Totally worth it though. One of the best hikes I've been on.

***Warning: The 12-mile drive from Highway 299 to the trail head is covered with sharp rocks. There were 3 different flat tires at the trailhead. Make sure you've got an inflated-spare, drive slow & don't hesitate to stop the vehicle to move rocks out of the road.

The hike in starts off easy, then the last 1/3 is a nice challenge. The river crossings (right now) are easy, just grab a stick for added support, and you'll cross just fine. There's three patches in the trail that required pushing through over-growth, but nothing so bad you'd lose the trail.

All the work that you have to put in to get to the lake is absolutely worth it. Grizzly Meadows is gorgeous alone, but the falls and lake put this trip up there with the best of them. The hike out is a breeze, since you put in all the work on the way in. Great backpacking trip, highly recommend it and will do it again!

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