dog friendly




trail running





wild flowers

nature trips



kid friendly


horseback riding

Formerly known as the Salmon-Trinity Alps Primitive Area, the Trinity Alps Wilderness is located 50 miles west of Redding California. The area contains the Wild and Scenic Trinity River in the south and the Wild and Scenic Salmon River in the north. Numerous rushing streams feed into these rivers, many of them emerging from the region's 55 lakes. Scattered stands of timber, most of them virgin, are opened by large meadows with wildflowers in July and August, and shadowed by barren rock cliffs and stark peaks with elevations up to 9,000 feet. Black bears are common (despite the name, they're often colored brown or blond), sharing the area with an abundance of other wildlife species. As much as 12 feet of snow falls on the high country every year. Currently the entire Wilderness (one of the state's largest) is situated on, and managed solely by, the USFS. The Trinity Alps Wilderness contains a total of 550 miles of maintained trails. Numerous loop hikes are available, requiring three to five days to complete. Seventeen miles of the Pacific Crest Trail run through the northern part of the wilderness. There are many areas within the wilderness capable of providing opportunities for solitude.

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

1 month 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.

1 month ago

What a great hike for exploring and getting a good sample of what the alps have to offer. The Trinity Alps are so beautiful and one of my favorite wildernesses to backpack.

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.

it was nice im from there and love the outdoors iv only been to the sinks lake here i come soon

3 months ago

Day hiked this trail 11/4/17. Nice trail with pleasant views of the creek. The trail leads right through Messner’s cabin site. Trail crosses through drainage at times and the water was not bad yet. Don’t remember how many crossings and those were fine too (water isn’t very high at all yet). Ice in some shady areas but still not too cold. Nice views of snow covered peaks on your way back down trail. When circling the lake, the east side had shin deep, boot sucking mud...passable if you cling to the bushes but we were only day hiking so no backpacks— actual mileage may vary.

4 months ago

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

First of all, you need to know that our track, from China Gulch trail head all the way up to the lake was 10.6 miles, one way. The hike was absolutely amazing, changing scenery every other mile or so, with the finale being the falls, then grizzly lake and Thompson peak, stunning!

But this hike is hard, and the mileage reported on alltrails is inaccurate. The first 2.2 miles are spent climbing 1500 ft, then the next 1.7 miles descends 1300 ft both grueling. The next 4.5 miles or so is steadily up hill but not nearly as steep as the first section. Then it gets really good. After leaving the trees behind you emerge to see the falls and the wall of rock on which Grizzly lake is perched. Its beautiful. But the trail gets tricky. Walking through boulders on a very rocky trail you start climbing more and more over the next half mile. Then the trail starts to take you up the grizzly scramble. This is when you turn to go up the cliff-like valley wall. The trail is marked by stacked rocks and zig zags up the hill. Very shortly after the steep ascent starts you will see a creek run off that seems to take you up the hill, stay left and do not try and use the run off as the trail, the rocks are very loose and you're better off on the trail. Stay left and follow the rocks. about a quarter mile (estimate) up the hill the trail will lead to a rocky channel that you will need to use hands and feet to crawl up. After making your way though this there is more steep trail for another half mile or so. The final 3/4 of a mile is still mostly up hill across large boulders until finally see the lake and coast down the rocky terrain. The final bit of the trail is marked by stacked rocks, follow the rocks and try not to stray, they will lead you the best way. It is also important to remember where you came up because it is even more important to follow the rocks on the way down. The gps said 10.6 miles by the time we reached the lake from the trail head. We hiked 'fast.' We were wearing packs but we rarely stopped and not for more than 2-3 minutes, and it took us 5 hours to hike in, and 4.5 to hike out - the return down the steep section took us an 1 hr 15 minutes. This hike was beautiful in so many ways, but it was challenging. It was cool at night by the lake, I would estimate it got down to 34 degrees, and windy (late September). There was fresh snow on Thompson peak, but only an inch or two in the shaded sections.

There are a few reviews on here with slightly different mileage markers, I don't know if mine is more or less accurate, but we did not stray from the trail and our measurement said 10.6 miles one way. I highly recommend this challenging hike!

I can't even handle how beautiful this adventure was for our family. Epic.

5 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.

Great hike with lits of beautiful waterfalls. Amazing scenery from the Meadow and a fun scramble up to the lake. It was great to get out of the smoke. Up to 7 deer would come and visit our campsite.

5 months ago

We had a great time on this trail. We hikes about 6 miles to middle falls and set camp by the creek. It's nice and shady and plenty of water around. We hung out by the waterfalls and enjoyed the swimming holes!
Once you go pass the middle falls and climb up above the falls, you can no longer set fire - so if you are looking to have camp fire don't go beyond this point.
On Saturday we did a day hike up to the upper lakes, and boulder lake (can do both in 1 long hiking day). Swam in the lakes, and enjoyed the scenery.
So beautiful!! Will be back for other trails in this area!

Directions are difficult here's a good link
Absolutely beautiful and worth the hike about 12 miles one way so 24 round trip. The trail marked on map is off route a bit and does not show the "Scramble" to the extent that it is! 2.5 miles up boulders to get to grizzly lake! Some turn around here but think twice it's what make the trip!
Note- if you can't put your dog in a backpack or holder of some kind you shouldn't take them because it's too dangerous.

This trail will kick your butt! Long steep hot cold. Worth every ache and pain!

Enjoy 12 mile curvy road into the Ripstein campground located at the beginning of the trail head. Recommend that you come up stay night and hit trail early to cover ground before sun gets to hot! Great trail for the adventurous soul! Continuous uphill grade for 8 miles thru pine forest and granite switch backs. Traverse the log bridge to stay on trail. Take a cold water dip in a nice deep natural blue hole with a water fall shower. At the split you can stay about quarter mile in toward bolder creek and burn fire as no fires are allowed around lakes. Camping spots thru out trail and surround both upper and lower lake. Temperature drops at night so be prepared. Fish jumping in lake all day and evening bring a pole or a float. Family and Dog friendly trail. Moon and star lit night makes for a blissful sky gazing evening. Loved it recommend it to all just bring your stamina for the uphill grades.

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

6 months ago

Great hike/camp with the dog.
We went in mid-August and there was daily afternoon thunderstorms.

- if you are late on reaching the trail heads, there are plenty of camping spaces along the trail appox 4 miles in. (Ripstein Campground is also good to prep - but limited scenery)
- the trail map here is a close appox of the actual trail. There are some minor switchbacks not shown.
- the final water crossing can be tricky to find (the map will lead you to the wrong place). Look for a small wooden 'trail' sign across the stream on a tree. Also look for a long log that goes across the stream.

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.

way too many people but awesome

6 months ago

This is one of the best hikes I have done till date, period! Some might argue, there are similar granite formations in Yosemite etc, but this one is with low to no crowd. I would have met 20-25 people on the whole trail between 2 days. Melted snow made lakes, surrounded by tall granite peaks with green trees everywhere make it one the best scenery. The hike provides all kinds of terrain, rock, mud, marshy land, creek crossing and what not. I can count 4 water falls disregarding any falls above the Upper Canyon creek lake, and each one is more beautiful than another. We did this hike in 2 days since this was our first backpacking. We camped next to a waterfall (~7 miles from trailhead). The view from campsite overlooking the valley was simply the best. I underestimated the beauty of this wilderness. Given chance, I would definitely want to visit this spot some time again in future for few more days and do Little lake on top of it.

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