Bear Basin - Granite Lake Loop is a 14.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Trinity Center, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
We have done this loop counterclockwise, and didn't regret it one bit as it has allowed us to completely avoid the crowds even though it was a long weekend.
A word of caution: even though this trail description says the loop is 14.2 miles, in reality it's closer to 17-18.
On the first day we walked 7.5 miles to Bear Basin and camped on an established camping site. The closest human soul was an entire 1 mile away, and we got an amazing experience of being alone in the wilderness.
On the second day it took us another 5 miles to reach the Seven Up Pass. The Seven Up Pass was the most beautiful part of the hike. Wherever you are hiking from, make sure you traverse it! We were originally thinking to connect to the Four Lakes Loop from there, however, that trail involved going down into the Black Deer Valley and coming up on the other side just as much as we have just done out of the Bear Valley, and we didn't feel up to it.
So we had an amazing lunch in an incredible tucked in spot at Seven up Pass and headed down to the Granite Lake. Granite Lake was a zoo - we counted 10 tents visible just from the trail! It really felt like there needed to be an established bathroom there at this point, it was so overcrowded. So we headed down to the car. The second day for us was 11 miles, which is a bit of a stretch with backpacks.
More photos and description can be found here:
It was pretty steep and fun
Moderate hike to the lake, 5 miles in & passing some cool waterfalls along the way & good views of what's ahead when you emerge out of the forest & into a meadow. Then it gets steep to the gap, where you can see down into the Deer Creek basin, Round Lake, & across to Siligo Peak; & Luella Lake, tucked into a shelf. If you have time, you can just traverse the trail over to Bear Basin & go out that way, re-connecting with the Swift Creek Trail, for a total of 17 or 18 miles.