Canyon Creek and Boulder Creek Lakes is a 16.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Weaverville, California that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
We spent 4 days and 3 nights exploring the Canyon Creek area over the 4th of July weekend. Although it was quite busy, due at least in part to the holiday weekend I presume, the views were incredible, and I highly recommend visiting! We first camped atop a boulder overlooking the off-trail Lower Canyon Creek Falls I learned about on summitpost.org and then camped near the junction of the Canyon Creek Lakes and Boulder Creek Lakes trails as a departure point to explore the destinations on both trails over the remainder of our trip. The peaks of granite, lush vegetation, and countless waterfalls made for spectacular views in every direction. The trail will undoubtedly leave you sweating at times, due to both the incline and the heat (Depending on the time of year), but the rewards are worth it, making this hike is a must!
Hiked up one day stayed the night. Hiked down the second day. I was beat & sore for about a week. I'm not in the best shape though since I drive for a living. It started out easy to moderate. The 1/3 or 1/4 or so was very steep. The lakes are very rewarding with beauty. There's plenty of water and campsites along the way. If I do it again I'd like to take an extra day. One night was not enough for me.
This is another one of my favorite places! The amount of granite surrounding the basin is amazing, & one time we were there early season & counted 7 streams flowing down around us from a rest spot at the biggest lake. Plus, there are numerous ponds, & a neat rock shelf extending into the big lake. The trail has been improved, too, last year or the year before, so it wasn't the bushwhack we encountered our first time there.
The backpacking trip to Boulder Creek Lakes was only 7.75 miles. The first 5 miles were nice and smooth. We hiked 4 miles our first night (mostly in the dark) and camped just before the trail junction. There are several camp sites along the trail. The last 2 miles or so hiking up to Boulder Lakes were a little harder. Solitude? Of course.........not! 4th of July weekend! It took us 7 hours of hiking on our way up and 3.5 hours out. Im sure if you are in shape you can do it a lot faster than we did. It was awesome and I would do it again earlier in the year with more water in the streams.
To go from Upper Canyon Creek Lake to Papoose, an 89 hour hike on granite. From the west boulder field from Upper Lake go to top of boulders, down into marshy area and up the west wall, traverse north to the lowest ravine with snow, go uphill to narrow pass, down the other side bear right, avoid grassy area to lake, cross small ravine to the right and down rocky ridge to lake outlet.
I love this Trail with all my heart. I have hiked it 4 times now and constantly think about going back. It is a little on the tough side, but I first hiked it when i was only 12 and have taken 2 novice hikers all the way to boulder creek lakes. As long as you have someone with you that knows backpacking, its a great trail!