Canyon Creek Lakes Trail

HARD 46 reviews
#1 of 29 trails in

Canyon Creek Lakes Trail is a 14.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Junction City, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

14.6 miles
2883 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly





nature trips

rock climbing










Directions from Weaverville: Travel east on Highway 299 for about 7 miles, then turn north onto County Road 401 and travel about 10 miles north to the trailhead.

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.

2 months ago

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

5 months ago

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

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!

6 months ago

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.

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.

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.

7 months ago

This was my awesome dog's first backpacking trip and my first 'solo', and I could not have asked for a better trail. Unfortunately I got a late start, getting to the trailhead around 2:15pm. The meadow, wildflowers, creeks, and cliffs were breathtaking all the way up. We were tempted to stop early and camp by the creek about a mile before the trail junction but decided to push on, up the very steep granite to the lower lake.

With a few stops for rest and photo ops, we made it up to to the Lower Canyon Creek Lake as the sun dipped behind the mountain tops around 8pm. We had a few neighbors around the lake, but none close enough to feel crowded. We stayed up late and star-gazed, then slept in late to wake up to a blistering morning sun. After eating breakfast and spending a bit of time playing fetch in the lake, we packed up and headed back down the trail.

I wish we would have been able to stay longer, but I didn't take into account how hot the granite surrounding the lakes would be and was worried about burning my pup's poor feet. Additionally, by my second water stop on the hike it, my steripen decided to kick the bucket. Although I had Iodine tablets (which I used when I had time to wait), I ended up drinking water straight from the creeks. Call me crazy but the potential giardia was well worth the views.

I cannot wait to go back to this trail, hopefully by the end of the summer. Next time, I plan to stay in the Ripstein Campground the night before my trip so that I can get a very early morning start before going all the way up Ell Lake.

Long story short: I highly recommend this trail for the experienced and hydrated hikers. Your dog will love it and you will leave hungry for your next trip.

7 months ago

This trail is B-E-A-UTIFUL! My girlfriend and I were able to make it to the lakes in roughly 6 hours (including stopping for photos). We were only able to stay 1 night which isn't long enough considering the hike in is 8 miles BUT it was totally worth it! We're planning to come back for a 3-4 night adventure soon!

7 months ago

Amazing! After the first four miles it's BEAUTIFUL the whole way! :)

7 months ago

Our first time on this trail--and in Trinity Alps. Did 3 day backpack and loved it! Stayed above upper falls on the small island in the stream, then 2 nights at Lower Canyon Creek lake. Saw Osprey hunting in the evening at the lake. There is a cord over the log used to cross Canyon Creek below the outlet from the lower lake, but it's still a challenge to stay balanced with a full pack. We day hiked up to Boulder Creek lakes which are a bit warmer and the vistas are amazing. Trail is a bit overgrown but doable. People were taking full packs up. Bugs were minimal and weather warm to hot during days. Heard that there were sightings of a mountain lion but we didn't see any large animals.

7 months ago

Great hike I've done it five times always something new to find! Went up to L this time had a great time route was easy to find best way up, is up lol! Still some snow up at L, Kalmia is my next goal in a few weeks in August!! Be back soon

7 months ago

This trail was absolutely beautiful, there was plenty of space for camping right on the trail, and given that it was a holiday weekend, It wasn't that packed, although the parking lot was building and we had to park about a 1/4 mile down the road. Plenty of spots to refill your water.

7 months ago

Gorgeous first backpacking experience! Holiday weekend was crowded but not as bad as I expected. Spent first night at the upper lake, but it was just too hot so we moved down to the woodsy area for the next night- found a perfect spot in front of a waterfall! Much more enjoyable & cooler sleeping. Would recommend camping in any of the lower woods areas to keep cool and just day hike to lakes. The heat on those granite slabs and all day sun was unbearable! Very little shade spots at the lakes.

8 months ago

Booooo ya. This is heaven.

8 months ago

Great trail although still a bit early in the season. Numerous water crossings can be difficult with children. Absolutely beautiful place.

8 months ago

Enjoyed this hike a great deal.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Canyon Creek is one of my favorite trails to hike, backpack, and explore. The scenery is amazing especially when you go at different times of the year to experience the changes with water run off. Simply breath taking! Love it... A must do!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Beautiful hike. Lots of spots to swim & camp.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

excellent trail, plenty of places to fill up on water, if you get a chance definitely hike to the upper lake, then walk around to the meadow on the other side. it's a great place to camp and see lots of wildlife. For a short day hike go 1/4 mile north up the inlet and you'll see a nice waterfall aka "hotel falls."
only issue: after mile 10, closer to the lakes your not allowed to have campfires.(too keep the forest healthy)

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