Canyon Creek Lakes Trail

HARD 35 reviews
#1 of 29 trails in

Canyon Creek Lakes Trail is a 14.1 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.

DISTANCE
14.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3047 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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.

7 days 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.

backpacking
12 days ago

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

Tips:
- 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.

hiking
16 days ago

backpacking
18 days 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.

backpacking
28 days 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.

backpacking
1 month 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!

1 month ago

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

backpacking
1 month 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.

1 month 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

backpacking
1 month 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.

backpacking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

Booooo ya. This is heaven.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

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

2 months ago

Enjoyed this hike a great deal.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago