Caribou Lakes Trail

MODERATE 16 reviews
#2 of 29 trails in

Caribou Lakes Trail is a 18.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Forks of Salmon, 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 are also able to use this trail.

18.1 miles
4366 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly





nature trips

trail running






wild flowers



old growth



Coffee creek rd off of route 3 just north of Trinity center. Follow road paved 3mi then dirt for 17mi along river westbound. Lots of sharp rocks and flat tires. Air down car tires and come prepaired with tools incase of a flat. Drive will take 1hr to go those 17mi slow & narrow in parts. Watch for deer and bear. Park at the Big Flat campground a 1/4mi just past Mountain Meadow Resort. Bring lots of water and food on trip as there is not any store pass Coffee creek rd turn off.

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.

4 months ago

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

7 months ago

Great Lake and the other two lakes are just as amazing. Hike in and of early in the morning to avoid the heat.

7 months ago

I'm getting ready to head up here in three weeks. Any idea of how the fishing is?

8 months ago

Ran in to quite a bit of snow while on the trail, but definitely possible to walk around or over in order to get to the lakes. Have to wade through a creek in the very beginning of the trail, but after that it's a great workout with views better than most.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

My fiancé and I did an over nighter on this trip. And boy, it was impressive. We took the new trial in and it was a relatively slight elevation gain. However, we did get scorched by the sun. The new trail climbs gradually along many exposed areas. Actually there is hardly in cover for the majority of the new trail section. On the positive note, you don't miss a minute of the spectacular views!! Once we made it to the lakes we hiked back to large Caribou to find a place to spend the night. We hiked nearly three more miles from the trail marker...but it was worth it. We traveled over floating logs on a river and scrambled up a few rock faces but at the end was a camp site full of solitude. We had a perfect spot next to the water. We swam and fished and even rode out a hail/rain storm. We hiked back the next day. We hiked in, in about 5.5 hours and hiked out in about 4. We clocked 11.5 miles in each direction.

We would totally recommend this trial. Spectacular views on an advanced trial. Next time the only thing we would change is spend one extra night camped out. This would allow for more exploring and possibly a scramble up Saw Tooth. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2015

3 lakes, countless ponds, so much granite!, streams, ridges on both sides with a postcard view, swimming, fishing... I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

This trail makes for an awesome backpacking trip! There are 2 versions of the trail that lead to Caribou Lake, the old trail and the new trail. The old one is much more direct and strenuous, whereas the new one has a more gradual elevation climb but is about 2 miles longer. New trail: 9 miles, old trail: 7 miles.

We did the new trail until Caribou Meadows where the two trails meet and then we took the old trail to Caribou. The old trail here climbs to ~8000 feet elevation so you're basically on top of a mountain. The views here make that strenuous bit worth it! Once at the top of this, you descent into the basin where Snowslide Lake, Lower Caribou Lake, and Caribou Lake are located. The trail goes past Snowslide and then goes up some elevation to Caribou Lake. We stayed there and it was gorgeous! Once rested, you can climb up to Sawtooth Ridge just above Caribou Lake for some more spectacular views.

We took the new trail completely back to the trailhead. The new trail was in direct sunlight and there is no shade! There was a fire there recently that burned down all the trees. :( It was so hot!

Anyways, I would definitely do this again! The views are breathtaking.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hidden Gem
Perfect backcountry hiking and camping trail. Get to the trailhead early and climb all the way to the top of stop mid way and overnight in an alpine meadow. Truly awesome place to visit.
This is a must do trail in California.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My family has been comeing to this river and mtns for 30yrs. My aunt and uncle are shareholders of Mountain Meadow Resort along the river up there in the Trinity Alps. Area is extremly remote and wild. Not a lot of traffic up in these mts that climb from 4000 to 8500 feet. If you come hikeing up in this area come prepared for quick weather changes and and bring enough supplys of food and water just incase something happens. Long way away from help and cell phone coverage is none. The trails that are around to all the high lakes are spectacular. The trails are easy along the river to straight up switchbacks to some of the higher lake peaks around the Caribous. Bring a good map and a compass. If you do go up durring June/Aug stop by the resort and say hi in the Lode lounge/bar to grab a beer after your hike. Also check the Resorts website and maybe book yourself a week trip. Have fun :)

2 months ago

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saturday, May 16, 2015