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Granite Lake via Swift Creek Trail

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Trinity Alps Wilderness

Granite Lake via Swift Creek Trail is a 9.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back 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 are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.7 miles Elevation Gain: 2,057 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

Rated as a moderate, Swift Creek to Granite Lake is challenging with a constant incline throughout. From the trailhead to Granite will run roughly a 2.5 hour mark. ~1 mile after the bridge you’ll need to cross a stream using the rocks. At the end of the designated trail on the map you'll find the first set of campsites, which do not have water access. If you continue west, you'll reach the north side of the lake which has other camp sites with access to the water. Mosquitoes are constant throughout. The trail is 70% shaded. Springs are available about every mile. Great scenery! Wilderness Permits and campfire permits are required before entering the Wilderness.

hiking
bugs
rocky
4 days ago

This trail is a beautiful short one night backpacking trip! You could do it as a day trip but you probably won’t have enough time to truly experience the lake! There was a solid amount of mosquitos at the lake so come prepared. Additionally the hike to the lake is up hill the entire 5 miles so pace yourself! Once you get to the big meadow you only have about 20 mins left! All in all, this hike is beautiful, relatively easy and very rewarding!

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike and amazing lake to camp at. Took my wife on her first backpacking trip this past weekend here! My only complaint is that all trails and the trailheads state this is about a 5 mile hike. It’s more like 6 miles, so just be aware of the extra mile. Other than that, highly recommend this trip. Our dog loved it and the camp spots were great. Try to camp on the north side of the lake, easier access to the lake and amazing views of the granite rocks that surround the lake.

backpacking
bugs
7 days ago

18 days ago

Nice moderate trail. Well marked and easy to navigate. We did it in one night (one avid, one beginner backpacker, and a dog). We arrived Saturday at 11:30, made it to the campsites by the lake around 4. It was pretty trafficked (as expected on the weekend) so the good sites with lake access were full of groups. We got lucky and got a pretty private site with view of the lake, it wasn't totally level but doable. Hiked out Sunday am, only took about 3 hours. Overall nice trip.

hiking
20 days ago

We completed half of this trail today and it was great! We made it to a waterfall on the Swift Creek which was a little over 3 miles in. Then, we turned around because we had our dog. The trails were nice and clear, a few wet spots, but nothing we couldn’t conquer in hiking shoes. The weather was also perfect! I’d definitely recommend this trail!

hiking
28 days ago

Was bitten by an unleashed dog. The owners did not take responsibility. Wonderful trail, excellent views with a few minor water crossings but beware of dog owners who are unable to control their unleashed pets.

backpacking
29 days ago

We started at Swift creek around noon on Thursday towards granite lake. Surprised the parking lot was full at this time. 6 miles from the start to a campsite around the lake. We saw about 5 other parties camping. There aren’t many spots on the lake, but we crossed a stream and squeezed into a small one with a nice view. Day two we hiked up to 7up peak and took the Black Basin trail. The hike to the pass and along the ridge was beautiful. Coming down from the pass towards Bear Basin trail required snow and rock navigation. I encourage having a gps tool right now because there are many different foot paths in the snow going different directions. We kept heading towards Mumford peak till we reached an unnamed lake and found a great campsite facing the west with views of Sawtooth peak and the sunset. We had many deer visit us during our stay. Day three we headed towards Mumford Meadow. The hike to the pass wasn’t hard, but the trail is tricky to follow and there are many overgrown bushes. Once down the ridge, we still had a hard time following the trail and recommend having a gps tool during this time. When we finally got to the emerald lake trail juncture, the path was clear. We saw a few tents around the meadow and some nice camp sites along the creek near the cabin. We had snow/sleet on Saturday for about 2hrs so we pushed through and hiked a total of 10 miles back to the car. Over all a great loop. Easy to do over three nights, but doable in two.

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacked in for one night to Granite Lake. Beautiful trail, the scenery is captivating and always changing. Lots of wildflowers! There were many waterfalls, too! The trail head sign says the trail is 5 miles to Granite Lake, it is more like 5.5 miles to the lake. The elevation gain in parts of the trail can be tough. A bit muddy in spots and we did cross a few streams. Trekking poles helped a lot. The hike in took 5 hours but we didn't push it. Took 4 hours out but we stopped to fish. Saw a few other hikers/backpackers along the trail but other than that it was very quiet and peaceful. Some mosquitoes at the lake at night but a simple bug shirt solved that problem. Butterflies were everywhere! Definitely a great trail and beautiful camping along the lake. The lake is clear and serene. Eagles and Osprey were there too.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

My husband and I did this hike 5/23/2020. Started around 11 am and took us about 5 hours including a lunch break. The parking lot was full at this point, but we were able to park on the side of road about a quarter of a mile from the trailhead. There was a creek crossing around mile 3 for us, and the turnaround at the lake was closer to 5.5 miles, making this closer to an 11 mile day for us. Lunch break at the alpine lake was perfect! We wore shorts and short sleeves, each packed a 3L camelbak for water. Wear sunscreen and hiking boots! Snowmelt made for some muddy sections, and parts where we were literally hiking through a creek. This was a busy trail. We passed lots of other hikers and backpackers and dogs. We brought our dogs as well (shepherd mix and a miniature dachshund who handled this big hike like a champ). There are some rocky sections once you get closer to the lake. We let our big dog off leash to get through this part because it was safer for her and for us to not be tethered together, and we noticed other folks doing the same. Everyone was very polite and their doggos well behaved!

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

This is hands down one of the most rewarding trails I have ever hiked. It is essentially a slow climb all the way up to granite lake situated at the foot Gibson peak. The trail offers stunning views of the tumbling swift creek, alpine meadows and snowy mountain peaks. In total the hike was 11.5 Miles. Some suggestions for a successful hike would include an extra layer, waterproof boots and clothing. Bug spray (lots of mosquitos) and trekking poles for the long descent on the way out. The weather can be unpredictable, the forecast was 71 degrees with some cloud cover. When I arrived it was 55 degrees with heavy cloud cover. Thankfully I did not get rained out and completed the hike. The last leg of the climb gets pretty steep and seems to drag on, however the pay off of getting to the base of Gibson peak is totally worth it. I am in decent shape and by the end of the trail I was beat. All in all worth every bug bite and sore muscle.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

Bathroom in parking area. ***Notes: there’s a portion ~1 mile after the bridge that you’ll need to cross a stream using the rocks. There’s steps that lead you down to the stream. In all trails it doesn’t show this. CROSS THE STREAM!!!**** Beautiful scenery along the entire hike. There’s a few waterfalls you can see from a distance along the trail. We went in late May so at the end of the trail by the lake you can see the snow melting off the mountain turning in to multiple waterfalls that become the lake and rivers in the trail. Due to the melting snow the path became muddy towards the last mile or two. You may have to hop from rock to rock during a good portion of the trail. The trail is easy to follow: IF IT’S HARD THEN YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY.

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacked this trail for Memorial Day weekend. Beautiful hike, not too hard, took us about 3 1/2hrs stopping to take photos along the way. It was busy given the holiday but we were still have to find a nice spot to camp. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a good 2 night trip!

hiking
1 month ago

I really enjoyed this trail! Did this on a day hike during memorial day weekend and it was not too crowded. We made it to the lake in less than 2.5 hours. I think this would be a great backpacking route if you are more of a beginner, because the elevation gain is a lot more gradual than other backpacking options in the trinity alps. As another reviewer mentioned, we lost the trail at one point and realized it was because we needed to cross the river over a large downed tree or scramble across some rocks. I loved the variety of the views walking along the river, entering beautiful meadows with snow capped mountains, and finally arriving at granite lake. Didn’t notice any mosquitos during the day either.

muddy
rocky
1 month ago

I'd rather call this hike "hard" than moderate... It was 4 hours climb for us, mainly, because I prefer to walk slowly, enjoying what's around and taking pictures on the way. And also b/c I am quite out of shape (too much pc work & too little excersizing) It took about 2 hours to go down But, just so you'd be aware, it's not an easy hike. The forest overall was pretty and peaceful. There were couple nice Meadows on the way. Not too crowded on campgrounds, even on Memorial Day weekend It's not as stunning as Yosemite or Kings canyon trails, but very nice, quiet and definately worse for coming back as a backpacking trip Sometime

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail and the lake was beautiful. Climbing up for 2.5 hours was a challenge, but the incline was moderate and it never felt unbearable (ok maybe once or twice I thought the lake may not exist). Our lab LOVED this trail—plenty of water and grasses for running around.

During the spring (at least) there’s a creek crossing about a mile past the bridge. Doesn’t show up on all-trails map but is visible on topo. Requires wading thru or walking over large downed tree.

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
3 months ago

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
over grown
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Absolutely phenomenal. Breathtaking scenery. Just go. You’ll thank me later. :)

hiking
bugs
over grown
10 months ago

The lake is beautiful as most are in the Trinity Alps. Even though it was crowded with 7+ parties, everyone was able to spread out. Mosquitoes are bothersome especially in the meadows below the lake. Access to the lake is limited to a few campsites, but water is easy to find in both inflowing and outflowing streams. Spotted an Osprey soaring above the lake at dusk.

hiking
over grown
rocky
10 months ago

Beautiful the whole way! Cover up if you're sensitive to brush and plants and wear shoes good for rocks. The lake is awesome and perfect to jump in after the hike in. We saw deer and a bear on the way out. Our pup had a good time too!

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