North Fork Trinity River to Grizzly Lake

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Trinity Alps Wilderness

North Fork Trinity River to Grizzly Lake is a 32.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Bar, California that features a waterfall 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.

Length32.6 miElevation gain6,377 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingFishingHikingSnowshoeingBird watchingRunningDog friendlyForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallwild-flowersWildlifeBlowdownBugsRockyScrambleSnowWashed out
Description
Waypoints (0)

SEASONAL ROAD CLOSURE: Roads leading to this trailhead are subject to seasonal closure. For more information, please visit https://wilderness.net/visit-wilderness/?ID=611. This is an outstanding ramble along the idyllic North Fork Trinity River to heavenly Grizzly Lake. You need more than a weekend to do it right, but in return you get to experience both a quiet river drainage and a spectacular lake tucked into a granite cirque below the Trinity Alps' highest peak. Free wilderness permit required for overnight visitors; free campfire permits required for fires and camp stoves. Anglers: Check with the CA Department of Fish & Wildlife before casting a line. The North Fork is subject to fishing restrictions to protect endangered species.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (11)
Photos (25)
Recordings (11)
Completed (16)
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Danielle OZ
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Backpacking

The lake is gorgeous! However, the scramble is not a *real* scramble. There is a definite clear trail going up marked with cairns the whole way. If you find yourself truly scrambling (like we did, basically rock climbing) you are NOT on the right trail. Go back down and try again. There are 2 dead trees near the bottom, go in between them (see pic). The lake is gorgeous perfection. We went up in the afternoon and were the only ones there. The longer trail from Hobo Gulch TH is really such a fantastic trail. Gradual ups and downs and while it’s not much for vistas, the terrain itself is quite interesting. This entire trail was not as difficult as I had suspected (not after doing the Stoney Ridge TH switchbacks a month ago!) It is overgrown in spots but I managed in a skirt and tank with barely visible minor scratches. We had 3 nights but 4 would have been better. 1st night camped at China Gardens, 2nd night at Grizzly Meadow, and 3rd night at Jorstad Cabin. August was a perfect time to go. The waterfall at Grizzly was a running bit light but no wet rocks and no mosquitoes. We took the high water trail on the way in and low water on the way out (just 2 easy crossings on low water, in mid August.) Side trip on the way out to see Morrison cabin was awesome. You have to cross the river to get to it. We were happy we didn't bring the dogs on this one. Dirt road into TH is 12 miles and slow going, completely doable in a Subaru Impreza but higher clearance would have made it a lot faster!

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Kyle Pickering
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BackpackingOver grown

My dog Stani and I drove up to Hobo Gultch Trailhead on Wednesday night and slept in the car. The next morning we set of for the meadows at the base of Grizzly Lake. We made a wrong turn at the first fork, and accidentally took the low water trail. After 6 icy cold river crossings, we backtracked and got on the high water trail. The trail was clear and pleasant to follow until a few miles after the cabin. Lots of overgrowth and downfall. There were also lots of ticks. I had to pull quite a few off my pup, and I found two on my chest at night that I had to pull off. The views at the meadow were beautiful. Still some snow on the scramble up to the lake. After 21 miles (due to the low water detour), we were happy to skip the scramble and enjoy the waterfall. The next day, we hiked back to the car, with a round trip of about 40 miles. Looking forward to going back and getting to the lake.

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Lisa Archer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2019
Backpacking

We just got back from spending 4 days on this trail. Amazing! We hiked about 9 miles in to a fabulous campsite next to the river, just past Jorstads cabin. A lot of up and down to reach there. But pretty nice. Then the next day was mostly uphill. We did hit a lot of overgrown bushes between that campsite and Bobs Farm trail. But after that we met up to the China Springs trail and it was pretty clear past that point. Minus alot of fallen trees here and there. We didn't see very many people on the first half since most people come from China Springs. Plenty of opportunities to filter water. And a lot of shade to stay cool under. We reached Grizzly Meadows and met several people already there with camp set up. But from the advice of another camper we were directed to the end of the meadow where the most glorious campsite awaited us. We slept listening to the thunder of the falls and ate our meals just watching the beauty of the falls. We did not make it to the lake. We were told it was frozen over. And we were all quite content to make the falls our final destination. Beware though of the deer there. They did steal some articles of clothing at night. Highly recommend hiking this trail in from Hobo Gulch.

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Mark Bradley
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Backpacking

***Warning: The 12-mile drive from Highway 299 to the trail head is covered with sharp rocks. There were 3 different flat tires at the trailhead. Make sure you've got an inflated-spare, drive slow & don't hesitate to stop the vehicle to move rocks out of the road. The hike in starts off easy, then the last 1/3 is a nice challenge. The river crossings (right now) are easy, just grab a stick for added support, and you'll cross just fine. There's three patches in the trail that required pushing through over-growth, but nothing so bad you'd lose the trail. All the work that you have to put in to get to the lake is absolutely worth it. Grizzly Meadows is gorgeous alone, but the falls and lake put this trip up there with the best of them. The hike out is a breeze, since you put in all the work on the way in. Great backpacking trip, highly recommend it and will do it again!

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Stefan Munneke
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Backpacking
First to Review

Fairly long and strenuous hike (4x 10 mile days, with 4000ft elevation gain). The first day is pretty mild (we slept at Pegleg campsite), but the second day to grizzly meadows has a lot of bush wacking and a lot of elevation gain (4000 ft). The meadow and waterfall is super nice. There are plenty of campsites in the meadow. From here you can scramble to the top of the fall and Grizzly Lake (1000ft up) the next day. Make sure you follow the cairns, and you will be fine! Grizzly lake is absolutely stunning. We hiked 4th of July weekend and there was only snow up at the lake, but we could still hike to the lake and top of waterfall. Also there are two river crossings, although water was fairly high, they were passable knee deep.

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Kim Jayne
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Hiking
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Eric Stokes
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Hiking
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Adam Bullock
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Hiking
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Eric Stokes
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Hiking
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Joe Berry
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Hiking
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Kelly Thorson
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Hiking
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