North Fork Trinity River to Grizzly Lake

MODERATE 7 reviews
#13 of 50 trails in

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.

Distance: 32.6 miles Elevation Gain: 6,377 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly






bird watching







wild flowers





washed out

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. Trails are always open; however, most trailheads access roads are closed or impassable during winter. Note to 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.

1 month ago

Just completed this trail in 4 days (two dads, four teenage girls). Lisa's description below is excellent. We found day 2 (8.8 miles from Jorstad's cabin to the Grizzly Meadow with 2700 feet of climbing) to be physically challenging, and we didn't have a 5th day to spend exploring the Grizzly Lake region. On day 3, we did an early morning hike up the Grizzly scramble to see the falls before packing up and heading back down the trail to Jorstad's cabin for night 3. The scenery was beautiful the whole way, but we would have needed another night in the Grizzly Lake area for this trip to be completely fulfilling. Details: Bugs weren't a problem. Plenty of water along the way. Requires several fords of the North Fork; none technical, but Crocs or water shoes were nice to have. Encountered 3 rattlesnakes including one on the porch of Jorstad's cabin. Note the AllTrails header lists this as a ~32 mile round trip. Including our jaunt up the scramble, this was a 37.2 mile round trip. From Hobo Gulch trailhead to Grizzly Meadow is 17 miles.

2 months ago

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.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

***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!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

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.

1 month ago

Saturday, June 30, 2018

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