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Rattlesnake Creek to Papoose Lake is a 23.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Weaverville, California that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 23.2 mi Elevation gain 5,793 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Running

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Over grown

Rocky

Scramble

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)

The trailhead is Hobo Gulch. 1/4 mile or so from the trailhead there is the choice to take the low water route or the upper route. Both trails have their good and bad points. The low water route has two wet river crossings that could be impassable if the water is swift or deep. The upper trail is steep, with a few downed trees. After a good 4.5 miles or so you come to the fork in the trail. Left will take you to Grizzly lake, the right to Papoose lake. Continue right toward Papoose. The trail meanders up and down, not too bad through Rattlesnake canyon. Remember it is called Rattlesnake for a reason. Make sure to tap on downed logs. At the 10 mile mark, after a real tough stretch up through an exposed area you come to the Bob's farm junction. Stay to the right. In another quarter mile there are a couple of camp spots at Miller creek. Great place to stop for the night...watch out for snakes and check for ticks. From Miller Creek it is uphill, hot, and not real pleasant. Just keep walking and eventually, about two tough miles later you run into Enni Camp. Stop and eat in the shade, fill up your water. FILL UP YOUR WATER AT ENNI CAMP. YOU WILL HAVE NO PLACE TO DO IT AGAIN UNTIL YOU REACH THE LAKE AND MOST OF THE APPROACH IS EXPOSED AND STINK-FACE HOT!! The "Papoose Trail Proper" stops just after Enni Camp and the "Papoose Scramble" begins. Make sure as you head through the boulders that you follow the ducks (carins). The path is not hard to find, just use your head and don't rush. It is brushy and hot. Hydrate. As you look ahead you see what appears a sheer cliff. Don't be afraid, there is a path. Again, just follow the ducks. The path is rocky and steep but passable, just be smart. Risks are not required, the consequences of a mistake are as steep as the path. After the first wall another wall looms, the Gateway. The same strategy applies. Go slow, follow the ducks, and you will be fine. Use your best judgement and do not proceed if you cannot do so safely. From here you are not far from the lake but a very sketchy but totally doable path wraps you around the side of the mountain. The trail is not wide nor is it clear of hazards. Be smart, take no chances or risks, enjoy the adrenaline if you can, and as you get on stable footing you will see the lake and the sight will make all the nastiness forgotten. Be extra careful on the way out, watch your step and your hiking partner(s). THERE IS NO REASON TO RUSH!!! Above all....USE YOUR HEAD!

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (7)
Photos (6)
Recordings (4)
Completed (14)
Barron Clark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
BackpackingGreat!Scramble

It's a beautiful hike and a fantastic lake. Be prepared though; that trail has kicked my butt 3 years in a row, no matter how prepared I think I am. I suggest 2 days to hike in and 1 long day for the hike out. Try to avoid hitting the scramble just before the lake at the hottest part of the day if you can. Trail was in good condition July 2020. Vegetation was thick in some spots but not as bad as previous years. One or two downed trees to climb over but nothing bad. Water crossings were low and slow. If you happen to find a yellow Spyderco Dragonfly on the trail I'd gladly trade a six-pack for its return. Barron@barronclark.com

William Hardwick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2019
HikingSnow

Did the trail Father’s Day weekend. June. Most would turn around due to the creek crossings. But we risked it. Our usual camp was snowed out. Had a great thunderstorm up there our last night.

Paul Ritter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 16, 2019
Hiking

We went up this trail In early June. The river crossings on the lower route was still on edge of being uncrossable. We doubled back after the first one and opted for the upper trail. There were 3 more creek crossings that were challenging. We got through the first 2 fine but chickened out at the final crossing of Papoose creek. We probably could have made it but the consequences of a slip could have been not going home. Some pretty gnarly drops just below the crossing point, where as a slip in the first 2 would have just meant a few bruises and wet gear. Otherwise the trail was in good condition though in need of a little maintenance / clearing in a few spots. Well defined & easy to follow. Be sure to look up so as not to miss the fork of the lower & upper trails. We were looking down at the river & missed the well marked fork. Womp womp! Hence the aforementioned doubling back. I’d say another few weeks and the water levels will drop enough to pass all the creeks & rivers. We knew we might run into that but you don’t always get to choose the best time to go. Had a great trip anyway. Only saw one other pair of hikers on our way out. And a bear The only real drag was mosquitos at camp. Pretty thick. We ended up going to bed early just to get into the tents to get away from them. I’m sure I would have given this hike 5 stars if we’d seen the lake.

kevin Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 9, 2013
Hiking
First to Review

The trailhead is Hobo Gulch. 1/4 mile or so from the trailhead there is the choice to take the low water route or the upper route. Both trails have their good and bad points. The low water route has two wet river crossings that could be a real PITA if the water is swift or deep. The upper trail is steep as a bugger with a few downed trees. Pick your poison. I took the low trail in and the upper trail out. If I were to go again, upper both ways. I like keeping my boots on After a good 4.5 miles or so you come to the fork in the trail. Left will take you to Grizzly lake, the right to Papoose lake. Continue right toward Papoose. The trail meanders up and down, not too bad through Rattlesnake canyon. Remember it is called Rattlesnake for a reason. Make sure to tap on downed logs. We only saw three rattleshakes but there were more we didn't...of that I'm pretty sure. At the 10 mile mark, after a real tough stretch up through an exposed area you come to the Bob's farm junction. Stay to the right. In another quarter mile there are a couple of camp spots at Miller creek. Great place to stop for the night...watch out for snakes and check yourself for ticks. Trust me. From Miller Creek it is uphill, hot, and not real pleasant. Just keep walking and eventually, about two tough miles later you run into Enni Camp. Stop and eat in the shade, fill up your water. I repeat... FILL UP YOUR WATER AT ENNI CAMP. YOU WILL HAVE NO PLACE TO DO IT AGAIN UNTIL YOU REACH THE LAKE AND MOST OF THE APPROACH IS EXPOSED AND STINK-FACE HOT!! The "Papoose Trail Proper" stops just after Enni Camp and the "Papoose Scramble" begins. Make sure as you head through the boulders that you follow the ducks (carins). The path is not hard to find, just use your head and don't rush. It is brushy, the scratches on my legs attest to that, and hot. Hydrate. As you look ahead you see what appears a sheer cliff. Don't be afraid, there is a path. I call this the Pre-gate. Again, just follow the ducks. The path is rocky and steep but passable, just be smart. Risks are not required, the consequences of a mistake are as steep as the path. After the first wall another wall looms, the Gateway. The same strategy applies. Go slow, follow the ducks, and you will be fine. From here you are not far from the lake but a very sketchy but totally doable path wraps you around the side of the mountain. The trail is not wide nor is it clear of hazards. Cosequences for a misstep here mean a 20 foot slide before a 300 foot drop. My guess is that you would at least sprain an ankle....at least. Be smart, take no chances or risks, enjoy the adrenaline if you can, and as you get on stable footing you will see the lake and the sight will make all the nastiness forgotten. Be extra careful on the way out, watch your step and your hiking partner(s). THERE IS NO REASON TO RUSH!!! There were at least a dozen downed trees between Hobob Gulch and Rattlesnake Junction. There is a lot of history on the trail, some good views of peaks and old mining leftovers. Enjoy your time, bury your poo but not your TP. Above all....USE YOUR HEAD!

Joseph Cofresi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 29, 2019
Hiking
View Joseph's Recording
Jerah Frye
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2019
Hiking
View Jerah's Recording
William Hardwick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2018