Stuart Fork Trail to Emerald and Sapphire Lakes

MODERATE 11 reviews
#3 of 15 trails in

Stuart Fork Trail to Emerald and Sapphire Lakes is a 24.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lewiston, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
24.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5403 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

backpacking
9 days ago

Emerald and Sapphire Lakes are both amazing. Here is a trip report with pictures that I wrote for a backpacking trip out to the lakes and back. https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/trinity-alps-emerald-lake/

backpacking
24 days ago

there seems to be a lot of mis information about how long this hike is. The USFS map we picked up from the ranger station in Weaverville said 17 miles to Sapphire Lake. The sign at the trailhead at Bridge camp where everyone parks said 14. We took our Garmin and it read 11.5 on the way up and 12.5 on the way back. So who the heck knows! In any case it is one of the prettiest hikes I've ever done. Morris Meadows half way up is a great half way point if you wanted to take two days to make it to Sapphire. Both Sapphire and Emerald are gorgeous. Wear long pants past Morris Meadows, as Jonathan said below, it's like walking through a tropical jungle. The wildflowers and butterflies were gorgeous. We saw 6 snakes in 3 days so keep an eye out! None were rattlers.

hiking
1 month ago

I'll start off with tips:

The gps location they give is about 2.5 miles away from the trailhead. I was dropped off and had to walk that distance to the trail head and subsequently after to meet my ride because of no cell service.

When you get to the rock scramble do not go down and do not go up. I accidentally went up about a quarter mile on some sketchy rocks until I saw the lakes and had to climb back down. Just go straight ahead when you see the rocks. You will get what I mean.

The board says 14 miles to Sapphire Lake not 12

In total it became a 30+mile hike

NOW the review.

I did this as a day hike. I started at 6 am and ended at around 5 due to all the extra mileage. It starts off slow with some nice views of the river.

The changing point was when I hit the meadow. It was extremely nice and has about knee height plants (I'm 5'10). The trail is really easy to follow.

After the meadow you then fall into what seems to be a tropical jungle. At certain points i wish I had a machete to make a clearer path but that is just me. Haha. Most of the trail is extremely easy to follow.

Once you pass this point you are almost there. You have some decent elevation and then boom you see the first lake. It surprised me. Very beautiful. Go up a mile or less and then you get to see Sapphire. I sat for 20 mins and made my way back.

If I brought my own car and started at the trail head the hike would have been from 6 am to 3pm.

The trail isn't hard. Anyone who is in decent shape can do it with the correct stamina. I am new to hiking and I did 14-15 mile hikes for 4 days previously and was still able to complete this easily.

Totally worth it though. One of the best hikes I've been on.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

This hike was great but it's 30 miles, not 25. That's a pretty big difference when planning to do it in 2 days. Still a very nice hike.

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
Saturday, September 12, 2015

Glad when I finally got up here it wasn't the weekend cuz I heard it can get crowded. We had a nice camp-site at Emerald for a night, then day-hiked up to Sapphire & Mirror Lakes. Quite a scramble to Mirror, but it was spectacular!

camping
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Went up here for labor day weekend. Camped in Morris Meadows and did a day trip to Emerald lake. Great trail and kind of maintained. The worst part is the last kilometer before Emerald lake, but it's well worth it.

camping
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beautiful! And a relatively easy 12 miles in and out