is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

The Summit Trail from Pepperdine Trailhead to Patterson Lake

HARD 8 reviews
#1 of 6 trails in

The Summit Trail from Pepperdine Trailhead to Patterson Lake is a 12.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Alturas, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 12.9 miles Elevation Gain: 3,221 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips

bird watching





wild flowers


This is a very hard trail but we did it in 1 day. Took us about 10 hours. It was 13.1 miles. It was uphill the entire way to Patterson lake. Patterson lake was worth it though. It was breathtakingly beautiful! So worth it! Bring lots of water like 4 L a person. Bring snacks.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

this Trail offers almost everything. It's relatively long, for a trail rated moderate, but the ascent is very gradual, on a well maintained, and easy to follow path. There are two or three places where the trail itself goes over bare rock, which could be a problem, but there are piles of stones to direct hikers along the best line. The scenery is varied and often stunning. At one point both Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta can be seen. To the east, are dried Lake beds and Salt Flats marking Nevada. there are two there are two Lakes alone the trail, the first more of a small pond, and the second a spectacularly beautiful high alpine lake at the base of high cliffs. When we were there, in late June, there were snow fields running down into the water. It was as beautiful as any Lake we have seen, perhaps outside of glacier National Park. The trail is long, with traverses on hillsides and over ridges, but it is more than worth the effort. If you should happen to hit it in early summer, as we did, the wildflowers alone are enough reward for anyone.

Friday, August 04, 2017

This is a great hike and is ideal for a short out and back backpack trip offering a unique scenic experience in California. The Warner Mountains are a long skinny mountain range and the second half of the trail follows along near the crest of the mountains, offering you an "island in the sky" feeling with incredible views going both ways. You won't encounter crowds of people. You definitely feel in this mountain range that you are in the middle of nowhere (apologies to residents of Alturas!). Patterson Lake itself is a real gem and has some good campsites. The cliffs of Warren Peak provide a very scenic backdrop for the lake. You can take day hikes from the Lake to the peak or other nearby destinations. I was there in early August 2017 and despite the presence of wildfires all over northern California at the time the air quality and conditions in the range itself were good. The variety and number of butterflies at the lake was truly stunning. I strongly recommend this hike if you have a few days and are looking for an alternative to the more crowded Sierra Nevada.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

South Warner Wilderness is likely the least visited wilderness area in California. However, Modoc County law has less restrictions and protections for designated wilderness areas which hardly make this one "off the beaten path" if we take that phrase literally. The most glaring example of this is how cattle-grazing is permitted throughout the Warner Mountains. You may stumble upon cows resting along the trail and spook them, causing them to stampede in the opposite direction as I did. Their droppings will be obstacles to avoid on the trail, something one would expect while wandering out in farm fields and not in mountainous terrain at 7,000 feet or so. Keen observers are also bound to notice the more subtle ecological damage done by these grazing mammals - a large portion of native plant species have vanished here. Despite these drawbacks, which are generally due to Modoc County not having the same wilderness value system as the rest of the state, South Warner Wilderness is worth a visit. The region resembles the Rocky Mountains of Colorado - with wide mountains that gradually rise, aspen and other deciduous trees, rich brown soil, etc. Volcanic formations and scattered remains of metamorphic rocks are also abundant. Notes specific to this trail: Signs seem rare after the trailhead. Bring a map - unmarked trails intersect so avoid taking a wrong turn. If you are a novice hiker you won't have much obvious reference points other than lakes. Don't expect to see other hikers. I went on Labor Day weekend and saw no one.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Great hike, wonderful view......!

11 months ago

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Featured Trails