Looking for a great trail near Etna, California? AllTrails has 9 great hiking trails, lake trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails around Castle Crags State Park, we've got you covered. You'll also find some great local park options, like Etna City Park. Ready for some activity? There are 6 moderate trails in Etna ranging from 5 to 21.8 miles and from 2,926 to 7,339 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

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Etna, California Map
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Wow...but do plan some bushwacking and scree scrambles. Leave the pup at home unless they are part mountain goat.

hiking
3 months ago

Parked at Etna Summit We were greeted by PTC hikers looking for a ride into Etna. Told them if they were still there when we returned that we would give them a lift to town. The hike is a gradual climb. The trail down to the lake is steep but it has many switch backs. The lake is beautiful. No one else was at the lake. Great place to have a snack. Back at TH there were 2guys so we gave them some water and a ride into town. Beautiful views

hiking
blowdown
bugs
over grown
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Backpacked in to Hogan Lake with the plan to possibly scramble to Big Blue and complete the circuit. The scramble from Hogan to Big Blue is really steep and since I was alone and had no cell service to call for help if I got hurt I decided to just spend the night at Hogan and pack out the way I came the next day. The trail from the trailhead to Taylor Lake is easy and the up to Hogan is intermediate but nothing crazy. Had a massive black bear visit my campsite that night. Luckily I had hung my food so there was nothing for him except a can of bear spray. He got so close a few times I considered using the bear spray but he left me alone in the end.

backpacking
3 months ago

A nice moderate trail for backpacking in the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area.

I did this trail on 25 June, 2019. After going about 2 miles in from Etna Summit, I hit snow. Being my 1st time and not knowing the terrain I turned back. After looking at the map, I went to Taylor Lake and scrambled up the mountain to the PCT on the other side of the snow. Spectacular views of Shasta immediately on hitting the PCT. Went to Paynes Lake, very beautiful, incredible wild flowers, And stunning views along the way. I returned past Taylor Lake and hit the snow from the south, and, recognizing Mt Etna, was able to get by the snow and travel back to the cut off to Taylor Lake parking lot.

backpacking
off trail
over grown
rocky
3 months ago

I would recommend to stay on the trails as much as possible. We made this a three day adventure. Day 1 was a difficult trek from Taylor lake trailhead to Twins Lakes to Hogan lake 6.3 miles. Day 2 was a difficult climbing loop around Hogan lake, climbing up boulder patches to Big Blue falls 4.3 miles. Day 3 was difficult to moderate went around Hogan lake back to Taylor lake trailhead 8 miles. Unforgettable experience.

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

Completed this hike with my family yesterday. It was a beautiful hike with great scenery. A little scramble and down but overall good hike. The lake was beautiful but too many people for us. There is a nice view of Meeks Lake from Upper Ruffey Lake. We didn’t venture down to that lake but it looked pretty from our view. Gorgeous little wildflowers and succulents all around. And lastly could have done without the bugs haha.

hiking
over grown
scramble
5 months ago

DO NOT follow this route if you are expecting an actual trail. We were only going to go clockwise 1/2 way up then back down.. When you get to the end of the Taylor Lake Trail, THERE IS NO ACTUAL TRAIL to continue on. Whoever made this map either drew it in or did some technical rock climbing. We tried to follow it, but it was much more technical and required climbing up steep, steep rocks that were often unstable. According to AT map, we WERE on the trail indicated. After 1/4 mile of this, we gave up because it was ridiculously steep and stupid. IDK how anyone would ever make it up to the actual trail from here safely. Now that is my comment about following this trail. My Garmin GPS showed a trail ascending off of the Taylor lake trail prior to this, so we went back down and tried to find it. We found it, but if you follow it, you find yourself in a totally overgrown trail and can only go about 20-30 feet, before you need a hatchet to bush-wack. If you look at the "official" map at the trail head there is NO loop trail going in the clockwise direction. I think the provider of this trail should have also provided this information. While we aren't as young as we used to be, we also aren't less adventurous, but we are also smart enough to know when a hike is too sketchy for us. We met another couple going in who had also downloaded this map, planning to follow it and we explained what they would find and where the climbing would start. They said they certainly would not be willing to try what we had just tried!

backpacking
off trail
rocky
snow
5 months ago

May 10th... started on the snowy PCT headed toward Payne lake, about 2 miles in lost the trail in the snow. Thank God made some maps, got back to the trail in .5 of a mile. Hit Smith lake camped there, went down about 1,200 feet to Taylor lake. Used the Taylor lake trailhead to get back the vehicle by the Etna summit. 6.5 round hike, totally worth it.

such a beautiful lake! We did a backpacking trip last summer (mid August) from Taylor lake, over to Albert lake, to upper Albert lake, spent the night then went to Payne's via the pct and continued on the pct to Taylor lake and went down the face back to Taylor. If you're scared of heights beware that there are some steep areas on this part of the pct with little shade and cliffs, it's also a pretty narrow trail so if you come upon someone you may have to jump up on the mountain side for a second. the views were amazing though!

beautiful area. We hiked in this area last year starting at Taylor lake then making our way up the ridge (off trail) and over to Albert lake and upper Albert lake. on the way back we took the pct to Taylor lake and made our way down the steep face back to the lake. We were with an experienced guide. that particular hike was incredibly hard. the trail around Taylor lake isn't nearly has had and if easily accessible from the trailhead parking lot.

hiking
6 months ago

Did this hike today. Had to park at the beginning of the road since it was mostly snowed in. Hiked the 2 miles from the beginning of the road to the trailhead, then the extra 1/8 of a mile or so to the lake from there. Lake is in the process of thawing so most of it was covered in snow.

Made it to Paynes Lake again yesterday, my 3rd visit this month. This time hiked from the Music Creek trailhead, then took the PCT north to Paynes. Also got an aerial view of Lipstick Lake on the way, though part of it looked dried out. It's a pretty small lake, more like a really big puddle.

Made it to Paynes Lake again on October 20th, two days after my first visit on October 6th. This time I took the longer but much less strenuous route from Etna Summit rather from the Paynes Lake trail head. The Etna Summit route is not only less strenuous, but also much more scenic. Aerial views of Smith Lake and Taylor Lake along the way. Great views of Mount Shasta and Etna backdrop as well.

I reached Paynes Lake today from the Paynes Lake trail head. (Can't seem to find that option here on this website, otherwise, I would have written the review there instead.) This is a a much shorter trail to get to Paynes Lake rather than taking the PCT from Etna Summit, however, it is quite steep and strenuous. I was the only one on the trail and at the lake. Also of note, lots of bear poop on the trail and around the lake, but didn't see any bears. Last weekend I did part of the trail that leads to Paynes Lake from Etna Summit, but stopped and turned around once I got to the overview of Smith Lake. Also visited Ruffey Lake on this hike. I will post pix of Ruffey, Smith, and Paynes here.

backpacking
Thu Sep 13 2018

Such a beautiful trail! The first half is all uphill so be prepared to climb, but the views are spectacular! About half way you should reach the top of a ridge, and depending on what time of year it is, there might be an area covered in snow. Because you’re so high up, the view from that spot is AMAZING. I would also suggest taking a day hike up to Albert and Upper Albert lakes. There is a small trail leading to Albert if you follow the small trail that leads through camp to the right. However there is not a trail up to Upper Albert so you’ll have to make the trek up the side of a cliff essentially. It’s totally worth it though. but don’t take my word for it, go see for yourself.

Mon Jun 25 2018

We hiked in from the road on the PCT. We hiked approximately 2 miles from the trailhead. The first 1.5 miles was steep up, then the last .5 mile was steep down. Once you hit the crest, you get a great view of Upper Ruffey Lake and Mt. Etna peak. Very beautiful. We camped fairly close to the lake and on the second day we hiked about a mile into meek meadow lake. Not too much to see there but the plains/Marsh was very beautiful. We took 4 kids with us ranging in age from 6-10. All the kids did well and would say this is kid friendly with a few steep areas to keep in mind with small kids. Bring your fishing pole!

hiking
Sun Jun 17 2018

Did this hike today, the short hike to Taylor Lake followed by hiking down to Hogan Lake. I was wanting to get to Big Blue Lake as well, but I couldn't quite figure out the trial to get to the area where I needed to start climbing up.

hiking
Mon May 14 2018

Beautiful hike, though we only made it about half-way before the trail disappeared under several feet of snow. A tip, though - if you want to do the hike shown in the map, be sure to drive to the end of the road; after parking in the parking area, walk up the dirt road to the gate marking the trailhead shown on the map. If your navigation system tells you to stop sooner (and there is no obvious parking area), keep driving to the end of the road. If you just want to go to the lake, it's an easy half-mile (or less) stroll from the parking area. This hike could easily be made into a 3-mile loop, hiking up the road to the PCT, around to see the gorgeous views, back down to the lake, then an easy stroll back to the car. That is probably the way I'll do it next time (later in the summer, after the snow has melted).

Sat Oct 14 2017

I’ve been going to Taylor lake since 1957. It is a short, gentle hike from the trailhead that is accessible by wheelchair ( for fit people). There are three or four excellent camp sites. Don’t make the mistake of camping on the meadow at the far end of the lake. The bugs will eat you alive. Fishing used to be terrific. You could catch fish from shore, float boat, or fly fishing at the far end of the lake. That ended when Fish and Game killed the fish and stopped stocking the lake to protect a threatened species of salamanders. This is one of the most accessible lakes is Siskiyou county. It’s a shame that short sighted environmentalists ruined the experience for so many people. They have presented no evidence that their actions improved the status of the salamanders. The salamanders flourished even when Fish and Game stocked the lake. This situation is unacceptable.

Sat Oct 14 2017

The best way to get to the lake is to drive north from the Taylor Lake trail head— not via the PCT. Thirty years ago the road went to within 800 yards of the lake. It’s blocked now because it’s too dangerous. Today, it’s a steep one mile hike to the lake. My best trout fishing day in my life was at upper Ruffey lake. We camped overnight and fished the next morning. We caught fish using anything we tried: flies, lures, salmon eggs, worms, and Super Bait. This was my children’s first exposure to fishing. It ruined fishing for them because they thought their first experience was common. The next time we fished Ruffey lake, we didn’t catch anything. The Lower Ruffey Lakes are a short, easy hike. These lakes are a good day hike, particularly if you approach from the Taylor Lake trailhead. I recommend this hike but don’t plan on a magic fishing day.

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