Explore the most popular fishing trails near Etna with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

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.

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!

Saturday, October 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.

hiking
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Long hike but pretty good.

backpacking
3 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
Saturday, September 23, 2017

hiking
Friday, May 27, 2016

hiking
Thursday, July 23, 2015

hiking
Thursday, July 23, 2015