Explore the most popular hiking 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.

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!

hiking
4 months ago

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
5 months ago

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).

Saturday, October 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.

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.

walking
Saturday, September 23, 2017

It's just a beautiful place to see..

hiking
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Long hike but pretty good.

hiking
Monday, August 04, 2014

Great hike to Hogan Lake

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
Saturday, September 23, 2017

hiking
Friday, May 27, 2016