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

Have done this hike twice now, once to the lakes and this weekend just to Morris Meadows, as I was intending to do Alpine Lake on an overnighter, but Stuart Fork was too high to cross this early in the year, and I got a late start to the trailhead.

Overall, the trail is pretty moderate with mostly a gradual incline until the scramble below the lakes. As others have mentioned, however, the trail is longer than advertised. I submitted an edit recommendation for the trailhead lat /long to be revised, so hopefully that will help make the description closer to accurate. There are several areas with multiple established camp sites, i.e. where you veer left to do the Alpine Lake trail (there is a sign), off to the left around mile 7 where the trail has a decline back to the level of the river, and at the south end of the meadow, which is around mile 9, to name a few.

This time, my hike was very quiet, I only saw about a dozen people over the course of 2 days, but late last June, the trail was much more crowded, and the people in the camp site next to us got drunk and obnoxious in the evening which is, unfortunately, probably not that uncommon of an occurrence given how busy this trail can get during peak season (though still nothing compared to much of the Sierras or the Tahoe area). Still incredible though and absolutely worth the effort!

backpacking
29 days ago

Very difficult uphill battle but absolutely gorgeous along the way. Definitely worth it. Tons of wildflowers, and changes in scenery. Waterfalls, snow, fields of flowers, giant trees and granite peaks surrounding you. There were many switchbacks and intense elevation gain but the trail was well marked.

some snow past 3 miles, but mostly passable. no visible poison oak or ticks. a couple flowering plants but almost no flowers yet.

backpacking
1 month ago

In cooler weather, I would have rated this four-stars. The July we went though, we had 100 degree weather on that first day that has a lot of elevation gain, and I cannot say that was a good experience when I factor in the resulting blisters despite many efforts to prevent them. However, it was cooler and beautiful up at the four sapphire lakes with expansive vistas and many wildflowers.

My group of six backpacked this route in March of 2014 over a weekend. We started our hike late morning, camped at the Canyon Creek Lakes at the top, spent the entire next day hiking around the bowl and up to L Lake, and then hiked back the next day. March was a little early to be hiking up there and crossing the river (maybe too dangerous in hindsight). The river looked safe to cross on the way up, but on the way back the river had rose significantly and felt quite treacherous. The nights were brutally cold, but L Lake covered in snow was the most beautiful sight I've seen to this day. Climbing up to L Lake can be intimidating for some. I don't recommend bringing your backpack up there. Camp below and make a day hike up there. Did I mention we had the entire place to ourselves the whole time? Best part of it all. I highly recommend this trail; stunning views, waterfalls, rivers, beautiful boulders, and whimsical wooded areas. Be careful when you're hiking around on the rocks and boulders--they get slippery--and be cautious around flowing waters. Don't miss L Lake!

on Four Lakes Loop

backpacking
3 months ago

The most stunning views I have ever experienced, and incredibly varied. Every turn held a new view. We went mid August (2017) and there were still abundant wildflowers. We did this is two long days and one night. Took the loop clockwise and stopped to camp at Diamond lake, which is less than half way, but the second day is primarily downhill (although there are some surprise steep inclines past diamond lake, so don't get lured in once you start heading down). The trails were pretty busy, but we were one of only two groups that stayed at Diamond. Note: there are no good trees to hang a bear bag near diamond, so I would suggest a canister. Overall it was definitely difficult, but absolutely awe-inspiring. I would do this trip a thousand times.

I backpacked to Emerald and Sapphire Lakes as a 2 days backpacking trip with my dog near the end of October. It was stunning the entire way from trailhead to the lakes. Fall 2017 in the Trinities was a very vibrant autumn and this trail really showed off the yellows and oranges of the deciduous trees lining the trail. The contrast of dark green evergreens vs yellow maples vs the Stuart Fork creek was beautiful. I camped up at Emerald lake, just barely made it before sunset - I clocked 16 miles on my fitbit. There was only one other tent there. I passed only 2 other couples along the trail and they ended up camping at the meadows. Walking through forests, along a creek, through a random meadow, crossing a few small waterfalls and constant views of the valley's peaks. It was a very secluded hike. The trail is well maintained. The scramble up to Sapphire lake gives a beautiful view of the valley you just climbed up.

one of the best views

backpacking
7 months ago

Best hike I've done so far, excellent views!! This is a great backpacking experience. What you want to do this time of year is camp in the woods, set up camp and rest so when you get up early in the morning you can continue to complete the loop. The reason that I say this is because even though camping by the lake might seem like a great idea, it is very cold and windy and there is no wood to make a fire at night!!

Had an amazing 2 nights up here. Absolutely stunning. ❤️❤️❤️

The best solo backpacking trip I've done so far. Firstly, this is 15 miles from the trailhead to Emerald Lake or back. I used my fitbit to calculate the return route on my last day.

Here's what you should know:

1. Dirt Road Approach is about 2 miles so drive slow and definitely make sure you have tools just in case.
2. No service about 30 min before you even get to trinity county so be aware.
3. Trail has lots up ups and downs through the forest but so worth the hike, make sure you stay hydrated and stop for snacks/rest.
4. Hiking shoes are a must.
5. Ran into 6 snakes, but they slithered away so just watch where you step.
6. If you're camping at the Meadows for your first night, note that you will approach a sign right before it that breaks a trail in half. The right will say "trail", the left won't have a sign but head left into the meadows to camp. Going right will just take you further up the trail. Morris Meadows is also 9 miles from trailhead, just fyi if you're keeping track.
7. There are plenty of streams to refill your bottles.
8. Once past the meadows, its like walking through a jungle. Its sooo incredible.
9. I camped out at the top of Emerald lake next to the waterfall. Didn't run into a single animal. I definitely recommend it.
10. Keep your food secured and away from your camp, lots of bears (I've heard) and critters.
11. You can camp at several creeks/lakes before or past the meadows as well. Deer creek is great if you're going solo. The waterfall will put you to sleep in no time.
12. Lastly, enjoy the beauty of this magical place !!! I'm so glad I went.

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/

on Four Lakes Loop

backpacking
9 months ago

Do an overnight this past weekend. This hike has amazing view, beautiful meadows full of vibrant colors. Its a steady up hill for most of the 6 miles. Its not an easy feat. Went up and over Deer Creek Pass down to Dear Lake, a few tents were up, no really good spots to camp. Even thou I was worn out by this time, we trekked on to Luella Lake, we camped here for the night, with only one other group. We had the lake to ourselves early am and took a dip. Watched the sunrise and headed on up to Diamond Lake, for me this was the highlight of all the lakes. Another steep trudge up the switch backs and up Siligo Peak, very sketchy route the last 300 feet, but bagged the peak. Head back to Deer Creek Lake and begin the 6 mile journey home. This was one intense, hard hike. But worth the blood sweat and tears. There are only a few ideal spots by each lake. The parking lot was full, but didn't run in to much more than a handful of ppl........

Went a few weeks ago with some friends and it was a beautiful hike with views of mountains and waterfalls popping out as the trail turned and wound its way up the mountains, a gorgeous crystal clear green river that followed us for much of the way, and the beautiful granite and mountain-surrounded lakes at the end. The two less ideal aspects of the trip were the facts that the Upper and Lower Canyon Lakes are completely exposed with very little shade, so spending a day up there can be quite brutal (the water is freezing cold so you can't really stay in there for too long), and the hordes of people all along the trail and at the lake. it was very difficult to find a campsite and you were always within view and earshot of other groups, not to mention the strain that must put on the ecology. On the way back, we stopped by the crystalline river to have lunch, but it was marred by the smell of human waste. Please bury your waste and keep it off the trail and definitely at least 100 feet away from water.

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.

backpacking
9 months ago

Went up with the Dece Scouts for a weekend of backpacking. We camped at Deer lake. There was maybe 4 other groups camped there as well. The weather was amazing and the stars were fierce.

In the morning Jing, Stani, and I did the loop clockwise and arrived back at our camp. The loop took about 3 hours with a big climb at the end. We packed up and headed out.

This place is great.

backpacking
9 months ago

I hiked the loop this summer, across two days, and saw all four lakes on the loop and Summit Lake. Definitely a great hike and there was still plenty of snow. The hike up to Deer Pass was a little challenging, and had to climb through some snow. There were a couple places along the trail where the trial was covered in snow but overall wasn't bad and the views are definitely worth it.

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.

Starts of slow- pretty but forgettable. Then the trail turns into Tropical California. SO amazing. I felt like I was in Hawaii with so much plant diversity. I backpacked this last year, 2016 in July and there was snow covering the trail at times making it harder to traverse, but manageable. Amazing views. Made base camp at Siligo Meadow and did four loops lake as a day hike. This is an amazing 3 night backpack.

backpacking
10 months ago

Went up to the 4 lakes loop for the 4th of July weekend. There is still some snow that you go through or have to go around, but it is melting quickly. This trip is well worth it. It's 7 miles to Deer Lake with a 5,000 foot elevation gain, and another 6 around to Summit Lake. My group passed many others because they were not aware of the large elevation gains. Once you do get up over the pass, find a lake to call base camp and then hike around. We did it the hard way, and took our packs from Deer Lake, past Diamond Lake, and camped out at Summit Lake. Deer Lake and Luella have small trout, so anglers bring a pole. It is very well trafficked during the weekend especially, so you will not be alone up there!

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.

Hiked in last weekend on a beautiful early spring day. A LOT of snow past the big waterfall. Slow going through sections of deep snow drifts, but well worth it for the views and the solitude. I've also hiked this trail in fall when the extra colour makes all the views extra special. Highly recommend.

backpacking
Friday, April 14, 2017

Canyon creek had some great views, fun to swim in the water with all the waterfalls. Plenty of areas for camping out.

backpacking
Saturday, December 31, 2016

I hiked this during the summer time with some of my trail crew family while working near there this summer. we started from Mumford Meadows on Swift Creek Trail. It is a bit of an uphill but totally worth it. We hit all 4 lakes starting with Deer and ending with Luella, the best way otherwise you're in for some brutal uphill. We camped at Diamond but the camping area at Summit is far better. If you're into peaking, Siligo is super easy to bag. There's somewhat of a trail that leads to it before descending down to Summit lake and it provides a breath taking view.

backpacking
Friday, December 30, 2016

We backpacked to Summit Lake with three families this summer starting at the Long Canyon trailhead. We had five kids ranging from age 8-11 years old and a dog. I must say it was well worth the heinous journey - approximately 7 miles to Summit Lake and 4000 feet of elevation. The meadows, the flora, the change in geology from one moment to the next phenomenal. The kids all made it to camp with some daylight to spare. Our second day we hiked the Four Lakes Loop in the clockwise direction- another 5-6 miles and 2500 feet of climbing. The views and Lakes -Summit, Diamond, Luella, and Deer outstanding! This is not a trip for the weary. If you bring kids they need to be fit and prepared for an uphill endless battle. The climbs are steep and rocky. The last mile or two a continual rocky staircase. Keep your packs light and just enjoy the trek. A trip well worth the effort. Would go back in a heart beat! Enjoy!

hiking
Wednesday, August 03, 2016

THIS hike takes 5 miles to reach the summit before it starts, with about 3,000' elevation gain!

I wish I would have known that before attempting it. I thought this would be a day hike. We didn't make it to even the 1st lake after the ascent because we didn't want to trek down too late, if we would have given this an early start we would have made it to at least see one. Most people hike the 4 lakes loop trail and camp overnight for a day or 3.

The wildflowers on the way up were gorgeous and the views of Shasta were worthwhile. It is quite a climb to reach the summit and not for the faint of heart. I can't only imagine with a few nights provisions it would be a very good workout.

backpacking
Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Although we didn't make it all the way to L Lake, we did hike to Canyon Creek Lakes, and it was absolutely gorgeous! The holiday weekend made it a bit busier than I suspect it normally is, but due to the length of the trail, it didn't feel unbearably crowded. After reading about the impressiveness of the lower falls on summitpost.org, we decided to journey through the brush, and it was absolutely worth the scratches I got on my legs. We ended up setting up camp atop a boulder overlooking the falls (See photo). You can find this old trail at the top of a set of switchbacks, where a "TRAIL" sign will point you to the right; the falls are to the left, you can hear them roaring. The trail is generally well maintained, at least as far as we went. It was quite hot in places where the lush vegetation was replaced with steep granite that seemed to magnify the hot summer sun, and this coupled with the incline will certainly leave you sweating; however, I highly recommend the trail for the surrounding beauty, especially as a good multi-day hike, where you could easily spend as little as 2 or as many as 5 days exploring the area.

hiking
Sunday, January 31, 2016

Highly recommended in Late June or early July. The trail head is easily accessible and there is ample parking. The first couple miles take you through beautiful pine forest before you emerge into the upper canyon. To the south you will see exposed red rocks, while to the north you will see exposed white granite - it almost feels like you are hiking in two canyons at once. There is a creek crossing where the trail can be a little tricky to follow but for the most part the trail is well-marked and well-maintained. At the top of the trail you will reach Bee Tree Gap and a view of Siligo Meadows. Turning south you have the option to proceed toward Echo Lake and turning North you will proceed to Deer Creek Pass and the beginning of the Four Lakes Loop. Outstanding scenery!
Remember to pack plenty of water or (better still) bring a water filter, as there is plenty to see, but the hike can be somewhat strenuous for novice to intermediate hikers.
Photo Album: http://imgur.com/a/xctqt

NOTE: As this site often does, multiple trails are joined under a single name. Long Canyon Trail is a 5.2 mile trial from Long Canyon Trail Head to Deer Creek Pass. The total distance of the trail as advertised here of 13+ miles include the Four Lakes Loop. Other sites will reference these as separate trails.

camping
Sunday, November 08, 2015

Ok so to start..the road is a fairly dangerous one to get to the trail head. The ranger will tell you it's 4 miles..it's not. It's 12+ to get to the trailhead. Keep going and you'll pass 1 lane or less cliff side and other cars. Once you get to the trail it's very clear. It was in the 50-60s all day and 20s at night the colors were great and fires are allowed so bring some shovels and fuel! Waterfalls were flowing too! Have a great time!

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!

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