Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

Great hike. A little bit of everything. Stream and waterfalls up in to sculpted granite peaks and high mountain lakes. We did it as a 4 day 3 night trip. Night 1 we stayed just above the meadows (approx. 10 miles in) at a great campsite right on the Stuart Fork. Day 2 we went up to Emerald Lake (approx. 5 miles) and found a cool camp spot on the far end of the lake. There is some fishing opportunities in the lake. Day 3 we headed back down and stayed at another awesome campsite off the Stuart Fork again about 5 miles in from the trail head. Day 4 back to the parking lot by 11am. Very steady manageable grade up to the lake. Some bugs in early July but jungle juice did the trick.

We hiked the trail to Emerald Lake, setting up camp at Morris Meadows (~8mi from the trailhead, 4-5mi to Emerald Lake). The trail is well shaded for the most part to Morris Meadows and subsequently is densely packed with vegetation. The tree cover is a blessing as the trail does get pretty hot in the afternoon. However, it is also a bane since it eliminates any views of the peaks surrounding the forest. I found the trail to be fairly challenging mentally due to the monotony of just walking through the forest for several miles. It is relatively easy physically, which is probably one of the reasons why it is as crowded as it gets - our campground ran out of campsites by 5 pm.

On the plus side, this region is rich in wildlife - we saw bears, snakes, deer and many birds. Water is also abundant, so you don't have to lug around much if you carry filtration equipment. As a plus, if you have a water-loving dog, they will have a blast (ours definitely did). Finally, the permitting process is one of the easiest in all of California.

Went in May, one of the most gorgeous hikes I’ve ever done.

Canyon creek never disappoints!

An absolutely amazing hike. I went to Emerald and Sapphire lakes and spread it out between three days. Even though I was completely out of shape it was all doable and worth it. The trail starts out easy enough to get you warmed up and gets harder as it progressed.

Beautiful trail. Plenty of wildlife.

Amazing trail. Did this as a day hike Memorial Day 2018. Most people on trail were backpacking. Easily doable in a day. Steadily progressed uphill the whole way. Still a good amount of snow at high elevations on trail. Views are amazing and frequently changing. OF NOTE: this trail is ~ 1 mile longer than stated on this app but elevation change is close to true.

So far, I try to never go to the same TH twice. However, I loved this place so much that I cannot WAIT to go back.
The worst part of this trip, was that it got cut short.
There is a nice campground at...Alpine Lake, I believe. Lots of water sources along the way and creek crossings, which is always fun.
I would say the Morris Meadows Campground is more like 9 miles. It is definitely an ideal location. The second site out of the 3 is huge and had multiple fire rings from previous burns. It would be good for a large group or if a couple families get there.
We experience the most wonderful rain and thunderstorm while there. My friend left her tent open, which made for the immediate departure.
The hike to Emerald Lakes was an easy one, but we left our packs at camp. With our packs, probably would have been not as easy. Hah.
I definitely recommend. Also, just prefer this Wilderness. They aren't as strict. Hopefully, people don't leave big messes and force them to enforce stricter rules.

AmaZing trail! Well shaded for the first 10 miles. Tons of water. We brought our dog. We planned to go to alpine lake but the river crossing was too high to ford so we ended up camping near deer creek - 7 miles in - and day hiking to emerald and sapphire. Views of and from the lake reminded me of the eastern sierras alpine lakes. Saw two rattle snakes on the tail right before Caribou trail turn off. Saw tons of other garter snakes. Amazingly we got lucky and there were no mosquitoes and very few bugs. No poison oak. Sapphire lake is the deepest lake in the trinity alps at 200ft deep. Saw some beautiful golden trout swimming.

As for the debate about the mileage: Trail sign says 14 miles to Sapphire. All trails says 12.4 miles and outdoor project maps says 14 to emerald. As an avid backpacker and hiker and trail runner, I would say it felt more like 14miles.
100% recommend this trail!

road to trailhead in good condition

trail is challenging. our GPS put it closer to 10 miles RT but still 4500 gain.

there are a few areas where trail is overgrown with brush but nothing horrible.

great hike with amazing views of trinity alps, Shasta, lassen...highly recommend

Take caution around L Lake. We saw fresh bear tracks in the snow.

Great hike. Wear waterproof boots. Uphill battle at times, but well worth it.

Gorgeous hike! Steep but my three year old was able to hike it just fine! Parking lot gets parked up fast, start early.

This trail was definitely a beautiful hike. The view is amazing, and even the trail is pretty. However, many parts of the trail are overgrown, several times we almost got off track. It sincerely is all uphill climb. And just when you reach the top and think the hard work is done, remember that the sharp inclines you came up, you have to be careful and engaged on the way down.
Loved the hike and glad we did it. Definitely caught off guard at just how hard it was. If you like a challenge, this hikes for you!

hiking
2 months ago

Really great hike! Took about 3.5 hours to get to the top, and 1.5 hours to get down. Great scenery once you get to the top. This trail is a definite butt kicker though; your calfs will be burning pretty much from the start to the peak.

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
2 months 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.

hiking
4 months ago

If you're heading north on CA highway 3, drive 9.4 miles past the Rush Creek Road intersection. Granite Peak road is what you're looking for- a dirt road that will be on your left, across from BushyTail campground. Take this dirt road for about 3 miles (avoid turning on smaller logging turnoffs) until you dead end into the trail head.

The hike itself is splendidly steep, the first mile is foreshadowing for the remainder of the ascent. Switchbacks lead up through a beautiful forest.

The views become more enjoyable on the final 1/3 of the ascent. We hiked through patchy snow for the final 0.75 miles (in February, of an unseasonably warm year.)

Portions of the trail are a bit difficult to follow, especially on the second half of the ascent.

Views from the top include Mt Shasta (northeast), Lassen (east), a great view of the Trinity Alps, Shasta Bally (southeast in whiskey town), and Bully Choop (south).

A great intro to Trinity Alps hiking, as many of the other Trinity hikes are upwards of 14 miles.

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!

hiking
7 months ago

I hiked this peak as a day hike with my dog in June 2017. I started too late in the morning by getting to trail head at 11am, I'd recommend an earlier start, especially in the summer. It was hot, and the first 3 miles did not offer streams for water for my dog - he was not a happy camper about the heat. The climb is steep and persistent, many switchbacks. An amazing work out though and good to build stamina! My legs were noodles by the time I reached the false summit... which made the climb to the true summit a bugger, but so worth it! The 360* view including Mt Shasta, Trinity and Whiskeytown Lake, and the snowcapped peaks deep in the Trinities was spectacular. Worth the climb! But I will probably never hike this peak again, once is enough for me.

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.

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.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful views and as described. I had a hard time finding/following the trail at the very end (to the Peak) but that could just be me. Some scrubery overgrowth but minimal.

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/

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.

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.

backpacking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

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.

Load More