Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

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weekend_warrior
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Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by weekend_warrior » July 5th, 2012, 10:18 am

A friend and I spent four nights and five days down in the Trinity Alps. I think this area often goes overlooked, although after spending some time there it's hard to believe why. The Redwoods are just to the west, Shasta and Lassen to the east, and the Cascades and Sierras to the north and south. The area reminds me of the Wallowas, a pocket of incredible lakes and peaks tucked away. We went in/out via the Swift Creek trail head, just outside of Trinity Center. We left Saturday morning and about 7.5 hours later arrived at Swift Creek. We really hit this area at the right time, as mostly everything is melted out and accessible. The weather was perfect, there were no bugs (not a single mosquito bite!), but the smell of spring was still in the air.

A sketch of our route. We camped at the confluence of Bear and Swift Creeks the first night, two nights at Emerald Lake and the last night at Summit Lake:

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It was a pleasant hike up Swift Creek in the evening, beautiful pine forests.

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Campsite near Bear/Swift Creeks
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The next morning we headed up Bear Creek basin. Lots of scenic little meadows on this trip and wild flowers in bloom

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Views opening up towards Bear Creek basin

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Several giant trees like this scattered about

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Bear Creek basin

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We topped out at the pass between Bear Creek and Black basin. Headed down from there to Deer Creek.

Views from the pass:

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The Deer Creek trail was hot and dry and not all that interesting. We pushed through, up and over a pass and down to Morris Meadows. This is a pretty popular spot and we saw several groups here.

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View up Bear Gulch from Morris Meadows:

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The forest quickly changed to a much more varied, lush variety. Several nice campsites along the Stuart Fork, but we continued up to Emerald Lake. The basin that holds Emerald, Sapphire and Mirror lake is incredibly scenic. Waterfalls were cascading down into Emerald lake, and we had the place to ourselves the first night.

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We fished the lake for a bit and enjoyed the sunset from just above our campsite.

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We played the "see if you can spot a bear on the hills above the lake" game. Eric won when he spotted this guy

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It was nearly a full moon. Super bright! In fact the only reason I pitched my shelter that night was to block the moonlight

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The next morning we took the scramble route up to Sapphire Lake. The view back down to Emerald

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We had intentions of continuing up to Mirror Lake, but the sun was beating down on us as we were bashing through some brush on the north side of the lake. We came to a great swimming spot and decided to just stop there.

Sapphire Lake:

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By 'swimming' I meant jumping in and immediately getting out. There was some snow melting into the lake just outside of this shot

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Eric taking in the view, up towards Mirror Lake

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We headed back down to Emerald Lake, moved our campsite to a more shaded one that we passed on our hike up to Sapphire. We fished and relaxed for the remainder of the day. I caught several small trout, and couldn't resist frying one up on a wood fire. Truly one of the great treats on any backpacking trip :D

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Another great sunset, and another super bright moon rise from Emerald Lake

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The next day we packed up and backtracked all the way up Dear Creek. Along the way we scrambled up above Bear Gap and got a nice glimpse of Sawtooth Peak above Morris Meadows:

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We passed Deer Creek camp and into a really scenic basin, part of the Four Lakes Loop. We didn't see anybody for the next two days in this area.

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We headed up to Deer Lake, which is a pretty steep climb, made even more fun by the hot sun in the heat of the day.

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Deer Lake was still holding some snow. We took a break there under one of the only trees around.

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We bypassed some snow fields on our way up to the pass between Deer and Summit Lakes

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The view down to Summit Lake from the pass

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We set up camp at Summit Lake, which is the only lake on the Four Lake loop with good campsites and good tree cover. I then scrambled up to the top of Siligo Peak. On my way were incredible views of Diamond Lake

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The views from Siligo were great as well. Lots of the Trinity peaks and valleys could be seen, as well as Shasta and Lassen to the east:



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Summit Lake from Siligo

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Dropped back down to Summit Lake for a little nap ;)

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After a nice nap and some dinner, we took a walk up to a point above Diamond lake for an incredible sunset.



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The next day we completed the Four Lakes loop by hiking past Diamond and Luella lakes, then down and straight up to Seven Up Pass. Lots of elevation gain and loss, but well worth it!

Diamond Lake in the morning

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Luella Lake and Seven Up Peak and Seven Up Pass in the distance

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We dropped down the Granite Lake trail, which had yet another beautiful granite basin:

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From there it was a quick hike back down to Swift Creek and our car. We stopped for food at the burger shack next to the KOA in Trinity Center. Very good blackberry milkshakes 8-)

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Last edited by weekend_warrior on July 5th, 2012, 2:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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drm
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by drm » July 5th, 2012, 10:33 am

Wow. This and other trip reports from this area have put it high on my list. Reminds me of the Sierra, and a lot closer than it. I supposed the Marble Mountains are considered a part of this area?

What is the permit system for the area?

Aimless
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by Aimless » July 5th, 2012, 11:06 am

The area reminds me of the Wallowas, a pocket of incredible lakes and peaks tucked away.

Another resemblance to the Wallowas is that they are far, far away from any big city, and so are protected somewhat by their remoteness from large populations. Great trip report, btw!

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Bosterson
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by Bosterson » July 5th, 2012, 11:45 am

Awesome TR! I went to the Trinity Alps in 2009 on the Canyon Creek side, going up to Canyon Creek Lakes and then up to Boulder Creek Lakes for the night. How is the road out to the Swift Creek TH? I've wanted to go back there and see some more of the area.
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arundodonax
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by arundodonax » July 5th, 2012, 7:27 pm

Very cool. Thanks for sharing. Looks like there would be some great early season out and back options too.

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Aardvark
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by Aardvark » July 5th, 2012, 8:09 pm

what a killer trip. That wilderness has been on my bucket list for years. And a full moon!



Great pics and report -
Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all - that has been my religion.
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cunningkeith
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by cunningkeith » July 6th, 2012, 11:43 am

Looks like a great trip. I just did the Marble Mountains. Here's my TR

http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/vie ... =8&t=12355

I thought about doing the Trinity Alps but thought it would have more snow than your TR shows. It's amazing how fast this area melted out given it was a "normal" snow year for the Siskiyous.
drm wrote:Wow. This and other trip reports from this area have put it high on my list. Reminds me of the Sierra, and a lot closer than it. I supposed the Marble Mountains are considered a part of this area?

What is the permit system for the area?
The Marble Mountains are north of the northern Trinity Alps (maybe 40 miles?).

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BigBear
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by BigBear » July 6th, 2012, 12:13 pm

So just a bunch of alpine lakes, rugged mountains, and scenic vistas. Too bad you couldn't get some shots without that yellow tent in the way :)

Nice pictures. Wish I'd been there.

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bobcat
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by bobcat » July 6th, 2012, 1:34 pm

I've driven through here so many times but never really stopped to smell the roses. Thanks for the pictures. They are very convincing!

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Born2BBrad
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Re: Trinity Alps Wilderness 6/30 - 7/4

Post by Born2BBrad » July 7th, 2012, 3:58 pm

drm wrote:Wow. This and other trip reports from this area have put it high on my list. Reminds me of the Sierra, and a lot closer than it. I supposed the Marble Mountains are considered a part of this area?

What is the permit system for the area?
I just read the cunningkeith TR and agree with drm on the need to move up this area in the list of priorities for a backpacking trip. I added this one to my favorites too so I can remind me about it.

Brad
Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.
- Jean Luc Picard

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