Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

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cunningkeith
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Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by cunningkeith » June 14th, 2022, 10:37 am

The Trinity Alps never disappoint. Conditions are nearly perfect there right now. This was a choose-your-own-adventure loop that combined three major drainages--so lots of climbing and views. Trails ranged from great condition (Swift Creek Tr.) to hard to follow. There was hardly anybody there, except for a trail crew from the Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps, and two donkeys. It was nice to see young folks helping to maintain the trails.


Day 1: Upper Bear Basin--This is a nice, steady climb with lots of meadows along the way.
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Day 2: I climbed up to to the pass below Seven Up Peak. Great views up there in all directions. This was the last sight of other hikers for two days. Most people were going down to the Four Lakes Loop (also great), but I was headed in the opposite direction. I dropped down the Deer Creek Trail, then left it and began climbing Willow Creek. This passed through a burn area, and it was hot! I finally reached the pass at the top of Willow Creek, and got to the back side of the Sawtooh Ridge.

Back side of Sawtooth Ridge--dropping down into S. Fork Salmon River.
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There was some snow below the ridge, which required me to briefly leave the trail and scramble, but nothing too difficult.

Day 3: Dropping down into the South Fork of the Salmon River, I really felt like I was out there. There is a huge burn area in the meadow at the bottom where the Tri-Forest Trail runs. There is also a "private" road, which runs near granite-enclosed Josephine Lake (also private?). I would love to know the story of how this section in the heart of the wilderness has a private road and "Josephine Lake Lodge" (marked on USGS map, and probably burned during recent fire). I'm guessing some families had claims here prior to the wilderness designation. In any event, it's a beautiful place and the burn is a real shame.

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The climb out of the drainage of the S. Fork of the Salmon River was challenging. Not only was it a climb, but the trail had obviously seen very little use. I followed Kidd Creek up to the pass at 7500 feet. This was the only section of the hike that had challenging snow in the north-facing drainage. There wasn't much, but just enough to force me off trail to avoid snow-filled gullies. The scrambling at the top was slow and hard. And at the very top, the choice was either to climb a 15-foot snow bank or a steep scramble on loose rock (class 2-3?). I went for the snow option, and was glad when I reached the pass at the top.

Dropping down into Ward Lake Basin--at crest near Black Mountain
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Ward Lake
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Route: 27.5 miles, 8,500 feet ascent
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Bosterson
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Re: Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by Bosterson » June 14th, 2022, 10:56 am

Hey Keith, cool to see a TR from you and a Trinity Alps TR - it's been a while! Looks great down there. :)
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drm
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Re: Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by drm » June 15th, 2022, 6:39 am

And yet the main Trinity Alps Wilderness page says it is all closed due to last year's fire: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/stnf/re ... 1&actid=51

The link to the closure order includes Swift Ck and Four Lakes trails. Did you see closure signs?

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cunningkeith
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Re: Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by cunningkeith » June 15th, 2022, 4:23 pm

Bosterson wrote:
June 14th, 2022, 10:56 am
Hey Keith, cool to see a TR from you and a Trinity Alps TR - it's been a while! Looks great down there. :)
Thanks Nat! Yes, it was picture-perfect down there.
drm wrote:
June 15th, 2022, 6:39 am
And yet the main Trinity Alps Wilderness page says it is all closed due to last year's fire: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/stnf/re ... 1&actid=51

The link to the closure order includes Swift Ck and Four Lakes trails. Did you see closure signs?
No, no closure signs at TH or trail junctions. There were about 10 cars at the TH, but I didn't see most of those groups--I assume they were going to Granite Lake. I picked up a permit from the ranger station in Fort Jones, and there was nothing there about closures either. I assume the website just hasn't been updated.

But two things I didn't describe in the original report. First, I originally drove to the TH at Boulder Creek (off of Coffee Creek Rd.). The entire area was completely burned out (hot burn, nothing left). I decided that was not an ideal place to start hiking, to I switched to Swift Creek, which was far away from the Coffee Creek burn. Also, the Swift Creek TH had an info board that listed a new proposed fee system for hiking :shock: $5 per day or $40 per season (no mention of quotas, just fees). The public comment period ended last September, so we'll see where that goes.

greenjello85
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Re: Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by greenjello85 » June 16th, 2022, 7:56 pm

Wow! That looks gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration.

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retired jerry
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Re: Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by retired jerry » June 17th, 2022, 8:12 am

I was just up there. Canyon Creek. Yeah, a great area. Now, I'll have to do a trip report.

I was up Swift Creek last fall. The fire burned from the Coffee Creek area to the north right to Swift Creek. They used Swift Creek as a fire break. A couple places the fire burned a bit across the trail but just a bit.

Because the trail was used as a fire break, that trail was in the best shape I have ever seen. Lots of people with chainsaws and other tools.

Everything South of Swift Creek was fine.

You did the loop 6/22 and you submitted it on 6/14, interesting :)

A good loop is up Granite Creek, over to Deer Creek, back up to Mumsford Basin, to Swift Creek and out. You have provide me with a bit of an extension to that so I'll have to go back :)

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Bosterson
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Re: Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by Bosterson » June 17th, 2022, 11:24 am

retired jerry wrote:
June 17th, 2022, 8:12 am
I was just up there. Canyon Creek. Yeah, a great area. Now, I'll have to do a trip report.
I hope you do a TR, Jerry. I did Canyon Creek Lakes in 2009 and would love to see how it looks now. :)
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retired jerry
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Re: Trinity Alps, Tri-Forest/Swift Loop 6/22

Post by retired jerry » June 17th, 2022, 12:54 pm

We went to Boulder Lake

Ken said that Canyon Creek Lake would be swarming with humans so we had no need to go see that

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