The Seven Summits of NorCal (July 2018)

Seven Summits Northern California

In 2015, I came across a small book (The 7 Summits of the Siskiyou Trail) by Aria Zoner – an Ashland-based ultra hiker~backpacker~peakbagger – that described a 448-mile long hiking loop through seven wilderness areas in Northern California (NorCal), with scramble climbs (Class 3 or less) of the high points in each wilderness.  While 448 miles seemed a bit much, these seven hikes/scrambles looked like fun, so we added them to our never-diminishing list of hikes to do just in case the couch started to look too inviting (assuming, of course, the cat ever lets us sit on it…).

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Box Camp Trail (Marble Mountain Wilderness) 03-Oct-2017

Box Camp Paradise Lake Marble Mountain Wilderness California

Paradise Lake lies beneath Kings Castle along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in Northern California’s Marble Mountain Wilderness. The lake can be reached from the west by hiking north or south along the PCT or from the Paradise or Lovers Camp Trailheads or from the Box Camp Trailhead.  The Box Camp seemed less well known than the other two trailheads (Lovers Camp can get extremely busy) and the Box Camp Trail itself has been described as recently reinvigorated, so it seemed like an interesting way for a first visit to Paradise (Lake).  The onset of cool Fall weather and the recent lifting of this area’s closure due to the Salmon-August Complex Fire where all that were needed to get me headed south to the Marbles.

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Red Rock Valley Loop (Marble Mtn. Wilderness) 29-Sep-2016

Marble Mountains Wilderness Northern California

We made our first foray into the 225,114 acre Marble Mountain Wilderness (details) during the low (or no)-snow year of 2015 with an out-and-back hike to Marble Valley from Lovers Camp (post).  But then our local – an actually printed on paper – paper had a small article about a loop hike from Lovers Camp, up the Red Rock Valley, north along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and then back via the Canyon Creek trail that looked interesting.  And so it sat on our ever-lengthening to do list for more than a year.  Now seemed like, with weather (rain, snow, cold!) predicted for the days ahead, the opportune moment to finally try this loop.

Unfortunately, The LovedOne was sidelined by a utility inspection, so this one fell to me as another solo hike.  So, alone (sniff, sigh), I drove to the Lovers Camp trailhead outside Fort Jones, California.  This is one trailhead that’s accessible all on paved road, but the last 7 miles is one lane and twisty – and is slow going if you get lodged behind a horse trailer or someone challenged by curves.  However, once you finally get to it, there’s ample paved parking and a pit toilet.

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Boulder Peak (Marble Mountain Wilderness) 18-Jul-2016

Boulder Peak Marble Mountain Northern California

Continuing with our endeavor to hike/scramble the highpoints in seven of Northern California’s wilderness areas, I went for a long, steep hike up to the summit of Boulder Peak (8,299 feet), the highest point in the 225,114 acre Marble Mountain Wilderness that is just west of the town of Fort Jones, California (details).  Boulder Peak sits across the Canyon Creek drainage from Marble Mountain, a long, curving, escarpment of stark, red-and-gray marble rock (often referred to as the Marble Rim), and the namesake of this wilderness.  There are three trailheads giving access to Boulder Peak: Boulder Creek, Shackleford Creek, and Big Meadows (the easiest if you can figure out the logging roads leading to it).  Boulder Creek is the one used most frequently and is the one I used.  Previously, we’ve hiked to Marble Valley from Lovers Camp (post) and to Campbell Lake from Shackleford Creek (post) but this was my first visit to Boulder Creek.

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Campbell Lake (Marble Mtn. Wilderness) 06-Oct-2015

Campbell Lake Marble Mountain Wilderness California

Earlier this year (post), we made our first foray into the Marble Mountain Wilderness in Northern California. So we thought it was time to do another exploratory hike from one of the trailheads readily accessible from the east. Judging from the huge size of its parking lot, the Lovers Camp Trailhead is probably the most popular of these, so this time we tried the Shackleford Trailhead which is south of Lovers Camp and whose access is via bouncy gravel, not paved, roads. This is Hike #90 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (Third Edition, 2014).


After considerable bouncy driving, we reached the trailhead, where we were greeted by a pit toilet and a few cows (cattle grazing was grandfathered in when this wilderness was established). The Shackleford Trail (USFS #5542) starts as a now abandoned road, which was lined with a few vaguely curious cows,

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