Mill Creek Lake (Trinity Alps Wilderness) 02-Jul-2020

Five years ago, we did a late-season loop hike to East Boulder Lake in California’s Trinity Alps Wilderness. Just over the ridge from East Boulder Lake are the Mill Creek and Washbasin Lakes. A trail, the Little Mill Trail #5572, connects these three lakes. We thought to take advantage of the excellent early summer hiking weather we’re currently having (not too hot (yet) and no smoke (yet – but hopefully never)) to hike the Little Mill Trail up to the Mill Creek Lake.

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Telephone Lake Loop (Trinity Alps Wilderness) 14-Sep-2018

Telephone Lake Fox Creek Ridge Trinity Alps Wilderness Northern California

The hike to East Boulder Lake in Northern California’s Trinity Alps Wilderness is a pretty popular one, since it offers easy access on a good trail to a big lake (ignoring the cows, of course). We did it in 2015 as a loop, with a return via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the tie trail from Middle Boulder Lake.  Further map-gazing suggested another loop – up the Middle Boulder Trail and the Telephone Lake Trail to the PCT, then west for a return down the Fox Creek Ridge Trail (and a short walk on Forest Road 40N17).  With cooler weather and an easing of the smoke from the horrible wildfires that have plagued us for most of the summer, today was as good time as any to try this loop.

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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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Thompson Peak (Trinity Alps Wilderness) 27/29-Jul-2017

Thompson Peak Trinity Alps Wilderness California

In 2015, my adventure hiking partner – Brad – and I did a partially on-trail, partially cross-country figure-8 loop (post) around the Three Sisters in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness. In 2016, we did a similar on/off trail loop in Oregon’s largest wilderness area, the Eagle Cap Wilderness (post). This year, we sketched out another on/off trail loop in the high country of the Trinity Alps Wilderness in Northern California.  Our initial plan was to start at the China Spring (or Gulch) Trailhead, go up past Grizzly Lake and over Thompson Peak (the highest point in this wilderness), then down the Rattlesnake Creek drainage, and back up to the trailhead via the North Fork Trail.  This particular trip didn’t work out much as planned but it was still an adventure with a high point.

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East Boulder Lake Loop (Trinity Alps Wilderness) 22-Sep-2015

East Boulder Lake Loop Trinity Alps Wilderness California

Earlier this year, we did a loop in the northern Trinity Alps Wilderness, greatly enjoyed it, and thought (now that changes in the weather have damped down some of the fires pouring smoke into this area) we’d do another, similar loop a little more to the east: the East Boulder Lake Loop (Hike #93 in Sullivan’s Southern Oregon hiking guide (Third Edition, 2014). This one, like others in this area, uses the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as a connector that allows you to loop through different lake basins – and get some great views to the east and south.

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Trail Gulch Loop (Trinity Alps Wilderness) 03-Jun-2015

Trail Gulch Long Gulch Loop Trinity Alps Wilderness California

The sharply-defined granite peaks of the central Trinity Alps – like those of California’s High Sierra and Oregon’s Wallowas – seem to be on everyone’s must see list these days. Despite the 6 to 7 hour drive from Portland – and the many folks joining you from San Francisco, Sacarmento, and points south – they are certainly a worthy goal. However, there’s more to the Trinity Alps Wilderness than just its center and we went to enjoy a loop hike in the Salmon Mountains on its northern boundary. This area is sometimes termed the “Green Trinities” and was a late addition to the wilderness – so much so that it doesn’t show on some maps of the wilderness!

Trail Gulch Long Gulch Loop Trinity Alps Wilderness California
Location (arrow) of the Trail Gulch/Long Gulch Loop
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Hodges Cabin (Trinity Alps Wilderness) 17-Aug-2009

Hodges Cabin Trinity Alps Wilderness California

We were in Northern California to hike Mount Lassen but were thwarted in that by trail maintenance and wildlfires. As an alternative, we decided to do a hike to Hodges Cabin on the North Fork of Coffee Creek [Supplemental Hike #183 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes/Travel Guide ~ Southern Oregon & Northern California (Fourth Edition)]. A short hike on a hot day with a bit of history and a creek.

Its trailhead is about 8 miles outside Coffee Creek, California and follows along the North Fork of Coffee Creek. The trail climbs away from the trailhead on Coffee Creek Road, crosses a low shoulder of a ridge, and then follows the creek which runs at the bottom of the canyon below.

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