Aug 15, 2011

Canyon Creek Backpacking, Trinity Alps

Last weekend I got the chance to go hiking in Trinity Alps Wilderness in Northern CA.  It's an area I've been wanting to visit for some time, but logistics are challenging - it's a ~6hr drive from the Bay Area and there is only a narrow season when hiking wouldn't require snow traversal.

The Trinity Alps area is very large, we hiked only one valley.  The trail starts down the valley shown in the upper left side of the above photo, climbs slowly along Canyon Creek, and then there is a short scramble up to these lakes: Lower and Upper Canyon Creek Lakes at around the 8 mile mark.  The trail then cuts between the two lakes and after a short stream fording wraps around to the northern side of the upper creek (right side of photo).  Most folks stop and camp around here.

We cut east (camera in the above photo is facing west) climbing at a 40-60% grade for the another mile up to L Lake (some maps show "el" or "ell").  We camped on the granite domes above and to the south. That last mile was quite tiring, but rewarding.  We were sitting in a bowl with a great view of the surrounding area and night sky.  We enjoyed the Perseid meteor shower until around 11pm when the full moon rose above the nearby ridges and the whole valley was illuminated.

The map below shows the rough trace of the trail, although I just drew this by hand from memory rather than GPS, so it's not entirely accurate.

View Trinity Alps, Canyon Creek in a larger map


Doug said...

One of my favorite day-hikes anywhere ends about 2 miles northwest of the north end of your trip. Drive Forest Route 37N02 south from Cecilville, just a ways past China Creek. The trail climbs over a ridge, drops into Grizzly Creek, and then climbs that creek right up to beautiful cirque-filling Grizzly Lake, Grizzly Falls, and a great view of Thompson Peak.

Greg said...

Grizzly Creek looks like a wonderful valley as well. Have you done many other trips in the area? I'm definitely planning to return sometime.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

It seems you have a passion for mountains and valleys in different parts of the world, and despite you being successful in climbing Kilimanjaro it seems so much is uncovered in your own back yard. I have great respect for any man who has been successful in climbing Kilimanjaro. As mentioned previously on this blog being a former member of royal parachute regiment in the UK I know what it takes however I myself have never climbed Kilimanjaro.

If you travel over to Europe or to the UK, I would suggest try climbing the UK’s Ben Nevis, and if you ever make it out to Poland I would suggest visiting Tatra Mountains. Something which I’m sure your aware of is despite being successful in climbing big mountains like Kilimanjaro some of the smaller ones can still present a stiff challenge.

Trinity Alps seems like a really nice place and as always you’ve managed to capture some beautiful scenery which makes it an encouraging place to want to visit. In many respects Trinity Alps looks similar to this place

Jenna Erickson said...

Not sure how often you check this, but would love to know where you parked your vehicle for this backpacking trip. Maybe I missed it, but was this a day hike? Looking to go this weekend, thanks!

Greg said...

This was a two-day backpacking trip for me. It may be doable as a day-hike, depending on your fitness. You can park at the trailhead at the end of Canyon Creek Road.