Trinity Alps among state’s prime locations |

Trinity Alps among state’s prime locations

Sylas Wright
Lower Canyon Creek Lake is one of more than 50 alpine lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
Sylas Wright / Sierra Sun |

California is full of hidden gems. Take the Trinity Alps Wilderness, for example.

Located off of Highway 299 about 50 miles west of Redding, the 500,000-plus-acre wilderness — the second largest in the state — boasts more than 50 alpine lakes sprinkled at the feet of stark granite peaks reaching 9,000 feet in elevation.

More than 600 miles of trails snake through this remote pocket of the Klamath Range, including 17 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail running through the northern portion.

In contrast to the Lake Tahoe area, people are few and far between. Wildlife, on the other hand, is abundant, with everything from golden eagles to ring-tailed cats to giant salamanders.

The area also is rich with flora, with just about every tree found in the Sierra Nevada and many more. This includes the weeping Brewer spruce, burly old-growth Douglas fir, Pacific yew, red and white fir, Pacific madrone, pines of many varieties, and more.

The Trinity Alps are about a five-hour drive from Tahoe and the Bay Area, and a short jaunt north from the metropolis of Junction City. An 8-mile, mostly forested hike from the Canyon Creek trailhead leads to Lower Canyon Creek Lake and the mouth of the wilderness.

Several days are needed to take in the bulk of its splendor. It will not disappoint.