Canyon Creek Trail Trinity Alps Sawtooth Attempt

  • Updated: June 30, 2017
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

June 30th, 2017
18 miles, 3,200'

This years 4th of July trip was a 1680 mile loop visiting Trinity Alps, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and grabbing the furthest north of the Sierra Peaks Section list.

First off was Trinity Alps which is one of those areas I've heard of but had yet to visit and uur first day would be spent on an aggressive attempt to dayhike Sawtooth Peak.   The reports from rest of the trip can be found here.

To make the most out of the trip considering the drive to northern california is 10+ hours Jen and I drove to sacramento Wednesday after work.  We arrived at my parents place at 2 am and I spent Thursday working remotely while Jen ran around and bought the rest of our trip food.

That evening we had dinner with my parents and then set off for our first trailhead.

We arrived late and found the campground a few miles before the trailhead full.  After not liking the options at the trailhead we found a turnout that was at least reasonably safe and sacked out.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes were out and we spent most of the night sleeping fitfully due to bites.

The next morning we had a quick breakfast and set up at the trailhead.  The signs warned of high creek flow and beaver activity up at the lakes.

The trail was beautiful and obviously had a lot of traffic. The trailhead called this the most impacted area of Trinity Alps and I can believe it based on how many people we saw that day.

The river was running high and looked spectacular.

It also tasted great!  #nofilter

Our aggressive plan for trying to dayhike Sawtooth was already off to a less than stellar start since we hadn't had it in us to get up pre dawn after 2 days of little sleep and a lot of driving.  Nevertheless we set a solid pace up the trail and made good time until right below the lakes.

We reached the Stonehouse Site and according to the maps we had the trail went up the hill and met the lake at the outlet.  Since we didn't see clear trails going in any other directions (it was there we just missed it) so we decided we'd bushwhack up to meet it.

We did eventually find the remains of a trail after fighting our way through extremely dense brush.  As an added bonus everything was covered in this bitter yellow pollen that we ended up eating in large amounts along the way.

When we reached the lake I could pick out the actual trail back across the lake outlet.  From here we could see people easily walking along a clear trail.  Doh.

We ended up taking our boots off and wading across in water past our knees to rejoin the trail.

Then we managed to loose the trail again while circling the lower lake despite our best attempts.  Short version: stay higher than you think and ignore any ducks down lower unless you want to end up doing some minor 3rd class.

Our off trail detours cost us a fair amount of time and it was after 2 by the time we were sitting on the small stretch of trail between the lakes.  From here we had 3,000 ft and about a mile to reach the summit of Sawtooth after which we'd have a 9+ mile hike out.  Doing the math and considering we had plans for the following day we decided it was best to enjoy the lake a bit and come back for the peak another day.

The lake had some great campsites most of which were occupied.  We found the site where the beaver activity had been reported but was nothing there beyond a sign saying please don't mess with him.

We did better coming out and managed to stay on the trail the entire time.  That made for a much smoother descent and we made the trailhead by 8:30 pm by which time we were quite ready to eat and sleep.

We really didn't want to camp on the side of the road again and with the campground still full we decided to start checking side roads.

We found a spot along the E Fork Lake Trail Road that looked like it had been camped on before and threw up the tent.  After a quick dinner we crashed and spent a much more pleasant night safely out of the reach of the mosquitoes.

Tomorrow, off to Monument Peak and the Weaver Bally Fire Lookout!  More here!

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