Redding, CA: Stuart Fork to Alpine Lake

This 17-mile out-and-back in the Trinity Alps features pristine mountain lakes, stunning views and an easy, off-trail scramble.
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This 17-mile out-and-back in the Trinity Alps features pristine mountain lakes, stunning views and an easy, off-trail scramble.

-Mapped by Leon Nelson

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 27.4

Waypoints

WPT001

Location: 40.87593, -122.920082

Hike northwest on the Stuart Fork Trail.

WPT002

Location: 40.881187, -122.924266

The trail winds through the valley, paralleling Stuart Fork. Ahead: Pass through Cherry Flat.

WPT003

Location: 40.884237, -122.930746

Bear left @ Y-junction and continue hiking on the Stuart Fork Trail.

WPT004

Location: 40.891002, -122.935231

Cross Lightning Creek (great place to filter water).

WPT005

Location: 40.904675, -122.945058

Cross Little Deep Creek and continue hiking northwest. A scenic canyon opens up to the right.

WPT006

Location: 40.910318, -122.948663

Cross the footbridge over Deep Creek.

WPT007

Location: 40.922998, -122.955465

Oak Flat Campground: Several campsites are available; great fishing and swimming, too.

WPT008

Location: 40.93172, -122.957568

Bear left @ Y-junction and cross Stuart Fork. Caution: During spring runoff, the creek may be too high to cross.

WPT009

Location: 40.933082, -122.958834

Trail curves to the left (south). Prepare for a steep uphill.

WPT010

Location: 40.927619, -122.961087

Begin a 1.9-mile climb, gaining 1,362 feet of elevation.

WPT011

Location: 40.931866, -122.968254

Bear right @ Y-junction with Bear Creek Trail. Although the trail at this point is not officially maintained by the Forest Service, it typically remains unobstructed.

WPT012

Location: 40.936389, -122.972224

Pass a campsite 50 feet to the left. To refill water bottles, filter water at Alpine Creek.

WPT013

Location: 40.937057, -122.973129

The final climb before Alpine Lake starts here. Prepare for a steep, 1.2-mile climb, gaining 1,084 feet of elevation. The trail climbs past manzanita, offering little to no shade.

WPT014

Location: 40.944753, -122.983403

Turn left (west) to reach Alpine Lake. During the springtime, coreopsis wildflowers fill the meadow directly ahead.

WPT015

Location: 40.944169, -122.98866

Alpine Lake (6,150 ft.): This deep-blue lake is surrounded by thousand-foot granite cliffs and fragrant pines. Forget the overused sites at the base of the lake and walk around the northern shoreline to a campsite at the lake's far edge.

WPT016

Location: 40.942284, -122.993919

Lakeshore may become overgrown; look for rabbit trails to follow through the thick brush.

WPT017

Location: 40.941509, -122.99398

Continue across a meadow to the southwestern tip of Alpine Lake.

WPT018

Location: 40.941349, -122.993338

The best campsite at Alpine Lake, this large tent site sits 40 feet above the water and has wide, open views of the surrounding mountains.

To reach Smith Lake, retrace your route back to Waypoint 14. Turn left and head northeast off the marked trail. Bushwhack up the gully below the ridgeline on the right.