“A popular run into the heart of the Trinity Alps.
— Miguel Vieira
Free wilderness permits and campfire permits are required to enter the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
This run - on the most popular trail in the Trinity Alps - has it all: ancient forests, mountain meadows, waterfalls, and alpine lakes surrounded by jagged peaks.
Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers
From the Canyon Creek trailhead, run north along the east side of Canyon Creek.This is mostly wooded with a gradual incline. You can hear the creek in the distance but it is mostly hidden at this point. About 0.3 miles in you'll cross Bear Creek in a beautiful shaded ravine. Remember this place for your run out as the perfect place to relax and get one last moment with a mountain stream before returning to your car.
After about 2.5 miles, climb switchbacks to your first real views along the trail. These switchbacks get full sun in the afternoon so take that into account when planning your start time. About 4 miles in, pass Lower Canyon Creek Falls. Pass Middle Canyon Creek Falls around 4.5 miles and run through Canyon Creek meadows at 5 miles.
The "meadows" is a bit of a misnomer, most of this is an open wooded area with multiple small streams flowing through. There are multiple locations to camp the meadows if you are splitting up the trip.
Pass the junction with Boulder Creek Lakes Trail
at 5.8 miles. Climb more switchbacks to Upper Canyon Creek Falls. Run through a meadow where you cross Canyon Creek at about 6.5 miles. There is a log at the crossing which can be wet when the runoff is still high. Past this you go past the stone house before the final climb to the Canyon Creek Lakes.
Look for Pacific dogwood, bigleaf maple, madrone, Douglas-fir, and canyon live oak at the lower elevations of the trail. As you gain elevation you'll find ponderosa pine, black oak, and incense cedar mixing in.
Brewer spruce, with its weeping boughs, is common along this trail and only grows in the Klamath Mountains of northern California and southwestern Oregon.
There are lizards everywhere you look on the rocks. Also expect to see gopher snakes, rubber boas (the coloring of the juveniles is a surprising orange), and possible a rattle snake.
There are also butterflies everywhere , at least in late spring/early summer. We had many land on us or are gear when we would stop to rest.