Emerald and Sapphire Lakes
ElevationAscent: 3,991' 1,216 m
Descent: -3,992' -1,217 m
High: 6,071' 1,850 m
Low: 2,709' 826 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)
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“Make your way through spectacular mountain scenery to the headwaters of Stuart Fork”— Miguel Vieira
After four miles, the trail crosses Deep Creek over a bridge and then crosses Oak Flat.
At five miles, pass the turnoff for the Alpine Lake Trail, choosing instead to continue straight. The trail continues to climb gently, crossing Deer Creek over a bridge at around seven miles. Pass the junction with the Deer Creek Trail at eight miles and reach Morris Meadow at nine miles.
Morris Meadow has awesome wildflower displays all summer and plenty of campsites.
Beyond the meadow, the trail turns west into more mountainous territory. At 12 miles, you'll reach Portuguese Camp, the last good spot to camp before the lakes.
The trail becomes steep and open as it climbs to the west toward Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is actually man-made, created for mining operations a century ago. There's still a lot of old mining equipment lying around, and this is a good place to take in the relics of the area's mining history.
Follow the cairns around Emerald Lake's north shore and then climb 600 feet to Sapphire Lake. At the deep, clear lake, enjoy the views of Thompson Peak and the Sawtooth Ridge.
Return the way you came.
Rattlesnakes and black bears are common along this trail.
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Need to Know, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Shasta & Trinity National Forest Office
Feb 13, 2020: Basic Wildland Firefighter training classes offered
Feb 13, 2020: Lakehead prescribed fire planned week of February 17