“A "trunk" trail or stem that provides access to the branching trails in the Marble Mountain area and Sky High Lakes.”
— Lee Watts
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Although this is a wilderness, no wilderness permit is required. You do need a campfire permit which can be obtained from any forest service fire station.
This is a "trunk" trail that is not very notable by itself, but it provides the primary access to numerous other trails that lead to all of the major features of the Marble Mountain area, including the trails to Sky High Lakes, Marble Valley, Marble Gap, and the Marble Mountain Rim.
The trailhead is called Lover's Camp. To reach it, take Highway 3 from Yreka to Fort Jones. Then turn north on the River Road and follow the course of the Scott River about 16 miles to the Indian Scotty campground. Normally, you would take a narrow paved road seven miles up to the trailhead. However, as of July 2017, this road is closed due to numerous washouts and landslides. Instead, from about two miles farther down the River Road, take Forest Service Road 44N41. This is a very narrow, gravelly, dirt road, but it has been graded so that all passenger cars should be able to make it, unless they have very low clearance.
From Lover's Camp, the trail goes through a forest of towering conifers with scattered deciduous trees such as dogwood and maple. There is an understory of greenery and flowers and numerous creeks, some with small but beautiful cascades over the rocks. It can be hot at this low elevation, but the run is nearly always in the shade. For the first 3+ miles, there is only a gradual climb with minor ups and downs, but then it begins a steep 1100 foot climb up to the old forest service station in Marble Valley where it meets the Pacific Crest Trail.
About 3/4ths of a mile before that junction, the trail crosses a shady, smooth, rock-lined stream which makes a great place to rest. Across the trail from this, the stream drops over a high waterfall, but it is difficult to get a good view of the falls. The junction with the Sky High Valley
trail is just above this resting spot and nearby there is a good campsite, away from the crowds.
Near the forest service station at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, there are numerous campsites along with numerous campers.
Flora & Fauna
A towering conifer forest with a scattering of big leaf maple, alder, and dogwood.