“Another way of accessing the Pacific Crest Trail in California's Marble Mountain Wilderness.”
— Bruce Hope
The usual wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply. You may encounter horses and cows. The trail is usually closed by snow from November to June.
The Box Camp Trail provides an alternative way to reach the Pacific Crest Trail in California’s Marble Mountain Wilderness. It’s an option to consider when the Lovers Camp Trailhead gets crowded on summer weekends.
Access to the Box Camp Trailhead is via a single-lane paved road (Forest Road 44N45)—the road that goes to Lovers Camp—and a good gravel road (Forest Road 44N45). Where 44N45 reaches a five-way junction next to a large corral, you turn left (south) onto Forest Road 44N59Y for a short, steep, and narrow gravel drive to the Box Camp Trailhead. The runner trailhead is at the first big wide spot on FR 44N59Y, with parking for several cars and identified with a signboard. It is not at the corral at the five-way intersection.
The trail starts out through a forest and soon crosses an old road (Forest Road 43N20Y), passes the end of yet another old road (Forest Road 44N59YA), and then climbs steadily up into meadows overlooking Canyon Creek (part of the Klamath River Watershed). Higher up, the trail passes above "Death Valley" (the headwaters of Death Valley Creek) with a view south to the Sky High Lakes area. Still further up, the forest and meadows transition to stubby manzanita and rock outcroppings. At one point, the trail passes through a band of the white marble rock that gives this wilderness area its name.
The last stretch of trail before its junction with the PCT is largely treeless, allowing for big views in three directions. Black Marble Mountain (7,442 feet) looms to the southwest and the rock turret of Kings Castle (7,405 feet) can just be made out to the north. From the junction, you have the option of turning north on the PCT to Paradise Lake or south to Canyon Creek and the Sky High Lakes, or going forward for a short, moderate scramble to the summit of Black Marble Mountain.