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Big Blue Lake Route



1.5 mile 2.5 kilometer point to point
59% Runnable


Ascent: 1,481' 451 m
Descent: -295' -90 m
High: 7,444' 2,269 m
Low: 5,968' 1,819 m


Avg Grade: 22% (12°)
Max Grade: 65% (33°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Bruce Hope

A challenging cross-country route between Hogan and Upper Albert Lakes via Big Blue Lake.

Bruce Hope

Features Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views

This trail enters the Russian Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) backcountry skills and ethics. Camp 100 feet from fragile areas; bury human waste at least 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites. This trail is usually closed by snow between November and May or June.

Need to Know

To go from Hogan to Big Blue and on over the pass above Big Blue, you must be comfortable proceeding without a trail, proficient in cross-country navigation, and confident scrambling (but no higher than Class 2) on scree, rocks, and loose slopes.


From the north side of Hogan Lake, trace your way around the lake to the left, staying away from the brush in the drainage near the lake. A short distance up slope, you'll see a drainage (now dry) that rises nearly 1,000 feet to near little Neil Lake on the rim. This is the route. There are faint traces of use trail here and there, with cairns once and awhile, but you're really on your own to pick the best route up for you.

You won't see Neil Lake until the very end of the climb. A more definite use trail starts here and takes you to Big Blue Lake. The intense blue of the water in this pristine and beautiful lake is enhanced by being set against the light-colored rock walls that surround it. There are a few good campsites at Neil Lake and the west end of Big Blue.

The use trail continues on the level along the north side of the lake and fades near its east end (there are a few marginal campsites here). From the east end of Big Blue, work your way about half way up the slope and then do a rising traverse eastward to the obvious notch in the ridge just south of Point 7654. Do not drift toward the notch west of this point, as that will take you across some really loose terrain and, if you persist, into the wrong drainage.

From the notch, work your way east and down, choosing a route that works for you, to Upper Albert Lake and a junction with the Upper Albert Lake Trail. This route is best done counterclockwise.

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in California


1 Views Last Month
22 Since Nov 28, 2018



Horseshoe-shaped Upper Albers Lake in Russian Wilderness
Jul 29, 2017 near Fort Jones, CA
Big Blue Lake from the slope below the notch
Nov 28, 2018 near Fort Jones, CA
Hogan Lake from the slope below Neil Lake
Nov 28, 2018 near Fort Jones, CA
Big Blue Lake from the notch
Nov 28, 2018 near Fort Jones, CA
Big Blue Lake
Nov 28, 2018 near Fort Jones, CA
Neil Lake
Nov 28, 2018 near Fort Jones, CA


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