Big Blue Lake Loop
ElevationAscent: 2,528' 771 m
Descent: -2,530' -771 m
High: 7,433' 2,266 m
Low: 5,970' 1,820 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 63% (32°)
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“A challenging loop past stunning Big Blue Lake at the north end of the Russian Wilderness.”— Bruce Hope
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 approximate 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. 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, again choosing a route that works for you, to Upper Albert Lake and a junction with the Upper Albert Lake Trail. Follow that trail down to the Albert Lake Trail and that trail to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Go north on the PCT for 2.1 miles to a junction with the upper end of the Taylor Lake Trail in an obvious saddle from where you can see Taylor Lake below to the west. Descend the Taylor Lake Trail as it makes its steep, rocky way down to the shore of Taylor Lake and then continues on an easy grade back to the trailhead.
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Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Klamath National Forest Office