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Cliff Lakes Trail

Intermediate
 4.5 (2)

Great easy, early season run past two beautiful lakes to Cliff Lake which is backed by high, rocky cliffs.


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Map Key

1.5

Miles

2.5

KM

99%

Runnable

5,798' 1,767 m

High

5,642' 1,720 m

Low

180' 55 m

Up

23' 7 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (1°)

8%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views

The western section of Cliff Lake and the land around it is private property, including the raft/dock in the lake and the logs that lead to it.

Need to Know

In the summer only portable stoves and lanterns are allowed outside of designated campsites. A campfire permit is required. Dispersed camping is allowed throughout the area.

Description

With only a 100-foot climb over 1.5 miles, this is an easy run for all ages, with the exception of a 100 yard section next to Ceder Lake. That section is a causeway made of large boulders placed over a marshy area. It could be difficult for the elderly, and very young children may need to be carried. Even most of those with 4-wheel drive vehicles do not attempt to drive across the causeway.

The Cliff Lake trailhead is a little hard to find. It is an unsigned, narrow, dirt road between the trees. It is 11.8 miles up the W A Barr Trail Road (Forest HWY 26) from the turnoff to Castle Lake. If you reach the fork to Gumboot Lake, turn around and go back 0.6 miles. Most vehicles can pull into the dirt road, where there are several places to park. If you have 4-wheel drive, you can drive the 0.75 miles to Ceder Lake; otherwise, it is an easy run. Ceder Lake is a shallow, but beautiful lake with good camping spots. A fork in the road runs along the northern shore of the lake and then dead-ends. The main road continues across the causeway, around the east side of the lake. About 1/2 mile from Ceder lake, a short spur road drops down to Lower Cliff Lake. The main Cliff Lake is about 0.3 miles farther and 40 feet higher. A little before you reach it, a private road Y's off to the right. There is normally a chain across the road and a No Trespassing sign.

Cliff Lake is a large and deep and surrounded by rocky cliffs on 3 sides. It should be great swimming in the summer. Remember the west half of the lake is private property, including the raft/dock and the logs that lead out to it. The best campsites are on the east side, across the outlet creek. From that side, an old, unmaintained trail leads up to Terrance Lake, 500 feet above, and from there, it is possible to scramble over the rocks to Upper Cliff lake.

Flora & Fauna

Ceder, Pine and Fir trees, but remarkably, I did not see a single flower on this trail. The manzanita, at least, will have to make flowers at some point.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lee Watts

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#8516

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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3 Star
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Trail Rankings

#790

in California

#8,516

Overall
2 Views Last Month
112 Since May 31, 2020
Intermediate

0%
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100%
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Photos

Upper Cliff Lake
Jun 3, 2020 near Dunsmuir, CA
Ceder Lake
Jun 3, 2020 near Dunsmuir, CA

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