Home » 2018 Trinity Alps

Upper Canyon Creek Lake to Boulder Creek Lakes, CA

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 9:45pm by Lolo
5 miles and 3 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Finding our way between Upper and Lower Canyon Creek LakesFinding our way between Upper and Lower Canyon Creek LakesOnce again, we decided to take the “high road” over Lower Canyon Creek Lake to get back to the main trail. However, this time we wound up going too high and couldn’t find a way to work our way back down to the Canyon Creek Trail. Every way forward seemed to include a sharp drop-off. Eventually, we gave up moving forward and retraced our steps back from whence we came until we found a cairn we must have missed, which marked a way to get back down to the main trail.

After hiking about 3 ½ miles (should have been more like 3 without our mishap), we came to the junction for Boulder Creek Lakes, which said 1 ½ miles, but turned out to be closer to 2. I thought this was going to just be a quick, easy hike in, but it turned out to be a lot steeper and rougher than I anticipated. Plus, it was really hot out and most of the trail was exposed to the sun. Needless to say, I got a bit cranky.

A well-need rest on Boulder Creek LakeA well-need rest on Boulder Creek LakeWe weren’t too far along before we ran into a couple, about our age (suck it Irish guy from yesterday!) on their way out. The woman looked exhausted and overheated and none too happy. They said they left Boulder Creek Lake early because of the smoke. Since the skies had cleared out yesterday after similar warnings to retreat, we decided to take our chances and forge on. The couple said that there was only one person at the lake and that he was planning to head out as well. If the skies cleared, this could actually work out to our benefit, as the lake is usually crowded with campers.

As we continued up the steep, rocky trail, the smoke did get worse and so did my mood. I started questioning Herb about the wisdom of this. What if we got caught in a forest fire? He gave his usual lecture about me worrying too much and we forged on.

Our campsite at Boulder Creek LakesOur campsite at Boulder Creek LakesJust as I was in full whine mode, complaining about the smoke and the heat, we came across a lovely stream, where we refilled our Smartwater bottles and Herb wet his buff and put it over my head to cool me down and shut me up. It worked on both counts and before I knew it, we were at looking down at a lovely alpine lake set in a granite basin, with rugged peaks surrounding it. Morale was picking up.

We found a good campsite alongside the lake near some rocky shelves to sunbathe on, and even swim from if we weren’t such weenies. As foretold to us, there was only one guy on the other side of the lake who was packing up to go. He offered us his spot, but I was hot and tired and didn’t want to put my backpack back on. Our site was actually quite perfect.

During the afternoon, one other couple did hike in to the other side of the lake, jump in for a swim (showoffs), and then turn around and hike back out again, so it looked like we would actually have this incredible spot all to ourselves.

Lolo enjoying her morning coffee on Boulder Creek LakeLolo enjoying her morning coffee on Boulder Creek LakeWe spent the afternoon reading, fishing, and dipping our toes in the water. That evening we went for a stroll to the other side of the lake, reconfirming that we actually did have the best camping spot of all. A rockfall prevented us from continuing around the lake, so we retraced our way back to our home for the night.

Herb had had the foresight to fill up our found Platypus water bag and left it in the sun, so we actually had some warm water to take a quick rinse off.

Feeling refreshed and somewhat clean, we settled onto our rock shelf by the lake, got out our little supply of cheese and crackers, my lake-chilled wine, and Herb’s vodka and gatorade powder (yuch!) and just gazed at the incredible scenery before us.

Before it go too dark, we made our dinner of Knorr’s rice and salmon and crawled into our cozy tent.

The lighting the next morning over the lake was breathtaking, and the full moon behind us had still not set adding to an already awesome scene. What a place to enjoy a morning coffee!

Upper Canyon Creek Lake to Boulder Creek Lakes location map in "high definition"

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