Only mildly masochistic hikers and backpackers will find this trip appealing, as the trail starts low near the North Fork Feather River and follows a brutally steep climb for the first few miles before adopting a more humane grade for the remainder of the nearly 8-mile trip. During the hot summer months, beginning at such a low elevation will ensure nearly unbearable temperatures for the entire ascent out of the canyon. Survivors of the canyon climb still face many more miles of hiking in order to reach Three Lakes.
If getting to the lakes is your goal, the route from the Mill Creek trailhead is much more appealing. If all of these warnings haven’t deterred you from taking this hike, I’d be happy to pass on the name of a well-respected therapist. (That said, and while the climb out of the North Fork Feather River is characterized as a grunt, the periodic views from the trail are certainly worth the effort for those up to the task.)
© 2016 Mike White/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.