China Spring Trail to Grizzly Lake

Callahan, California

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1 Review
5 out of 5
If Grizzly Lake is your idea of heaven, then the China Spring Trail is where you want to be on Judgement Day. A steep 6.7-mile hike will get you in before the gates close. Grizzly Lake, perched on a castle-like granite shelf at 7,100 feet, crowned by Thompson Peak and a glacieret, guarded by a clifflike approach and a waterfall pouring off its ramparts, and buffered by a sublime meadow at its base, is heaven on earth for anyone who appreciates mountain scenery. Since construction of the China Spring Trail, you can expect plenty of company. In the past, part of Grizzly’s appeal was the long, glorious hike along the North Fork Trinity River to get there. The 18.5-mile route (one way) kept traffic to a minimum. For anyone with the time and inclination, the North Fork route is still a great way to go.

China Spring Trail to Grizzly Lake Professional Review and Guide

"If Grizzly Lake is your idea of heaven, then the China Spring Trail is where you want to be on Judgement Day. A steep 6.7-mile hike will get you in before the gates close. Grizzly Lake, perched on a castle-like granite shelf at 7,100 feet, crowned by Thompson Peak and a glacieret, guarded by a clifflike approach and a waterfall pouring off its ramparts, and buffered by a sublime meadow at its base, is heaven on earth for anyone who appreciates mountain scenery.

Since construction of the China Spring Trail, you can expect plenty of company. In the past, part of Grizzly’s appeal was the long, glorious hike along the North Fork Trinity River to get there. The 18.5-mile route (one way) kept traffic to a minimum. For anyone with the time and inclination, the North Fork route is still a great way to go."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Callahan
Distance: 13.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,400 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Season: Best mid June through October
Additional Use: Camping
Features: Views, Waterfalls
Local Contacts: Trinity Alps Wilderness
Local Maps: USGS Thompson Peak; USDAFS Trinity Alps Wilderness

China Spring Trail to Grizzly Lake Reviews

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7/31/2009
My 15 year young son asked me to take his friends & him on a backpack trip. I chose to take them on a challenging hike that had much return on investment so I took them to Grizzly Lake. The directions were right on & the roads & signs to the trail head were excellent. The hike begins with a 1.2 mile ascent. 15 minutes into the hike I asked the boys if they were allergic to bees & they answered with a resounding "NO". This was a relief especially since one of the boys was stung twice just minutes later. We're off to a good start! We rested at Hunters Camp after the climb & then descended 1 mile. The boys began their relationship with Mole Skin half way down the descent & learned to rely on it even more as the weekend went along. At the bottom, China Camp, we began an uphill trek to Grizzly Meadows. Our legs were tired, but the call of Grizzly Falls & the thought of camp kept us moving. Along the way we rested & enjoyed the scenery, but finally after 5.5 hours we made it to the meadows. The following day we day hiked up to view Mirror & Sapphire Lakes & then descended to Grizzly Lake to swim & take pictures. The view off the sheer granite ledge is scary but wonderful, & made great pictures to show the boys' moms. The falls are beautiful & the lake is gorgeous & refreshing. Many people were camping at the lake so it was good that we chose to camp in the meadows. The hike back was much quicker. The analogy was like a horse towards a barn. However, for us it was kids towards Burger King. The teenage boys had a wonderful time. The views were marvelous & the hike challenging, but doable. I recommend this hike, but suggest people be in good shape. Plan to spend 5 to 7 hours on the trail if you stay at the lake, depending on the # of stop.
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