Ward Lake Loop

Callahan, California

Ward Lake Loop Professional Review and Guide

"If Goldilocks were a hiker, she’d pronounce this loop just right: just the right amount of steeps (great views without killing yourself); just the right amount of lakes (three, with remarkably different settings); and just the right amount of easy meadow walking (lots). Traffic can be high along Swift Creek, but the other drainages offer an excellent chance for solitude. This is also the shortest way to reach Ward Lake, so a lot of people just go there and turn around. There’s no compelling reason to hike this loop in either direction, but I like counterclockwise because you go down instead of up the steep, exposed hill at the head of Swift Creek. Highlights: Great views of Caribou Mountain, good swimming in Ward and Horseshoe Lakes, and more meadows than you can shake a corn lily at."

Ward Lake Loop Reviews

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Trail out of Mumford Meadows was recently rerouted to start opposite side of the creek than marked on maps. Traveling in a counter clockwise direction as author recommends, and heading up Sunrise Creek trail from Swift creek on day 2, the trail disappears above the head of the creek and meadow where weather station is located. Found it again about 150' up the hill to the NW thanks to blaze marks. Followed these for a while, lost trail again, chose a path to make our way to saddle, then found trail again. Followed blaze marks SW to a well marked saddle and thought we were home free, but trail disappeared with 50 yards of saddle o west side. Followed a deer trail NNW toward Packer's peak but it was higher than trail indicated on the topo map. Never found it again. No GPS (last time) so we turned due west and bushwhacked our way down forested slope til we encountered Ward Lake trail about 1/2 mile above Coffee Creek...where we'd started the day before. Hiked the road NW out to Big Flat campground. PROS: beautiful alpine meadows, CONS: poorly marked Sunrise Creek trail at high elevations

Ward Lake Loop Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
4,600 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Backpack (2 to 4 nights)
Best mid June through October
5,000 feet
Trailhead Elevation
7,500 feet
Top Elevation
Trinity Alps Wilderness
Local Contacts
USGS Caribou Lake, Siligo Peak, Ycatapom Peak; USDAFS Trinity Alps Wilderness
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jun 2018