Destinations in the Trinity Alps

Salkow's Page on Trinity Alps Wilderness

Over thirty year, this was our family vacation destination. We know it well and yet, due to its vast open areas, we hardly knew it at all. We have been through several fires, and many storms. Been there in spring, fall, and even winter, when it is snow covered. During the winter months, some creeks all but freeze, some have ice floating by. During late fall, the rivers and creeks are gin clear. During a full-on sudden spring thaw, rivers can be chocolate brown, and have three foot diameter trees ripping by that tear away bridges and roads. The sound of the cascading bouders is so load, three feet away, shouting may not even be heard. The character of the areas are varied year after year. Some years the lake is at capacity, while dry periods may take it all the way to empty. Both our children learned to drive on the dry Trinity lake bed.

At night, the best place to see deer is up Coffee Creek Road about 15 miles. In the open meadows, we might see 25-40 deer in one evening.

Coffee Creek Meadows Trinity Alps

Trinity is already base camped at 2200 Ft. If the sky is clear, the view is teriffic.

Various places have their own legends. A group of junters heard late night screams in the Trinity Alps Wilderness 4 hours into a 10 day hunting trip.

The loggers camp along Eagle Creek Road, is haunted. We camp there one night. It scared the hell out of us such that no one was ever willing to camp there again. And we never did.

Here is a small video driving up Highway 3 in the Trinity Alps.

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Located in the Shasta-Trinity ,Klamath and Six Rivers National Forests in California.  Topo Maps

Introduction to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Six Rivers National Forest

McCloud Falls

Salmon River in the Trinity Alps

The Salmon River is a 19.6-mile-long tributary to the Klamath River in western Siskiyou County, California.

The river has its origins in the high mountains of the Trinity Alps, Russian Mountains, and Marble Mountains (all sub-ranges of the larger Klamath Mountains). The Salmon River comprises two forks, the North Fork and the South Fork, which join at the hamlet of Forks of Salmon, California to form the mainstem Salmon River. A large tributary stream, Wooley Creek, joins the mainstem Salmon River about 4 miles (6 km) from its mouth at Somes Bar, and is nearly as large as the North Fork. The lower portion of the Salmon River's southwestern divide defines the boundary of Siskiyou County and Humboldt County.

The river's 751-square-mile (1,950 km2) watershed is entirely within the Klamath National Forest, and less than 2 percent of the land area is privately owned.

The 513,100 acre Trinity Alps Wilderness is the second largest wilderness in California. The area, formerly known as the Salmon Trinity Alps Primitive Area, was nearly doubled in size by the 1984 California Wilderness Act. This rugged, isolated area consists of mountain ridges and deep canyons between the Trinity and Salmon Rivers. The area contains more than 55 lakes and streams, scattered timber stands and large meadows, barren rock cliffs and peaks.

Elevations within the wilderness range from 2,000 feet to 8,000 feet. Annual precipitation is 50 inches, including up to 12 feet of snow.

native quail

The area is accessible from mid-June to mid-October. Bears, rattlesnakes and other wildlife are plentiful. Firewood is scarce in many areas so portable stoves are recommended. At high altitudes, snow may persists well into July, like Mumbo Lake (6,102 feet)

Eagle Creek
Eagle Creek Thumbnail

Trinity Alps Wilderness- Canyon Creek Area

There are many trail into the Trinity Alps Wilderness. The most heavily used areas are Canyon Creek, Stuart Fork, Swift Creek and Grizzly Creek drainages. Less use trails are found in the areas south of Coffee Creek Road and near Little Mill, Washbasin and West Boulder lakes. Visitor permits are required for the wilderness areas. Note: Before you discount getting a wilderness permit know the following: This is an area where you can easily get to a place that is a three day hike to get back from if you car breaks down. If you hurt your ankle, and know one knows your here, may be we'll find your carcass next spring. Check with the ranger upon entering the area. Checkin on the way back out. You may or may not know of what is going on in that area. Are there logging trucks even on the weekends?

Trinity Alps: Stuart Fork

The Stuart Fork Trinity River (also called Stewart's Fork) is a 14-mile (23 km) tributary of the Trinity River in the U.S. state of California.[1] The river rises in the Trinity Alps and flows generally southeast into Trinity Lake, a reservoir formed by the Trinity Dam, just north of Buckeye Ridge. Important tributaries include Deer and Hobel Creeks; the last 4 miles (6.4 km) of the river is submerged in the lake. Stuart Fork drains an area of roughly 90 square miles (230 km2) and is one of the most important tributaries to the upper Trinity River.

In the 1850s the Stuart Fork of the Trinity River was an important gold mine area, and was dredged by several mining companies. When the Trinity Lake levels are low you can still see large piles of tailings.

Some Trails:

The Shasta-Trinity National forest has ample camping grounds . The Salkow family has been going here over twenty eight years. The areas above Trinity Center are frequented by a small numbers hence affords peace and tranquillity. Far from commercial recreation, this area attracts more the type who wish to commune with nature. The Trinity River campground is right on the river, 1 1/4 north on Hghway 3 past Coffee Creek.

Caution: Various wild parts of California will have people growing pot as cash crops or for recreational purposes. If you accidentally wander into a planted area, promptly and quietly leave. These a generally very remote spots such as the Marble Mountain Wilderness area (Traveling along Scotts River Road (There is no cell phone coverage in this area and NO GAS EITHER.

Trinity Alps: On The Edge

East Fork Trinity River

From Highway 3 going East up Ramshorn Road that runs along Ramshorn Creek and Mumbo Creek. You will cross the East Fork Trinity River. If you could follow the East Fork, it will eventually spill into the Trinity Lake (aka Claire Engle). The East Fork Trinity starts in these mountains flowing out of Tamarack Lake.

This is small water river (creek like) in the summer months and usually has a temperature around 61 F. Native brown trout and beautiful larger Brook trout will hit drys on top of the water.

North Fork of the Trinity River


Most of the lakes have been stocked with rainbow, brown or brook trout, and some have self-sustaining populations. The major streams of the North Fork Trinity River and New River watersheds have spawning chinook salmon, and some have steelhead including rare summer steelhead. Trinity lake has largemouths and smallmouth bass, cat fish, landlocked king salmon, and kokanee.

The Trinity Alps are home to much wildlife including: Osprey, owls, eagles, bats, American black bear, blacktailed deer, lizards, chipmunks, and a great number of bird species. Deer and black bear are commonly seen. Less common but present are mountain lion, pine marten, fisher, and wolverine. Rough-skinned newts are commonly found in ponds and lakes along with an accasional turtle. There are various snakes including Mountain king snake, Gopher , water snakes, and Northern Pacific rattlesnakes. The Trinity Alps may be home to a cryptozoological phenomenon, the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander. (No one has actually seen the alleged specimin since the 19th century?)

The grouse is one of the dumbest birds in California but handsome.
The sage grouse, or "sage hen" as it is commonly called, is the largest native grouse in North America. Among the fowl-like birds, only the turkey is larger than the sage grouse. The sage grouse is a permanent resident in northeastern California. Hunting is allowed in Klamath ,Shasta-Trinity, and six Rivers National Forests. See Regulatons.

The grouse is one of the dumbest birds in California but handsome

Dry Fly Patterns for the area - Top Producers

Fishing? Then see Mastering Fly Fishing
  1. Poly Wing Royal Coachman #12~#20
  2. Adams #14~#22
  3. Yellow or Gray Caddis #14~#18
  4. Mosquito #16~#22
  5. Poly Wing Deer Fly #12~#16
  6. Squirl Tail (Squirt) Caddis #14, #16
  7. Black and Cinnamon Ants #14~#16
  8. Black Knat #10~#16
  9. Bi-Visible Spider
  1. Zug Bug #10~#14
  2. Peeking Caddis #10~#14
  3. Brassie (Copper) Caddis #10~#16
Streamers (Lake)
  1. Rabbit Hair Matuka (Lake fishing) size 10 - 4 x long
Number one producer in the Trinity Alps but tied with Polypropalene wings. Click here for more. . .  Elk Hair Caddis is a good producer in the Trinity Alps in gray, blond, brown. Click here for more. . .
In North America, the most popular dry fly is the Adams. Click here for more. . .
  Very good Caddis fly nymph and an excellent producer. Click here for more. . .
Excellent producer also tied with black Ostrich Herl Head. Click here for more. . .
Good producer with nothing else is working. Click here for more . . .
The slightest wind will blow this about. Click here for more info. . .

More . . .

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