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Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

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Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:17 pm

I am planning an early season trip in either the Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps. I have been up Canyon Creek in the Alps twice but never been in Marble Mountains. Is it me or the terrain? I am having a heck of a time trying to figure out a loop in Trinity Alps. My impression is that it is a lot of up and down a canyon - not many loops. The Marble Mountain loop I have tentatively figured out is: Cliff Lake, Campbell Lake, Summit Lake, Shadow Lake, climb Marble Mtn, Sky High Lakes, Elk Lake, Deep Lake, Wright Lakes and x-country as needed back to Shakelford Creek TH. (6 days). I am at a loss for a similar trip in Trinity Alps. We want mountains and fishing. For this year we plan on only doing one or the other. Any preferneces and why? Is mid-May too early? I do a lot of off-trail in the Sierra, but I know that coast range is a lot different and staying on trails is for the most part, a better idea. We are comfortable on snow slopes- just do not want to spend all day post-holeing.



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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby hikerduane » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:42 pm

I'm away from my maps until Friday night, sorry, can't offer much advise at the moment Nancy. Been to the Alps once and the Marbles twice, Shackleford and Loves Camp TH's. Gonna be snow.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby balzaccom » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:22 pm

That's my impression, Daisy. We've done a lot of dayhiking there, but no backpacking. Then again, we often dayhiked to a lake, only to run into backpackers who had been on the trail for three days...and were a little disappointed to find us, only a few miles from a road, sitting there picnicking...
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:15 pm

In the TA, Little South Fork Lake, the Emerald, Sapphire, and Mirror Lake combo
and the Grizzly Lake trips are the highlights of the area, but in May it may be a little
early.
LSFL, and ESM Lakes all have big trout, I don't about GL.
LSFL is a cross country trip which is pretty rugged, ESM has a trail to Sapphire and
then it is cross country to Mirror.
GL is all trail, and can be a bit busy because of this, but still very pretty.
I asked a friend who has visited the MMW numerous times, he said his favorite lake
hands down was Spirit Lake, which can be combined with other trails to form a loop
visiting One Mile and Cuddihy Lakes on the way out, so maybe you can include this lake
if you choose to go to the MMW if not now, but later in the year.
He also said that May will be to early, especially this year.
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby rlown » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:59 pm

maverick wrote:In the TA, Little South Fork Lake, the Emerald, Sapphire, and Mirror Lake combo
and the Grizzly Lake trips are the highlights of the area, but in May it may be a little
early.
LSFL, and ESM Lakes all have big trout, I don't about GL.
LSFL is a cross country trip which is pretty rugged, ESM has a trail to Sapphire and
then it is cross country to Mirror.
GL is all trail, and can be a bit busy because of this, but still very pretty.
I asked a friend who has visited the MMW numerous times, he said his favorite lake
hands down was Spirit Lake, which can be combined with other trails to form a loop
visiting One Mile and Cuddihy Lakes on the way out, so maybe you can include this lake
if you choose to go to the MMW if not now, but later in the year.
He also said that May will be to early, especially this year.


May is way early in TA. Now, about that "big trout" comment.. how big is big?
Plus, that whole area around Sapphire is pretty "inhabited" at the height of the season.
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:12 pm

Hi Rlown

I saw another backpacker who was at the shore pull out 2 trouts and both were
at least 16-18" and pretty meaty, from LSFL.
This was back in the 90's.
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:18 pm

Thanks for the information. My last trip up Canyon Creek was mid-May and the upper lakes were still frozen, but we had no problem finding a dry campsite. That canyon faces south. I suspect that the north-facing canyons would have later snow. My concern with an early season trip was to beat the mosquito hatch. I have two guidebooks - Green and Ingold: Marble Mountain Wilderness and Moss: The Trinity Alps Companion (an informative however dated and difficult to use guide). We probably will lean towards Marble Mountains, simply because we have not been there. Thanks for the Cuddihy Lakes suggestion - I had not considered that, and after doing the map work I figured out a nice loop route and now are looking at June for a trip from Sulphur Springs Trailhead. Last question - from Sacramento what is the best way to get to the trailhead? From Hwy 1 or I-5? Hey, we could even "loop" or drive!
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:49 pm

I-5 to Yreka, then Highway 3/Fort Jones exit is the quickest way to MMW.
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby Ikan Mas » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:15 pm

A few Marble Mountain photos for you. I was there in 2009 and really enjoyed the trip. These are in no particulary order.
Image
Summit Lake

Image
Lower Sky High Lake

Image
The Marble Mountain from the Meadow at Sky High Lake

Image
Cliff Lake

Image
Campbell Lake

Image
Deep Lake

Image
Little Elk Lake

I hiked most of the spots in your itinerary. Let me know if you have any questions.

One thing to note, if you smell something like a bears arse coming from the brush, don't go in after it. It is what is smells like. On a couple of occassions we were so close to them, we could smell them. People hunt them up there, so they are naturally shy. We had no problems with the critters, just be aware.
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:32 am

What time of year was your trip? Also, the guidebook talks about "extremely heavy use" on all these trails and locations of your trip. It is hard for me to imagine that anything in the Marble Mountains is "extremly heavily used." How does it compare, for example, to the JMT?
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby Ikan Mas » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:13 pm

I was there August 8 through August 15 in 2009. Marble Mountains is pretty heavily used along certain trails, but not quite as much as JMT. Campbell lake gets a lot of traffic because it is close to one of the trailheads. We met a large high school group that was headed out to Vulcan Lake. There's lots of room in the meadows near Sky High Lakes, but people tend to bunch up next to the lakes. Also, bow hunting season started on the 15th so we met several local hunters coming up the trail.

Image
Marble Mountain

Image
Salamander

Image
Campbell Lake Brown

Image
Lower Sky High Cabin

Image
Lower Sky High Meadow
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Re: Marble Mountains or Trinity Alps?

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:01 am

1) SWEQ is at >150% of normal-to-date for the north, so May is way early this year.

2) There's a swell lollipop route I did a coupla years ago: Long Canyon Trailhead to Anna Lake via Bowerman Meadows; from there via Billy Be Damn and Echo Lake, Siligo Meadows, Deer Creek Pass, to Summit Lake; out via Bee Tree Gap. (Summit Lake has the most commodious campsites in the area, but there are also campsites at Echo Lake and Siligo Meadows.) You could lengthen it by tacking on the Four Lakes Loop (we did it as a dayhike); whatever you do, you don't want to miss Diamond Lake. Not a strict loop exactly, but a little more interesting than a straight out-and-back.

Edit: Forgot I posted a thread here with pics, and links to more complete trip report.
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