Grizzly Lake and Falls has become a staple during the summer months for outdoor enthusiasts in Northern California. The long and grueling hike into the Trinity Alps Wilderness creates an unmatched remoteness at one of the most spectacular destinations in all of Northern California.
Let’s take a look at the epic adventure to Grizzly Falls:
Trinity Alps – Grizzly Creek Trail
Distance: 14 miles
Difficulty: Not for the faint of heart
Duration: An extremely trying 12+ hour day or overnight
Considering its length (14 miles) and altitude change (5,400 feet), Grizzly Creek trail doesn’t exactly fit into the category of “casual hikes”. Following the motto: “nothing worth doing is easy” though, Grizzly Creek Trail’s grueling hike leads to one of the best if not THE best payoffs in Northern California.
“For my money, Grizzly Falls, Grizzly Lake might be the most spectacular place in Northern California,” said Bubba Seuss, author of several NorCal trail guides. “Everything is arranged in a way that makes it absolutely breathtaking. The lake is huge and it has a 2,000-foot vertical granite wall coming right out of it with a glacier on the wall. The lake has no creek coming out of it because it’s right up against the cliff and the outlet of the lake is a 600-foot waterfall. It has a really remote trailhead, but it’s definitely worth it.”
Grizzly Creek Trail boasts all the features of an A+ alpine trail – stunning scenery, vertical climbing, towering granite summits all around, a one-of-a-kind glacier, a massive lake, an enormous waterfall and an open, green meadow. It displays the largely anonymous beauty of the Trinity Alps and the incredible diversity present in Northern California’s vast mountain landscapes.
Directions to China Springs Trailhead: On I-5, take exit 751 (Gazelle/Edgewood). Head West and turn right almost immediately onto Old Highway 99. Go seven miles until you hit the town of Gazelle. At this point, turn left onto Gazelle-Callahan Road. Proceed for about 27 miles (it merges with Highway 3 towards the end), and turn left onto Callahan-Cecilville Road. Go on this road for about 28 miles then turn left at the sign indicating East Fork Campground. Go five miles further until the pavement ends and turn right at the China Springs Trailhead sign.