Exploring the Trinity Alps

Kyle Magin, editor of Tahoe Quarterly, just keeps finding the granite gems.

When most people think of craggy white granite peaks, they typically think of the Sierra or the Rockies here in the west – places like Yosemite or the Grand Tetons. A couple of years ago, Kyle picked the Ruby Mountains of eastern Nevada for a guy’s trip, and the dramatic peaks, alpine lakes and wildflowers were amazing.

This year, he zeroed in on another less-visited range called the Trinity Alps in far Northern California; an area I’d passed through coming and going to the redwoods on the coast, but never explored. A unique mix of Sierra, Coast Range and even Cascade both in feel and in flora and fauna, the range definitely didn’t disappoint our crew of jaded mountain men.

We camped at the Ripstein Campground, north of Junction City, and hiked the Canyon Creek Trail to Lower Canyon Lake, a fairly taxing 16-mile roundtrip. Signs at the trail head had a fairly different editorial style than what we’re used to in the Sierra, lamenting lack of solitude (we saw a handful of people the whole weekend) and quasi-apologizing for hikers who had taken out a beaver dam (while asking hikers not to do that).

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