Alpine Lake is nestled against 2,000-foot granite ridges in the southwestern section of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. From the ridge to the southwest rises 8,031-foot Little Granite Peak. The outflow of Alpine Lake cascades through granite boulders until it combines with Stuart Fork Creek and eventually Trinity Lake.
The Trinity Alps Wilderness Area was designated a national wilderness area in 1984 and stretches over half a million acres, one of California's largest wilderness areas. In addition to being one of the most diverse conifer areas in the world, many large mammal species also call this place home: black bears, mountains lions, black-tailed deer, and bobcat are a few of the more noteworthy. Large predatory birds are also common, especially the osprey.
Osprey are a very common sight fishing in the lakes at dawn and dusk. These predatory birds rest on nearby trees and watch for fish swimming in the lakes as much as 130 feet away. When a fish is sighted the osprey will dive feet first at the water creating a slapping sound. The sound of an osprey fishing is distinct in the Trinity Alps and usually means a good show is underway. Another way to guess an osprey is nearby and hopefully fishing is by their cry. This call is an irritated cheep cheep and is commonly heard when the bird is disturbed.