Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,200.00 ft (975.36 m)
Trail type
17.00 mi (27.36 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great views. Many swimming opportunities. Abundant wildlife.


Steep rocky scramble. Exposed trail. Exposed camp sites.

Trailhead Elevation

3,000.00 ft (914.40 m)


Backcountry camping

Suitable for



Nearby Adventures

Trinity Alps + Marble Mountain Wilderness, California
Trinity Alps + Marble Mountain Wilderness, California


We went the first weekend of May 2018. Still lots of melting snow, so the Stuart Fork was not crossable to get to this lake. However, we did a fabulous, long day-hike to Emerald Lake and back to the Alpine Lake crossing trailhead.

TIP: Mileage markers on the directions are not included, and your map program may not be reliable through the mountains. Be sure to know where you are going first.

TIP: Although parking passes are not required, stop at the forest service station to obtain required overnight wilderness permits (self-service kiosk) is in Weaverville, past the Lewiston turnoff and head for Weaverville, which takes you about 15 miles out of your way.
Great hike! Watch out if you embark on a hot day -- the last few miles of climb is exposed, the trail is very overgrown, and there's only 1 opportunity to collect water (on this final stretch). Beautiful nonetheless.
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