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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
13.00 mi (20.92 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

In an area well known for standout destinations such as Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak and the Castle Crags Wilderness, the Marble Mountains are truly a hidden gem. It is an area that you can easily enjoy for days at a time without seeing another person, and an area that rewards deeper exploration with better and better views in more secluded terrain. Whether you are looking for caves, lakes, or mountains, the Marble Mountains have it all.

Sky High Lakes are located nearly 7 miles from the Lovers Camp Trailhead along the Canyon Creek Trail (note that this is a different trail from the Canyon Creek Trail in the Trinities). Three separate lakes make up the Sky High Lake Basin: Upper Sky High Lake, Lower Sky High Lake, and little Frying Pan Lake (which really looks like a frying pan from above). With a variety of campsites scattered around these lakes, there are plenty of options for enjoying a weekend in the woods.

The Canyon Creek Trail starts from a well maintained camp area and climbs nearly 1,300 feet deep into the Marble Mountains. Once the spring snow has melted, the Canyon Creek Trail is easy to follow and maintains a moderate grade. A relatively flat first 600 feet will have you crossing multiple creeks, so you may get a little wet on the way. The final creek crossing offers a view from the top of a 40-foot waterfall that you get to navigate across. From this last creek crossing you then enter the official "Marble Valley," though you still have a couple of miles and about 650 feet more to climb before you reach the meadows of the valley itself.

Take a left at a fork in the trail approximately a quarter of a mile from the the entrance to the valley. As this trail continues to climb you will get multiple views of the canyon below you and the amazing Marble Rim above you. Passing little Gate Lake and cresting into the meadows will have you entering the rather massive basin where there are multiple paths to follow. All of them will lead to one of the lakes, great camping, and a great base camp from which to explore the area! 

Note that once this trail is stock friendly once winter deadfall has been cleared. Campfires are allowed with a free permit that can be picked up at the Klamath National Forest Ranger Station, 1711 Main Street, Yreka, California. Also, due to heavy bear activity it is strongly recommended that you carry a bear canister for your food keep bear spray with you at all times. Please remember pack out what you pack in and Leave No Trace.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Secluded. Gorgeous views. Well maintained trail. Paved access to the trailhead.

Cons

Lots of climbing. Lots of bear activity. Rattlesnakes in the summer.

Trailhead Elevation

4,300.00 ft (1,310.64 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)

Address

Forest Rte 43N45
Fort Jones, CA 96032
United States

Features

Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Fishing
Cave
Geologically significant
Big Game Watching

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Location

Field Guide

Comments

03.25.19
Fantastic lake! Shadow Lake above the Sky High lakes is amazing fishing too.
09.19.17
A friend and I backpacked this last weekend. We went straight to the Sky High lakes and found multiple back country campsites right next to Lower Sky High Lake for us to spend the night. It was a beautiful meadow and blue lake that perfectly reflects the surrounding hills. From the Lovers Camp Trail head, the hike there took us a little over 4 hours. The path is well maintained (many people take their horses up) but be ready for a fairly constant uphill climb. Especially during the last mile or so, where you'll be hiking up marble steps. It's easily worth it though, and a night spent at this mountain lake was absolutely wonderful.

Bit of a heads up, the final part of the journey to the lake has you walking through a large flower meadow where the foliage is growing almost entirely over the path. We went in mid September when most of the flowers were wilting, but my friend was stung by two bees during our short trek through. Probably worth changing into some long pants during this section.

This was a great first adventure into the Marble Mountain Wilderness, but there was so much more to explore. I'm sure I'll be back.
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