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Grizzly Lake from China Spring

 5.0 (6)
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13.8 Miles 22.2 Kilometers

4,618' 1,407 m


-4,618' -1,408 m



Avg Grade (7°)


Max Grade (25°)

7,167' 2,184 m


4,717' 1,438 m


Shared By Maria Espino



Getting forecast...

Hike to the stunning Grizzly Lake and Grizzly Falls deep within the Trinity Alps.

Maria Espino

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Free wilderness permits and campfire permits are required to enter the Trinity Alps Wilderness.


Grizzly Lake—fed by a glacier on the Trinity Alps' highest peak—doesn't have an outlet stream, but rather a spectacular 600-foot waterfall. Hike through ancient forests and meadows on a journey to this awesome sight.


From the trailhead, take the China Spring Trail and pass the boundary for the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Climb to Hunters Camp at the top of a ridge covered in burnt trees left by a recent fire.

From Hunters Camp drop into Grizzly Creek Canyon. There, you'll find a junction the North Fork Trail. Turn left to head east up Grizzly Creek.

Continue on this level section of trail for about two miles, paralleling Grizzly Creek through old-growth forest.

The trail begins to climb again and emerges onto open rock and then passes by a tall waterfall on Grizzly Creek. Keep climbing past numerous waterfalls. At length you'll see Grizzly Falls and Thompson Peak, the highest in the Trinity Alps, ahead.

The trail levels off again and traverses Grizzly Meadows beginning at around 5.5 miles. There are several good campsites here. After the meadows, climb steep switchbacks next to the falls. The climb takes you to a rocky bench with fantastic views of Grizzly Meadows.

From the bench, climb again, up a talus slope with cairns marking the way. At the top, you'll be rewarded with Grizzly Lake.

Return the way you came.


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Your Check-Ins


Aug 7, 2018
Seth Bleazard
Amazing hike. The base of the first ridge has a camp with a lot of rotten logs full of bee hives. 14mi — 72h 00m
Jul 27, 2018
Dave L.
Jul 13, 2018
Maria Espino
A Challenging beautiful hike 18.6mi
Dec 29, 2017
Katherine Sjoberg
Jul 29, 2017
Bruce Hope
Passed Grizzly Lake on way to Thompson Peak. Lake and its outfall waterfall are amazing! The climb to the lake is steeper than that up to the peak!
Aug 11, 2016
Marshall Phan

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 6 votes


  5.0 from 6 votes
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175 Views Last Month
2,950 Since Jan 12, 2017
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I found that many people slept at the trailhead the night before. We slept at the North Fork Campground right at the turnoff to the TH. It is a pack in/out campground with a bathroom. We were the only ones there while the TH was crowded with cars. There seemed to be plenty of parking at the TH. Mileage on this site is very off! I had 2 GPS devices and both read just over 8 miles one way to the meadows and another 1 mile scramble to the top of Grizzly falls. This means that round trip it was just over 18 miles. Be prepared for that. This was a beautifully amazing hike that was extremely difficult. If you are in shape you will have no problem. There is plenty of water along the trail so you don’t have to pack it all. Camping is in the meadow and there is space across the water. The scramble was insane and going down was even a greater challenge. People were camping at the lake, but it is more exposed in thunderstorms, which there were when I was there. It was also 91 degrees which made this hike even a greater challenge. Wildlife and deer are plenty. DO not leave ANYTHING outside your tent except for the food you hang. The deer will eat it. They did that to my friend and several other hikers. I highly recommend this hike for fit people who want an extra challenge. The views are stunning and worth it. Jul 16, 2018

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