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Stuart Fork Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (5)

Hike to two alpine lakes at the headwaters of Stuart Fork.


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Map Key

13.6

Miles

21.8

KM

Point to Point

6,056' 1,846 m

High

2,712' 827 m

Low

3,582' 1,092 m

Up

247' 75 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

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

Description

From the trailhead, follow an old road to the Trinity Alps Wilderness boundary at Cherry Flat. Climb gradually along the Stuart Fork of the Trinity River.

After 4 miles, the trail crosses Deep Creek over a bridge and then crosses Oak Flat.

At 5 miles, pass the turnoff for the Alpine Lake Trail. The trail continues to climb gently, crossing Deer Creek over a bridge at around 7 miles. Pass the junction with the Deer Creek Trail at 8 miles and reach Morris Meadow at 9 miles.

Morris Meadow has awesome wildflower displays all summer and plenty of campsites.

Beyond the meadow, the trail turns west into more mountainous territory. At 12 miles you'll reach Portuguese Camp, the last good spot to camp before Emerald and Sapphire Lakes.

The trail becomes steep and open as it climbs west toward Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is actually man-made, created for mining operations a century ago. There's still a lot of old mining equipment lying around.

Follow the cairns around Emerald Lake's north shore and then climb 600 feet to the trail's end at Sapphire Lake. At the deep, clear lake, enjoy the views of Thompson Peak and the Sawtooth Ridge.

Contacts

Shared By:

Miguel Vieira

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 5 votes

#372

Overall
  5.0 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#48

in California

#372

Overall
23 Views Last Month
5,500 Since Jan 12, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

An alpine lake with waterfalls on the granite cliffs high in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area in Northern California. from Prindleman under CC BY-SA
May 24, 2017 near Weaverv…, CA
Morris Meadow in the winter.
Oct 22, 2019 near Weaverv…, CA

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Check-Ins

Apr 10, 2020
Shawn Dietrick
11.5mi
Aug 17, 2019
Jeremy Brady
Overall nice and clear with only small stream crossings that don't require getting wet. Last 2-3 miles has brushy overgrowth to push through. 13.6mi
Jul 19, 2019
Andrew Sanguinetti
Up to the Meadows, beautiful 10mi — 4h 50m
Oct 25, 2018
Jon Dilworth
most scenic trail to date. rock scramble difficult up to last lake. view at emerald lake awesome. saw a frog, blue blue Jay's, a Gartner snake, 3 d… 13.6mi
Jul 3, 2017
Jason Cashdollar
May 30, 2017
Jason Jueckstock