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Alta Lake Trail #979

Intermediate
 3.0 (1)

This trail provides access to Alta Lake and the Seven Lakes Basin in the Sky Lakes Wilderness


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Map Key

6.4

Miles

10.3

KM

Point to Point

6,848' 2,087 m

High

4,866' 1,483 m

Low

2,113' 644 m

Up

154' 47 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

22%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · Lake · Swimming · Views

This trail is enters the Sky Lakes Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here; practice Leave No Trace (LNT) backcountry skills and ethics, camp 100 feet from fragile areas, bury human waste at least 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites.

This trail is usually closed by snow between November and May.

Description

The Alta Lake Trail is a great trail in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. It is more popular with equestrians (who help to keep it open) than with hikers but also offers more opportunities for solitude than the Seven Lakes Trail #981 and Frog Lake. The Alta Lake Trail #979 can be used to craft longer backpacking loops in the wilderness area. Lake Alta, near the end of the trail, is a worthy destination for an overnight or longer backpack; or for the quicker hikers, a great spot for lunch or a snack.

The Alta Lake Trail #979 starts at the Alta Lake Trailhead on Forest Road 3785 on the northwest side of the Sky Lakes Wilderness. From there it climbs gently to the southeast through open forest on the south slope of Gopher Ridge. About 3.5 miles from the trailhead, it reaches a junction with the newly reopened Middle Fork Trail #978. Through a strong partnership between the Siskiyou Mountain Club, REI, and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, this trail was cleared of hundreds of downed trees and made passable again in 2016.

The Alta Lake Trail #979 continues south, passing a signed junction with the now impassable King Spruce Trail #990 (Per the Forest Service: This trail is impassable due to lack of maintenance...)

At 4.7 miles the trail passes Boulder Pond which holds water intermittently but can't be counted on as a year-round water source. After a little more uphill, the trail, crosses the outlet of beautiful Lake Alta (also called Alta Lake) and continues along the east shore of the lake to its southern end. Good camping areas are present both to the east and west of Lake Alta on high ground.

At the south end of the lake, the Alta Lake Trail #979 climbs just a bit more to end at a junction with two other trails: Seven Lakes Trail #981 and Devils Peak Trail #984.

Contacts

Shared By:

Bruce Hope

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#26083

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#866

in Oregon

#26,083

Overall
2 Views Last Month
387 Since Dec 4, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

Venus (with snow) from north end of Alta Lake
Jun 16, 2018 near Fort Ka…, OR
Alta Lake in early morning
Jun 16, 2018 near Fort Ka…, OR
Boulder Lake is often dry by late summer
Dec 4, 2017 near Fort Ka…, OR
Lake Alta from its outlet
Dec 4, 2017 near Fort Ka…, OR
Mid-point of Alta Lake in early morning
Jun 16, 2018 near Fort Ka…, OR
The narrow "waist" in Lake Alta at low water
Dec 4, 2017 near Fort Ka…, OR

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Jun 15, 2018
Bruce Hope