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A moderate trail to a beautiful, rock-rimmed high alpine lake in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

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Point to Point

7,242' 2,207 m


5,286' 1,611 m


1,995' 608 m


596' 182 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Wildflowers · Wildlife

This route enters the Trinity Alps Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) backcountry skills and ethics. This trail is usually closed by snow between November and May.

Need to Know

The Little Mill Trailhead is located at the end of narrow, somewhat rough Forest Road 40N16 which may be difficult to access in wet weather or in a low-slung passenger car. It might also be blocked by fallen trees or rocks. There is parking at the trailhead for 4-6 vehicles but no other amenities. The last 100 yards of road to the trailhead is pretty rough. You can avoid this by parking at a wide spot short of the trailhead. This wilderness is still open to grazing so you may find cows (or evidence of cows) along the trail. Treat any water you get from streams or springs in this area.


This trail runs between the Little Mill Trailhead to the east and East Boulder Lake to the west, all within the Trinity Alps Wilderness. It passes Mill Creek Lake along the way. You'll also find subalpine meadows, wildflowers, views, and old mine relics.

The trail is an old two-track dirt road, now badly faded in places, for 0.7 mi from the Little Mill Trailhead to its first (and only) crossing of Little Mill Creek. Past that it is primarily a singletrack except in places where the old road prism is still visible.

In early summer, the trail will be temporarily covered by vegetation where it crosses several large meadows. But just keeping heading straight up-canyon and look for the continuation of the trail in the forest on the other side of each meadow. Overall, this trail is easy to find and follow.

The trail climbs easily but steadily, up along (but always near) the creek until it reaches some rock outcrops just below Mill Creek Lake. Here things get steeper and rockier for a short distance until you top out very near the lake. At the top of this steeper section, and just before you reach the lake, you'll have a great view to the east over the Scott Valley and can usually make out the top of Mount Shasta on the far horizon. There is a decent campsite at this spot.

The lake itself sits in a dramatic rocky cirque, with steep, rocky slopes on one side and more moderate slopes on the other. It's not an ideal lake for swimming since it's rimmed with brush and soft shores but there is one rocky outcrop jutting into the water that might offer mud-free access.

Above the lake the trail is poorly defined until you get up on the bench at about 6,800 feet – then the route over to East Boulder Lake becomes obvious. On your way up to the bench, just stay on the slope to the northeast of the large, gray tailings pile and you'll find the trail. The tailings pile is from the Klatt Mine, which operated here between 1905 and 1910 and produced some 1,200 ounces of gold. All that remains of it are several tailings piles, a crushed ore car, and some ore car rails.

The trail continues southwest along the bench, around the head of the cirque, and then climbs to the ridge overlooking East Boulder Lake. From this vantage point, a quick descent through a few switchbacks brings you to that lake.

Flora & Fauna

The meadows host an impressive array of wildflowers in season.


Shared By:

BK Hope

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in California


1 Views Last Month
63 Since Jul 3, 2020



View from the Klatt Mine.
Jul 5, 2020 near Dunsmuir, CA
East Boulder Lake
Jan 17, 2018 near Dunsmuir, CA
The one place where the trail crosses Little Mill Creek.
Jul 5, 2020 near Mount S…, CA
One of the several meadows the trail crosses on its way to the lake.
Jul 5, 2020 near Mount S…, CA
Mill Creek Lake
Jul 5, 2020 near Dunsmuir, CA
Mill Creek Lake.
Jul 5, 2020 near Dunsmuir, CA



Current Trail Conditions

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Jul 2, 2020
BK Hope