Trinity County California. With a county area of 3,200 square miles and not a single stoplight to slow you down, there is plenty to keep you busy and always something new around the next turn in Trinity County.
You will discover amazing landscapes ranging from granite peaks of the Trinity Alps to the wide open spaces in parts of Southern Trinity. Enjoy your all-time favorite activity or try a new one for the first time:Serene Trinity Lake, the rushing Trinity River and the magnificent Trinity Alps are the main attractions in the area. Trinity Lake and Lewiston Lake are popular for houseboating, camping, recreational boating and fishing. The Trinity River is a unique destination for river rafting, kayaking, camping and fishing. The Trinity Alps invites you to hike on the many trails, camp in pristine natural settings or fish in cold, clear alpine lakes. Photography is an essential way to send your time in the Trinities, whatever the season.
Campgrounds abound in Trinity National Forest — whether they are established camps near the lakes and rivers, private campgrounds with amenities, or a flat open area in the wilderness overlooking an alpine lake.
Many of the developed campgrounds have campground hosts who will help make your stay pleasant and answer any questions you may have. In the Trinity Center (North Trinity) area, there’s a KOA Campground.
The only free campground is Rush Creek Campground, which is on Hwy 3 north out of Weaverville (as you head toward Trinity Lake).
1. Alpine View
4. Clark Springs
5. Eagle Creek- Located on the northside of Trinity Lake along State Highway 3 approximately five miles north of the Coffee Creek area. Surrounded by the Trinity River on one side and Eagle Creek on the other. It mostly attracts the tent camping population, but has several trailer length spurs. There are 7 sites with picnic table, fire rings and a vault toilet. The sites can accomodate a trailer up to 35′.
6. Hayward Flat
7. Jackass Springs
8. Mary Smith- Mary Smith campground is located off of County Road 105, two miles north of the town of Lewiston. This campground offers excellent fishing and tent camping. Mary Smith was picked as one of California’s prettiest lake campgrounds. Except for a large cluster of sites at campground entrance (sites 2-9), all campsites are walk-in and clustered in small groups. The campsites are tucked into a lush riparian environment of conifers and deciduous trees, a thick middlestory, and ample wildflowers. Privacy between campsites ranges from fair to outstanding. Each site has a view of the lake and Trinity Alps. There are 17 walk-in camp sites, with a fireplace and table. No trailers allowed. There are both flush and vault restrooms.
10. Preacher Meadows
11. Trinity Center K.O.A.- Koa Trinity lake
12. Trinity River- The Trinity River campground is located two miles north of the Coffee Creek area on Highway 3, and lies on the banks of the Trinity River. It is approximately 36 miles from Weaverville. It is very popular with travelers as an overnight campground as it is located on Highway 3. This facility has a paved road and spurs, accommodating both trailers and tent campers. Each site has a concrete table and fireplace.
13. Tunnel Rock
The campgrounds I discussed are the ones I recommend . We stayed at a cabin at Bonanza King Resort in which later I will discuss how wonderful this place is.
Upper Trinity River
This is where you can fish all year-long in a temperate climate and a beautiful and pristine environment; where anglers have easy access to excellent fishing and yet do not feel crowded. The watershed of Northern California’s Trinity River is such a place.
The vast watershed of the Trinity River drains out of the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. For those who take the time to learn about the nature of the ecosystem it offers a diverse year round fishery. It is a place where all kinds of fishermen can pursue up to eleven different species of game fish: Black Bass, Small Mouth Bass, Catfish, Kokanee Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Brown and Eastern Brook trout. Trinity Lake holds the state record for Inland Chinook salmon.
The superstars of the Trinity system are the Chinook (King) salmon, Coho (Silver) salmon, and Steelhead. An angler’s quarry can decide the season and locations of their visit.
Springtime fishing in Trinity is well-known by northern California locals – particularly Bass fishermen. Rainbow trout are found throughout the year. And, as summer warms the waters, large schools of rainbows have been known to frequent the lake’s major tributaries—Stuart Fork on Swift Creek and the Trinity main stem and East Fork on the Trinity River
The traditional opening of the trout season, on the last weekend of April, is an ideal starting point to chronicle the seasonality of the Trinity watershed. Each season brings a change in environmental conditions that in turn determine the fisheries.
In May, the lakes at the lowest elevations of the Trinity Alps, the headwaters of the watershed, start to unfreeze, and snow melt begins to swell all the tributary streams with spring runoff. Trout begin to feed heavily, lining up at the mouths of all the streams entering Trinity Lake.
Coffee Creek Rainbow
By early summer in the Trinity Alps alpine lake’s and streams ice-out has occurred at even the highest elevations. This is the time to be in the Alps because Brown trout and Brook trout begin a non-selective feeding spree that will continue until the waters begin to warm. Some of the largest trout of the year comes out of these waters at this time. Brown trout to 18″ and Brook trout to 14″ are available. Catchable Rainbow trout are planted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in lakes that do not have self-sustaining populations.
For best fishing on the Alpine lakes timing is critical. Anglers should stay in touch with local information sources and must be prepared to hike. Just after run off occurs, usually by mid-June, fishing for Brookies, Brown and Rainbow trout really kicks into high gear.
Rainbows from the two to three-pound range begin their spawning migrations up most of the sizable streams feeding Trinity Lake. These free stone streams have good populations of aquatic and terrestrial insects. Major Mayfly, Stonefly and Caddis fly hatches occur during this period and dry fly fishing can be superb.
Good fishing in mountain streams extends from June through August. Some of the best trout fishing is found on the Upper Trinity River, the Stuart’s Fork and East Fork of the Trinity River, Swift Creek, and Coffee Creek. This creek, Coffee Creek was my favorite to fish.
My son fishing for wild Brook Trout
Lengthening daylight and warm May weather stimulate prolific Callibaetis Mayfly hatches on Lewiston Lake that is actually the forebay of Trinity Lake. Lewiston Lake is about five miles long and quite narrow making it perfect for anglers with float tubes, canoes and small skiffs. It is a shallow lake with cold clear water, and it sustains a huge trout population. In recent years Lewiston Lake has developed the well-deserved reputation of being one of California’s premiere trout fishing lakes. Rainbows and Browns to 5 lbs. on a size #16 dry fly are not uncommon.Lewiston Lake info.
On the main stem of the Trinity River during May, June and July most anglers are catching pre migrant salmon and Steelhead juveniles. These trout are abundant and range in size from 6 – 14 inches. But it is the migration of spring run Chinook salmon moving into the system that attracts the most attention. Here are a list of local guides if you need one.
Trinity River Guide Association, (530) 359-TRGA
“D” Fishing Guide, Trinity County Chamber Member (530) 629-3554
Fish Rivers Guide Service (530) 410-9620
Maverick Outfitters, Trinity County Chamber Member 530-949-1136
Old Bridge Rafting and Guide Service Trinity County Chamber Member(530) 778-0509
Steve Huber Guide Service, (530) 623-1918
Sweet Trinity Guide Service, 530-623-4695
Trinity Fly Shop (530) 623-6757
Trinity Lake: The “Maine” Guide, (530) 623-4352
Hiking the Trinity Alps
The Granite Creek and Stuart Fork trails are two of the more popular trails into the Trinity Alps, offering scenic panoramas and within easy walking distance of the trailheads.
The South Fork Trinity River National Recreation Trail follows the South Fork of the Trinity River for 21 miles, from Scott Flat Campground near Forest Glen to Wildwood Road, and for four miles from a trailhead near Hyampom to Forest Glen.
The Pacific Crest Trail goes through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. With enough time, you can visit and fish at many lakes along the way or on a short side trip.
Weaver Basin Trail System
At the center of mountain biking is the Weaver Basin Trail System. These community managed trails, which are open for hiking, biking and horseback riding, follow the gold mining ditch lines as they traverse the mountain sides surrounding Weaverville, making for multiple easy access points from town. You won’t find a terrain park here, but there is plenty of technical single track to keep you focused and in the zone.
Stuarts Fork Trail
The Stuart Fork hike starts by driving though the Trinity Alps Resort Trinity County Chamber Member to Bridge Camp. The road is dirt after leaving the resort, but easily passable. This trail does not vary much in elevation. Good fishing is found along the creek on this trip. The trail is well marked and an easy trip to take in a day. The hiker is treated to views of high mountain ridges and rushing mountain waters.
Granite Peak Trail
This trip starts with a drive up the Granite Peak Road, off of Highway 3, just before the Mule Creek guard station. At the end of the road the trail starts and climbs quickly. This is an extremely steep hike and only those in good physical condition should attempt this climb. At the end of the trail you will find yourself on the top of a mountain with magnificent views. It is 4.6 miles from the trailhead to the top of Granite Peak.
Bowerman/Long Canyon Trail
This trail divides with Long Canyon to the north and Bowerman to the south. Both contain high country meadows surrounded by towers of bare rock. Long Canyon is for the strong hiker, but Bowerman offers more gentle grades.
Swift Creek Trail
The trail is reached by taking Swift Creek Road out of Trinity Center. From here a good trail with easy grades heads into the primitive area. One passes through timber and meadows, sees the Swift Creek Gorge and is surrounded by towering mountains. You can take the Granite Creek trail turnoff (just a mile in on Swift Creek) which leads to a wonderful day hike experience to Granite Lake. The distance from the trailhead to Granite Lake is 5 miles.
Eleanor/Shimmey Lake Trails
The trail starts by traveling to the end of the Lake Eleanor Road off of Swift Creek Road. Here one begins the trip and within one mile reaches Lake Eleanor. Past this picturesque mountain lake you continue until you finally reach Shimmey Lake, and observe towering Ycatapom Peak. The trip is relatively easy and will be enjoyed by the less experienced hiker. Shimmey Lake is just 3.6 miles from the trailhead. Lake Eleanor pictured below.
Big/Little Boulder Lake Trails
The majority of the travel to the Boulders is spent on Carr Road, just past Trinity Center. It is only a mile or so from the end of Carr Road into the lakes. The two lakes sit a mile apart from each other surrounded by forest and granite. Little Boulder is a deeper, rockier lake than the lilypad covered Big Boulder. The trail was harder than discussed with others. My wife got startled and lost somehow walking behind me , finally she made it to the lake just as I was about to go looking for her. We caught small hand sized Brook Trout and enjoyed lunch at the Lake. Me fishing Big Boulder Lake below.
Stoddard/McDonald Lake Trails
The trail to these double lakes makes for an excellent day in the woods. You get to the trailhead by taking a gravel road off of Highway 3, just 3 miles past Coffee Creek Ranger Station. The hike itself is only 3 miles through meadows and thick forest. This trail is enjoyed by all, as it provides a comfortable walk and exquisite scenery.
You have a choice of trailheads from which to start. The recommended route begins at the Scott Mountain Campground just off Highway 3 at Scott Mountain Summit. This route is 4 miles longer than the alternative, but it is all on the well-graded Pacific Crest Trail. The other choice is to begin at the Mosquito Lake/Marshy Lake road and hike one-and-a-half miles from the wilderness boundary along the dusty road to an intersection with the PCT. The terminus of your trip as described is at Carter Meadows Summit on Forest Highway 93.Scott Mountain Campground Trailhead: The Pacific Crest Trail crosses Highway 3 at the very top of Scott Summit, and continues west just north of Scott Mountain Campground. Park well off the highway, but not in the campground, and look for signs and emblems marking the trail where it crosses old roads between the campground and Forest Road 40N63 on the north side of the summit. This is where we started and enjoyed a day hike with lunch on the trail.
4×4 Fire lookout adventure
We took our 2016 2-wheel drive Nissan Rogue up a mountain to a fire lookout and pushed it to the limits and made it. The forest service road was rocky, bumpy and narrow. We almost got stuck a few times, but with my skilled driving we made it to the top to visit the staff and learn about the area. The name of the lookout is called the Bonanza King Fire lookout. The name Bonanza King is obviously derived from the extensive gold mining activities that still persist to this day in the area. I couldn’t see any active mining sites on the mountain, but there is gold in the area.
There was still snow on the ground and it’s July 1st. There is a manned fire lookout on Bonanza King, but it is not on the highpoint which is about ¾ of a mile north along the ridgeline. The people who man/woman the fire lookouts bring a special dedication to their work and I am thankful that they are there doing their part to protect us from forest fires. They were very welcoming and gave my kids some badges and toys. When we got there the ranger was surprised we didn’t come in a 4-wheel drive. The views from the summit of Bonanza King are fantastic looking east to Mt Shasta and Castle Crags, west into the Trinity Alps , and south to Trinity Lake. My wife and kids enjoyed looking out with the binoculars. After a brief stay we headed off down the mountain.
Winery day trip
We headed out to a mountain road and decided to bring our lunch and wine taste at one of the few wineries in the Trinity Alps. We had met some of the winery’s family the day before and the trip was recommended by our hosts at Bonanza King Resort. The road there was peaceful to the Mountain Farm. We were delighted to be there, the wine was delicious. I preferred the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Blanc.
ALPEN CELLARS, ESTABLISHED ON A FAMILY RANCH in the spring of 1984, is situated in a picturesque mountain valley at the foot of towering craggy peaks in the rugged Trinity Lake region of Trinity County, California.
IT SEEMS AN UNLIKELY LOCATION to attempt to grow wine grapes. But the notion, a product of a young enology student’s vision, turned out to be notably rewarding. The combination of high elevation and favorable microclimate proved to be the ideal conditions for growing early maturing vinifera grapes such as White Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Lemberger / Blaufrankisch, the five varieties to which the ranch vineyard is planted.
A night out at Trailhead Pizza
We had dinner one night out the week we were there. We decided to go to Trailhead Pizza. I had already studied up on the place before we left on our trip and I was excited to check it out. Their menu was great and had a lot to choose from. The house salad was so good. The pizza were out of this world,cooked in an oven over wood. The toppings and combinations were different and delicious. I had some Alpen Cellars Pinot and talked to the staff which were very welcoming and friendly. My wife and kids also enjoyed their meal. Besides having a nice bar they have an outdoor dining area near the creek which has a cool ambiance throughout the place. I truly recommend stopping by here if you are up in the Trinity Alps.Trailhead pizza, Coffee Creek ca.
Now here is the best part of my article. Telling everyone how wonderful our stay was, on Coffee Creek, at the Bonanza King Resort. First off i have never stayed at a cabin retreat before. I have only rented cabins in the past. Second is my wife and I wanted to try something new because we were concerned last year when we were tent camping with our 1yr old in bear country,Bears were coming into several sites near us each night. We didn’t relax much that trip. So I stumbled onto this great place off a website directory of cabins throughout California. Most of the cabins statewide ran $200 plus a night. I found Bonanza King at $120 a night, what a bargain. I looked through their webpage www.bonanzakingresort.com and contacted the owners Brian and Mary. They answered any questions I had and were very friendly. I booked a trip way in advance since most return guests book 6 months to a year in advance. I lucked out and got a beautiful cabin named “Cedar”.The Cedar cabin was perfect and had a loft, full kitchen, and appealing bathroom. The cabin was clean and smelled good inside. All the linens,bedding and towels were furnished. The kitchen was well stocked with a toaster, coffee maker, and microwave. The best thing about our cabin besides being affordable was that it had a roof vent fan in the loft that would suck out all the hot air and flow in new air, this cooled off the cabin and made it so comfortable since we were there when it was in the high 90’s that week. That really did seal the deal for me ,that fan. Brian and Mary go out of their way to make sure your happy and have whatever you need. They gave us advice on hikes and day trips in the area. They have movie nights and a pancake breakfast for guests during the week.
We barbecued meats on our Weber Brian provides. They have a Teepee that kids can sign up to sleep in at night. They also have a playground and lots of toys kids can play with. We felt relaxed letting the kids play across from our cabin at the playground. There are places to wander off and read a book in a hammock by the creek. The resort also got wifi but no cell service, I was able to communicate back home via text. And I got internet. With no TV at night which was a good thing I played some radio shows to listen to.
The Creek was the most beautiful attribute to the property. It has a huge, deep swimming hole under trees to cool off in. There are plenty of chairs and chase lounges creekside to sun bathe or sit in the shade. Coffee Creek along the resort also holds large Rainbow Trout. I caught plenty while I was there. The Trout seemed to like lures over bait. Below are the three best lures, I used on the trip, that were most productive. By far the bumble bee Rooster Tail lure worked the best, it’s what I caught my big one on.
If you want to plan a trip to the Trinity Alps, and your thinking about a cabin, Then make reservations at Bonanza King Resort, you won’t be sorry. Once again thats www.bonanzakingresort.com and tell them Camping and fishing.org sent you.