Although crowded during the 4th of July weekend, Triangle Lake is a family favorite in my neck of the woods. An easy hike with lots of campsites makes a great weekend getaway for you, the kids and the dogs!
Located in the Caribou Wilderness within Lassen National Forest, Triangle Lake is just 2 hours east of Redding, CA. The trailhead is well-marked and the path is usually well-maintained, and being just shy of 3 miles long, makes it great for kids or first-time backpackers. As a teenager with severe asthma this trip was not only attainable as a novice packer but incredibly rewarding. Ten years later this was mine and my husband’s first backpacking trip together with family as well as Cookie’s first extended camping trip, and needless to say great fun was had by all!
While there are fish in this lake, they are shy and sly, so after spending the first day fishing with no reward he decided to spend a more productive day building a log raft (from downfall, of course) and a stone jetty at which to dock it. The maiden voyage was one of success and much joy. I wonder who has been able to enjoy it since we’ve left!
Possibly my favorite backpacking destination so far, Tangle Blue is a secret treasure hidden in the Trinity Alps Wilderness of Northern California. But this breathtaking mountain lake can’t be taken freely – it has to be earned with blood, sweat, and possibly tears.
First of all, I’d like to mention that the dirt road to the trailhead is BARELY MARKED! If we hadn’t had the exact GPS location of the road pinned on my phone, I doubt we would have found it given the lack of cell service in the area. The only indication that the service road leads to anything is a laminated 8.5×11″ piece of paper with the trail name faintly printed on it and stuck to a tree. It’s on the outside (left) side of a right-hand curve. I hope this helps anyone reading this prior to venturing to the lake!
Anyhow – the “moderate” hike (as rated by AllTrails, my go-to trail app) is a strenuous one with a full pack on a hot summer day. It begins on a dry, rocky dirt road that crosses over a trestle bridge and continues for the first few miles before any good treecover or running water are reached (read: bring water, sunblock and a hat!). From there it’s beautiful forest and flowered pastures with excruciating steep trail legs in between. The latter come in short bursts but they are leg-killers!
Once you finally reach Tangle Blue you have your pick of campsites around the shore. Our pick was a site on the far side from the trail, backing up to the east edge of the granite bowl that the lake is situated in. Once you have successfully refueled, tanked up on water, and set up camp (impromptu hammock nap optional) you’re ready for one of the most relaxing, tranquil stays of your backpacking career.
The lake itself is gorgeous, crystal clear, and delightfully refreshing. To my husband’s delight, it boasts its fair share of trout – perfect for roasting over the campfire when Mountain House starts to get old. We spent most of our trip swimming, sunning ourselves on the massive boulders littered along the shoreline, and reading from the comfort of our hammocks.
For those of you who want to venture away from the serenity of the lake there are multiple other day hikes to be taken in the surrounding area. Our jaunt of choice, although there was not a trail leading to our destination, was to the top of Scotty’s Peak on the very edge of the aforementioned granite bowl. The hike was essentially an extended scramble up the granite mountainside but the bird’s-eye view was absolutely worth the 3,000ft hand-over-foot elevation gain.
As far as wildlife goes we saw next to none. Aside from the fish my hubby caught we had a very large toad venture into our camp, and that was it! I think there’s enough foot traffic to keep large mammals away during the summer months. Although it was memorial day weekend we only saw two other groups of people, and they were pretty respectful of other campers.
So if you’re ever in the Trinity Lake neck of the woods and you’re looking for a healthy hike with great reward, Tangle Blue will always be my #1 recommendation!
Aaron and I are relocating from northern California to the great state of Idaho. We’re not sure where exactly yet, but we know we no longer wish to reside in Redding, or anywhere else in California. After everything we’ve been subjected to in this state (skyrocketing crime, a broken penal system, financial hardship, among other things) we’ve decided there is no reason not to relocate now, when we don’t have anything preventing us from doing so. Because we are leaving my entire family behind, it was an incredibly hard decision to make, but we feel it’s what is best for us and our future as a couple and future family.
That being said, we could not have had more fun in the Gem State. Boise was quirky and hip; from there we traveled through forest after forest, only stopping for good food and the occasional excursion to stretch our legs. We left pins in Riggins, Lewiston, Lake Cascade, and St. Maries before finally driving up the east lide of Lake Coeur d’Alene, our predicted landing spot. We spend almost a week in the “City on the Lake,” met with a wonderfully warm community, boundless opportunities for recreation, a thriving job market, and affordable living costs. This is exactly why we came here, we decided. This is what we were looking for and it’s what we found easily throughout most of the state, although CDA was our definite favorite town, not in the least for its resemblance to Lake Tahoe, a magical and meaningful place for my husband and I.
So we’ve returned to Redding with a renewed thrill for what the future holds for us, and an overwhelming sense of wanderlust. We cannot wait to get out of Commie-fornia and begin this new chapter in our lives. The next step is to take another trip upstate to secure housing, and then it’s all moving from there!