To the southwest of Castle Crags lies Twin and Tamarack Lakes, as well as opportunities for some outstanding 360-degree views of the north state including Mt Shasta, Mt Eddy, Mt Lassen and the Trinity Alps. It’s just a short jaunt, 3 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain from the trailhead to Tamarack Lake, but for most you’ll also need to add a mile of uphill hiking on a rocky 4×4 road. And if you want to gain the views, add plenty of time and energy for bushwhacking, scrambling and exploring. We turned our trip into a 7-hour, 6-mile, 2000′ elevation gain kind of day, one requiring a post-trip Epsom soak.
Sadly, there is a 4×4 road with access directly to Tamarack Lake; therefore, this area can be pretty busy and may have a crowd not conducive to backpackers and hikers delight. I didn’t like seeing tire tracks through the meadows, the beer cans and trash strewn about. I picked up some plastic bottles and other trash as I hiked up to the ridge and will bring a trash bag to collect more should I return to this area. Happily on this day, there were only two vehicles parked near the lake and the occupants had backpacked up to an area east above the lake. Except for these two individuals, we did not see nor hear another soul.
- See my Trails Link page for book, map and online resources
- Plan your trip to avoid the summer season