It had been 100+ degrees in the valley. We needed to escape so even though we knew it’d be warmer than preferred for hiking, we’d be near water and shade, and it’d be at least 20 degrees cooler. It was slightly below 60F when we arrived at trailhead around 8am, and 85F when we finished about 3pm.
I first hiked to Sifford Lake a few years ago when I was on my comeback after my wrist surgery (link), so it seems apropos to do the same following my knee surgery. This is the first lake and by far the most visited of the multiple lakes in the Sifford Lakes basin, thus we’ve renamed it Lake Popular.
There are several opportunities to obtain views of the distant mountains and down into Warner Valley.
This was my first time to explore the network of lakes. The trail was in good condition and easy to follow to the first lake in the cluster. We called this one Island Lake (notice the tree coming out of the rock in the middle of the lake).
Finding the rest of the lakes required a bit of wandering and fun navigation.
We called this one Rock Lake.
Some of the lakes are quite close together. In this photo, Rock Lake is on the left with Lassen Peak in the background; Island Lake is on the right.
Most of the lakes weren’t very inviting for a swim like this one we called Grassy Lake. Most likely this will soon become a dry pond.
We were surprised to find one lake already dry, so yes this one became known as Dry Lake.
The largest of the lakes, Big Sifford Lake, offers views of Lassen and Reading Peaks. We enjoyed lunch at this spot and were hopeful a bear would saunter out of the woods and take a swim.
Unknowingly we saved the best for last, Swimmer’s Lake.
Looking down at Lake Popular, from where we started our jaunt to find all of the other Sifford Lakes.
We also did some wandering around to find viewpoints.
The most common bloom of the day was these Mariposa Lilies.
Penstemon provided bright pops of pink along the trail and seemed to enjoy hiding in rocky alcoves.
This hike begins with a descent along Kings Creek to the first Sifford Lake aka Lake Popular, then it’s a climb to the lakes basin. We saw a young family in the early morning hiking the waterfalls loop then didn’t see anyone until we reached Lake Popular on the return trip when we met another young couple. There were many hikers in the afternoon on the waterfalls trail. Our route was less than 7 miles with about 800 feet elevation gain/loss. How were the skeeters? Lucky us non-existent until we stopped by Kings Creek to soak our feet. That water was freezing COLD and the mossies seemed to love the environment. Needless to say we didn’t stay long. That was our cue, exit left!
Other nearby jaunts: