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Granite Peak - Stoney Ridge, CA

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Difficulty 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 11 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,629 feet
Elevation Gain 3,400 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 29
Interest Seasonal Creek, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
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21  2013-08-31 JimmyLyding
Author JimmyLyding
author avatar Guides 111
Routes 430
Photos 4,295
Trips 715 map ( 4,289 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Walnut Creek, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Jun, Aug, Jul → 5 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  4:39am - 7:46pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Up up and away
by JimmyLyding

Likely In-Season!
This hike ascends 8,091' Granite Peak just west of Trinity Lake in the beautiful Trinity Alps of Northern California, and the exertion needed to climb 3,500' in just over 5 miles is rewarded with unbelievable views. This hike can be divided into four parts based on flora. Roughly, the lowest mile is high chaparral mixed with black oak, incense cedar, and Ponderosa pine. The next portion up the switchbacks hold a dense forest of Ponderosas and Douglas fir. The next mile and a half go through a deep forest of firs, and the last half mile is in krummholz-like terrain for the final assault on the peak.

The parking lot at 4400' has a large circular parking lot with rough-looking roads heading off to the left and right of the well-marked trailhead. Head up the Stoney Ridge Trail as it gradually climbs through chaparral woodland and red dirt that are reminiscent of many parts of the Southwest. The trail climbs 1.3 miles and 600' to the start of the switchbacks. There are a few views here to the south of Monument Peak and the large Stuart Creek drainage. The dreaded switchbacks climb 1,500' over 2.3 miles (not too bad, but definitely not a stroll in the park) on a well-maintained trail to the first junction of the hike.

The Stoney Ridge Trail continues to the left so take an evidently unmaintained trail off to the right across a meadow that's wet in spring and early summer. Crossing isn't too difficult, and soon enough you are rambling across an open landscape with great views in multiple directions. The character of the trail changes about 500 yards from the junction as the trail enters a deep forest and begins to climb very steeply. The trail was not in good condition here in May 2013, but I didn't have any trouble following it. There was a small snowfield that had to be conquered/skirted, and the biggest challenge is the steep terrain. The trees begin to shrink about 3/4 mile up from the junction, and the trail improves as it climbs to a small spur ridge pointing east from the summit area. This spot offers the first really nice views as Mount Shasta and the entire Trinity Lake region is visible.

The trail heads to the north until meeting up with the Granite Peak Trail 1/2 mile ahead before another 1/2 mile and 400' of switchbacks leads to the summit. I understand there are the remains of an old lookout, but I didn't actually visit the summit on my initial hike due to a snowfield before the Granite Peak Trail junction (and being 20 min. past my turnaround time) so take that portion of this description with a grain of salt.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2013-06-03 JimmyLyding
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Redding, CA take CA Hwy 299 44 miles to Weaverville, CA then go right/north on CA Hwy 3 for 13.5 miles to the well-signed Stoney Ridge Road (note: there are also signed roads for Stoney Ridge campground and swim areas). Take Stoney Ridge to the left as it climbs over a mostly-decent road for 6 miles to the signed trailhead. This road is passable by most passenger cars in dry weather, but drivers must pay attention for hazards.
    page created by JimmyLyding on Jun 02 2013 7:39 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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