Exceptional Intro to Trinity Alps
This hike is one of the shortest trails available to provide a fantastic introduction to the Trinity Alps wilderness. It checks many boxes of what this area has to offer: granite cliffs, peaks, alpine lakes, and old-growth forests. Stoddard Lake is the second largest lake in the alps and the primary destination, but there are opportunities to delve further and reach smaller alpine lakes--each unique, beautiful, and mostly surrounded by granite cliffs and pine/fir trees.
Familiarize yourself with the road to the trailhead because there are several off-shoot forest roads that can be easily mistook for the main road. The road is gravel and can be rocky. SUV or high-clearance is recommended, though 4WD is not necessary.
Depending of the time of year and seasonal snowfall, there may be snow on the trail or roads.
Some maps will label the site of Stoddard Cabin at the fork where the Stoddard trail bears South. This was the site of the home of a family who once ranched in the area. The cabin is long since gone, but the name lives on in Stoddard Lake.
The trail begins with some elevation gain through the forest, and soon offers views of surrounding peaks in the area. You will find some meadows, which the trail once passed through but now wraps around. There is a fork in the trail with a sign indicating Stoddard Lake to the South and Doe Lake to the East. Doe Lake is roughly 3 miles and 1500 ft AEG from this point. Stoddard Lake is about a mile from this point. You can hike all the way around Stoddard Lake, and reach McDonald Lake a small distance South of Stoddard. Enjoy the world-class views and return the way you came.
Stoddard Lake has water year-round.
There are a few campsites around the lake with fire pits and some seating.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.