Backpack Stuart Fork to Emerald and Sapphire Lake

Rate this Adventure Trinity Alps Road

The Stuart Fork to Emerald and Sapphire Lakes trail is a 24.7 mile day hike or backpacking trip in Trinity National Forest. The change in scenery is stunning - be prepared for an epic trip!

The Stuart Fork to Emerald and Sapphire Lakes trail features many beautiful lakes, meadows, and an area that resembles a jungle. Dogs are able to use this trail. This trail can be done as a day hike, an overnight, or a three-day backpacking trip. If you choose to make it a three day, the meadows is a good place to stop on your first night. Morris Meadows is 9 miles from the trailhead. There are plenty of streams to refill your water supply, so bring a filtration system. One you get past the meadows, the terrain resembles a jungle. There is a beautiful waterfall at the top of Emerald Lake that is perfect for camping! 

Follow bear protocol and use a bear bag or bear can. Squirrels, birds, and bears alike will all be interested in your food and smelly toiletries. Wildflowers and butterflies are abundant. 

You will lose service about 30 minutes before you get into Trinity County, so be sure you have the trailhead in your GPS or Google Maps. The final 2 miles is on a dirt road, 4WD is recommended. The trail has a lot of ups and downs, so hiking boots are a must and trekking poles are recommended. Make sure to stop along the way to stay well hydrated and fed. 

Watch for snakes, and enjoy! 

Photo: Gary Robertson

Pack List

  • Water / water filtration
  • Hiking boots / trekking poles
  • Food / cookware
  • Sleeping bag / sleeping pad
  • Headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Garmin, GPS or Compass & Map
  • Warm, non-cotton layers 
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RT Distance 25 Miles
Elevation Gain 4448 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Running, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Expert
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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