Getting ThereFrom looking at the maps, it appears that there are several possible routes to hike to the summit of Chanchelulla Peak, however, I found those from the north, west, and south didn’t work out for one reason or another. I chose the eastern route up Chanchelulla Creek. Elevation of the trailhead is about 3,200ft (980 meters).
To access Chanchelullas Creek you have to get to Deer Lick Springs on the eastern side of t the Chanchelulla Wilderness. The roads to Deer Lick Springs are well signed and accessible in 2WD vehicles.
Option 1 from the north. 2WD ok for this option, but there are some potholes and ruts to avoid. From Hwy 299 that connects Redding to Eureka on the coast, turn south on Hwy 3 just before the east of the little town of Douglas City. Turn left on the signed road of Deer Lick Springs Road. This turn is on a blind switchback on Hwy 3, so watch traffic carefully here. Zero your odometer here. This road is paved for about 4 miles and then becomes gravel. There are lots of roads and driveways the fork off of Deer Lick Springs Road, but stay on the main road. This is a long drive around the east and south side of the Chanchelulla Wilderness.
Finally, at 18.0 miles from Hwy 3, there is an intersection with road 30N02 on the right heading down to Deer Lick Springs. This road is a little rougher than the one you were on, but keep going down for 2.4 miles to Deer Lick Springs. Here is another intersection. Deer Lick Springs Campground is to the right and Forest Road 1 is to the left.
Take Forest Road 1 to the left and go up about 1.0 mile, and you will see a little drive on your right that goes up Chanchelulla Creek. The creek is hard to see here, so you have to be alert. Drive up this little road about 500ft to a campsite just before the road crossed Chandhelulla Creek. Park here, don’t try to cross the creek, it only goes another .25 mile before it ends.
Option 2 from the south. From Hwy 36 that connects Red Bluff with Eureka on the coast. Find the town of Platina on the map about 50 miles west of Red Bluff. Just west of this little town is the Yolla Bolla Ranger Station. Continue west, ignore the first sign in about .5 mile on the right for a road to Deer Lick Springs. Continue west for 4.3 miles to Forest Road 1 on the right. Turn right on this gravel road and follow the signs to Deer Lick Springs. In 5.3 miles there is an intersection and Forest Road 1 goes left down the hill. Follow this for another 5.5 miles to where Chanchelulla Creek meets Browns Creek. The creek is hard to see here, so you have to be alert. Drive up this little road about 500ft to a campsite just before the road crossed Chandhelulla Creek. Park here, don’t try to cross the creek, it only goes another .25 mile before it ends. 2WD ok for this drive.
Route DescriptionThis is an easy route. There are no trails, so you get to make it up as you go. Avoid the brush and bears and get to the summit.
This is the route I took. I crossed Chanchelulla Creek and followed the little road until it ended. Chanchelulla Creek is on your left and serves as a good handrail. Enter the forest and continue up the creek. Find a game trail so your footing will be better. There are lots of trails along the creek. I stayed 50-100 ft above the creek and kept heading west. It looks like you could go up to the top of the ridgeline here and follow that, but it is really brushy up there. I found it easy walking under the forest canopy. Watch for bears along here.
Continue east for about 1.5 miles until you reach a small rigeline at about 4,000 ft in elevation. At this point I was a couple hundred feet above Chanchelulla Creek. You get your first good view of Chanchelulla Peak for here. It is the obvious rounded peak off to you right on the ridgeline. The route up the ridgeline looked promising, so I headed up. I knew I wanted to get to the saddle on the east side of Chanchelulla at elevation 5,500 ft (1,685 meters).
It wasn’t difficult to find my way around the brushy parts up the ridge and then started to traverse over towards the saddle. I stayed below the brush that seemed to cover the upper ridgeline. I just continued up and traversed to my left, picking the easiest non-brushy path whenever possible. I did have to break through some brush patches, but it wasn’t bad.
The closer I got to the saddle, the less brushy it became and more rocky. There were some scree slopes I had to hop across. At the saddle you can see up the final ridge to the summit. There are some brush patches on this stretch also. I chose to go mostly to the right of the brush through the trees just below the ridgeline. There was lots of down trees to jump over here, but it was better than the brush. Continue up the ridge to the summit.
Coming down I used my GPS to keep me on the same path I used to come up the mountain. Total hike was about 7.4 miles and took me 6.5 hours. Elevation gain with several ups and downs along the way was close to 3,600ft.