Gibson Peak tops a high granite ridge in the heart of the Red Trinities region of the Trinity Alps. A domineering presence from all directions, the cliffs of Gibson Peak provide stunning vertical backdrops to numerous meadows and alpine lakes. Bowerman, Deer Creek and Siligo Meadows all lay at the feet of this massive mountain. Gibson and Granite Lakes lay on the north flanks while Deer Lake is found on it's western foot. Anna and Billy-Be-Damned Lakes are easily accessed to the south. Aside from Deer Lake, the other three bodies of water in the Four Lakes Loop can also be reached easily from Gibson Peak. Indeed, Luella Lake, the northernmost lake in the loop, provides some of the most dramatic views of the mountain's Dolomite Ridge. In spite of all the excellent lakes and meadows ornamenting the mountain, it is Gibson Peak itself that remains a constant and awesome presence.
In reality, Gibson Peak is the high point on a series of ridges. The main ridge runs east-west, terminating at Deer Creek Pass on it's western end. The pass separates Gibson from Siligo Peak. The actual summit of Gibson Peak anchors the eastern end of the ridge. Extending north from Deer Creek Pass and forming the western bulwark of Gibson Peak is the awesome Dolomite Ridge, which rises dramatically 2,000 feet above Deer Creek Meadow. The ridge obviously gets its name from what some perceived as a resemblance to the Dolomites in Italy. An interesting geologic phenomenon occurs at the north end of the ridge. The stark vertical granite of the Gibson Peak massif suddenly transforms into the red serpentine of Seven Up Peak. A small gulch separates the two mountains. The transition between rock types is quite sudden and unique.
Gibson Peak is one of numerous summits in the Trinity Alps range of the Klamath Mountains. The Trinity Alps themselves can be divided into three distinct regions. In the west are the vast Green Trinities. This area is composed of steep canyons, roaring rivers, sharp ridgelines, and utter solitude. The "green" appellation is derived from the vast stands of virgin timber found in this area. The White Trinities, the granite core of the range is where the associate with the Alps is derived. This area occupies the center of the Trinity Alps. East of the granite heart of the range, rising above Trinity Lake, are the Red Trinities. The name comes from the color of the serpentine that composes most of the mountains in this section. Numerous excellent peaks over 8,000 feet as well as an enviable number of lake basins are found in the Red Trinities. While the Red Trinities are generally characterized by red serpentine and peridotite, there are numerous granite intrusions. Gibson, along with its adjacent neighbor Siligo Peak, are prime examples of this.
Although lacking official conformation, maps indicate that Gibson Peak, at 8,400 feet, is the highest summit in the Red Trinities. The White Trinities to the west, are the ceiling of the Trinity Alps. Numerous peaks in this area exceed 8,500 feet. In The heart of this cluster of summits is 9,002 foot Thompson Peak, the highest in the Trinity Alps. Although separated from these peaks by several miles, Gibson seems to be a distant relative, in terms of both height and composition.
Gibson Peak can be approached from numerous directions. The two most direct routes come off Highway 3, north of Weaverville. The easiest way to the summit is to take the Swift Creek trail to Granite Lake and scramble from the lake up to the summit. Small Gibson Lake is also accessible along this route. Another option is to hike up the Long Canyon Trail to Bee Tree Pass. A few steep gullies lead to the ridge. One need only scramble to the top of Gibson Peak from the ridge. Deer Creek Pass also comes close to the top of the ridge and it is easy to scramble up to it. This route is a long traverse from the actual summit, so it is not the most advisable approach. Deer Creek Pass can also be accessed via the Stoney Ridge Trail, coming from Stonewall Pass to the south or by climbing out of Deer Creek Canyon, which connect to the Stuart Fork of the Trinity River. Unless planning on tying Gibson into a summit spree, the Granite Lake route is the easiest.
Getting ThereLong Canyon Trail
From Weaverville drive north on Highway 3 to Long Canyon Road. This road is a signed turnoff for the Long Canyon Trail. Follow the road to the trailhead.
Swift Creek / Granite Lake Trail
From Weaverville drive north on Highway 3 past the Long Canyon Road to the signed turnoff for the Swift Creek / Granite Lake Trail. Follow the road to the trailhead.
Peak is located in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Normal wilderness rules and ethics apply. A campfire permit is required by the forest service.
Shasta-Trinity National Forest
3644 Avtech Parkway
Redding, CA 96002
Weaverville Ranger Station
P.O. Box 1190
360 Main Street
Weaverville, CA 96093
CampingThe USFS operates numerous campgrounds around Trinity Lake. Most are within easy striking distance from either the Granite Lake or Long Canyon trailheads. Alpine View or Preacher Meadow campgrounds are close to the Long Canyon trailhead.
There are numerous excellent campsites along both approach trails. Granite Lake often fills up with people on the weekends but Bowerman and Siligo Meadows offer great campsites with few if any people.