The Grey Rocks Lake Trail provides access to the south side of the Grey Rocks, Grey Rock Lake and the summit of Flume Creek Ridge. The route generally follows an old road that has degraded to little more than a single-track trail in many places. Other than rare OHV use, especially during hunting season, than route see almost no traffic. Most who hike the trail are occasional fisherman heading in to ply the legendary waters of Grey Rock Lake. Like most trails in this area, the trail to Grey Rock Lake offers excellent views as well as the opportunity to explore an enormous meadow that has extensive patches of Darlingtonia, a carnivorous plant common in the Klamath Mountains.
A page on Flume Creek Ridge will be forth coming in the near future.
Route DescriptionThe trail begins at a spur off of Forest Road 38N17. Park where a new road splits off the spur and heads to the north. Continue on foot up the spur. The road remains in acceptable condition for about 0.2 miles until it crosses a small creek. At this point the road degrades considerably and is essentially a wide, rocky trail. Beyond the creek the trail climbs up to a pass between two small subpeaks of the Grey Rocks. A use trail leading to the south climbs up to Peak 6,308, where one has good views of the Grey Rocks. The pass marks the divide between the Trinity River watershed and Sacramento River watershed. After passing through the pass the trail continues on a long, level traverse of the lower flanks of the Grey Rocks. About 0.5 miles past the pass, the trail forks. If one continues to the right, the trail turns south. From there it passes through some lush meadows and then crosses back over the divide to Tamarack Lake.
Staying left at the fork, the trail turns sharply to the north. A short side-trail leads to the foot of Grey Rock Meadow. The meadow is well watered by a series of springs on its north end. Large bogs of Darlingtonia, a carnivorous pitcher plant, as well as abundant wildflowers, skunk cabbage and large boulders dot the grassy field. Back on the trail, the route contours around the edge of the meadow, heading uphill to the north before turning to the east, meandering through the woods right on the edge of the grass. It is possible to hear the springs gurgling from some points on the trail. There is a rugged route to the Grey Rocks' south summit from here, but it is difficult and involves significant bushwhacking. (This route will be developed in the future)
Past the meadow, the trail begins to a long, gradual descent down to a saddle above Grey Rock Lake, though the lake is not visible from the trail. About 0.5 miles along this trail, watch for a fairly undefined use trail branching off to the left. This route drops steeply 500 feet in 0.4 miles to the shores of Grey Rock Lake. Springs water more meadows on the way down to the lake. These meadows offer good places to camp, though good places can be found near the lake too.
Returning to the main trail, the route continues along the ridge high above Grey Rock Lake for another 0.75 miles. From this point, the trail turns east again. If one wished, it is possible to follow this route along the crest of Flume Creek Ridge for another 6 miles as it descends into the Sacramento River Canyon. At six miles the trail intersects a Forest Service road that one must follow for another 4.5 miles to reach Interstate 5 at Sweetbriar.
Rather than making the descent to the river, it is possible to make an ascent to the rocky summit of Flume Creek Ridge. From the saddle where the trail begins to the long trip to the river, leave the trail and scramble up to the crest of the ridge, climbing 200 feet in 0.35 miles. There is brush on the slope, but it is patchy and not a difficult obstacle to overcome. Upon reaching the final crest of Flume Creek Ridge, traverse the crest, staying on the south side. The north face of the ridge is a sheer cliff about 700 feet above the forest below. Views from the summit are outstanding, including a front row seat of the Grey Rocks, the Castle Crags on the far side of Castle Creek far below, as well as of Mount Shasta.