Monument Peak is one of the southernmost high peaks in the Trinity Alps. Only Weaver Bally (7,504), the trailhead for Monument Peak, is further south. It is also one of the only high peaks (along with Red Mountain and Granite Peak) in the Trinity Alps visible from the community of Weaverville, the primary logistical center for excursions into the Trinities. Despite its height, it is difficult to believe the granite, alpine landscape that is found on the north side of Monument Peak exists so close to Weaverville. Viewing this part of the mountain can be problematic. The best views are from the high peaks of the Red Trinities, particularly Red Mountain. The Stoney Ridge trail also provides good views of the granite precipice. The only other place to catch a clean view of the north face of the mountain is from a boat in Trinity Lake, which is located east of Monument Peak.
Monument Peak anchors the southern stretch of Canyon Creek. Monument Peak is not part of the core of the Canyon Creek area but it deserves inclusion since it towers high above the creek and is briefly visible from the road leading to the trailhead. It is on an extension of the ridge extending south from Sawtooth Peak. Although the Rush Creek Lakes on the north side of the peak drain to the east, East Fork Lake is the source of the East Fork Creek which drains into Canyon Creek.
The mountain consists of a long east-west running ridgeline. The south face of the mountain is steep but is connected to the Weaver Bally Ridge by a saddle dividing Bear Gulch from the East Weaver Creek drainage. The north face of Monument Peak is a spectacular granite cliff plunging nearly 2,500 feet to the Rush Creek drainage. The wall is completely vertical in most places, with several chutes containing talus located sporadically along the ridge. The summit is a small knob rising a couple hundred feet above the rest of the ridge. Two other prominent points fall just short of the summits height. Point 7,601 lies due east of the summit knob. Protruding from here is Point 7,598. This point has a serrated summit composed of vertical granite slabs. Point 7,053 is rugged subpeak located east of the main ridge.
Point 7,598 anchors the Rush Creek cirque, the most spectacular feature on Monument Peak. The cirque lies directly beneath the summit, running roughly to the northwest. Extending almost a mile, the cirque forms a deep, rugged basin that contains four lakes and numerous small tarns. The largest lake, Upper Rush Creek Lake is 2 acres and lies 800 feet below the summit of Monument Peak. Small permanent snowfields dot the cliffs above the icy blue lake. Three more lakes lie west of Upper Rush Creek Lake, and although they are certainly attractive and worth visiting, their location cannot compare to the dramatic cliffs towering above Upper Rush Creek Lake. The lake can be accessed by descending two of the chutes that begin just east of the summit knob. Indeed, most people who climb Monument Peak are the intrepid few how make the trip to Rush Creek Lakes. Another lake basin is located north of the summit. East Fork Lake lies at the head of a rugged canyon that feeds into Canyon Creek. Experienced scramblers can climb the ridge separating the East Fork basin with the one containing the Rush Creek Lakes.
The views from the summit of Monument Peak may be amongst the best in northern California. From the top, the entire Trinity Alps spread out to the north. The Green Trinities can be seen to the west. The granite core of the Trinities, clustered around Canyon Creek seen close enough to grasp. Caribou Mountain, Black Mountain and the Stuart Fork of the Trinity River are also visible. The Red Trinities, including Siligo Peak, Seven-Up Peak, Gibson Peak, Red Mountain, the “Echo Peaks”, Middle Peak and Granite Peak are all visible. Above all of this, Mount Shasta presides regally. The Castle Crags and the Grey Rocks are visible adjacent to Shasta. To the east, Crater Peak, Lassen Peak, Mt. Diller and Brokeoff Mountain are visible. The northern Sierra Nevada can be seen as well. Shasta Bally, Bully Choop, North Yolla Bolly and the North Coast Range are all observed to the south. It is hard to imagine a more sublime view.
The trailhead for Monument Peak is located near the summit of Weaver Bally, a prominent peak high above Weaverville. From Weaverville, drive west on Highway 299. Just before the end of town, turn veer right off the highway onto Black Bear Road. The pavement quickly disappears and Black Bear eventually becomes a lesser road that splits off the main route. The main road becomes Weaver Bally Road. There are signs pointing the way to Weaver Bally and stating the distance one must go. After 9 miles the road terminates at a US Forest Service lookout tower, although the road is gated just before the tower. The trailhead is about a quarter miles before the gate. The trailhead sign has been knocked over and propped up against a tree so the trailhead may be heard to spot. Look for a yellow wilderness sign nailed to a tree to mark the trailhead. The trail is easy to follow.
Be sure to head up to the lookout tower since the view of Canyon Creek is better there than from the summit of Monument Peak. The reason for this is that Monument is further east and closer to the canyon. While all the peaks are visible, the canyon bottom is partially obscured by Little Granite Peak. From the lookout, one has an unobstructed view into the gaping maw of Canyon Creek. For those who have ventured into the canyon, it is neat to be able to spot the various landmark one encounters from this perch.
Monument Peak is located in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Normal wilderness rules and ethics apply.
Shasta-Trinity National Forest
3644 Avtech Parkway
Redding, CA 96002
Weaverville Ranger Station
P.O. Box 1190
360 Main Street
Weaverville, CA 96093
The East Weaver Campground is located a short distance north of Weaverville on East Weaver Creek Road. The road is located off of Highway 299 prior to Black Bear Road. From the campground a trail ascends East Weaver Creek. It eventually joins the trail to Monument Peak. This route is much longer and climbs a lot more than necessary since one has the option to start the trip on Weaver Bally. The best campsite along the trail to Monument Peak is located near East Weaver Creek. The tiny lake is located in a beautiful cirque with excellent views of Monument Peak towering above and Lassen Peak in the distance. Waterless campsites with awesome views can be found on the saddle connecting Weaver Bally and Monument Peak. Waterless, dispersed camping can be found at the trailhead.