This page was created by Trinityalpsman
who has since passed away. It is currently being maintained as he created it.
***Original content by Trinityalpsman
(8019 ft.) Big Flat Trailhead, Swift Creek Trailhead. This is one of the more accessible 8,000 foot mountains in the Alps. If you’re camped at Ward or Horseshoe Lakes, you can take the trail from Ward Lake to the Kidd Creek gap and then scramble the ridge line to the summit. It can also be bagged by picking your way right up the front from Ward Lake.
But it’s nine miles by trail up Swift Creek to Ward Lake. A shorter approach, a nice day hike, is from Big Flat Campground at the head of Coffee Creek. It’s even shorter if you are lucky enough to be guest at the private lodge below Josephine Lake. But most of us must stop at the locked gate and walk the two miles of road to the Kidd Creek Trail. The Kidd Creek Trail means business from the git go, climbing almost 3,000 feet in less than two miles. It’ll make a mouth breather out of you. But the view of Sawtooth Ridge and Caribou Mountain to the west is superb alpine scenery reinforcing the notion of naming this area “Alps.”
From I-5 in Redding, CA, turn west on highway 299 to Weaverville, then north on highway 3. You have two choices: 1) Go north on hwy 3 about 30 miles to Trinity Center and hang a left just after you cross the Swift Creek bridge. Follow the dirt USFS road about 6 or 7 miles to the Swift Creek trailhead at the end of the road. Start hikin'. OR 2) you can continue on north on hwy 3 past Trinity Center to Coffee Creek about ten miles and then hang a left on Coffee Creek Road. The first few miles are paved but soon give way to gravel for a bumpy bouncing 20 mile ride to Big Flat on the South Fork of the Salmon River. Trailhead is at USFS Big Flat Campground at locked gate.
Get a wilderness permit in Weaverville on you way through town.
A plethora of palatial campsites will be found all along the nine miles of the Swift Creek trail and at Ward and Horseshoe Lakes. USFS Big Flat Campground is free.