Granite Peak summit
Anchoring the extreme southeast corner of the Trinity Alps, Granite Peak rises dramatically above Trinity Lake. The mountain is not the most spectacular summit in the Trinity Alps, nor the tallest, most picturesque, or rugged. Nonetheless, it is still a worthwhile summit to climb with vistas of the entire Trinity Alps, Trinity Lake, the North Yolla Bolly's, Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen visible from the top. Indeed, it is easily the most climbed peak in the range, handily outdistancing any of the other numerous summits in the region in terms of the number of people who reach the top. The reason for this is simple; alone among Trinity Alps peaks, it has a maintained trail to the top. A fire lookout once occupied the summit although it has been abandoned and ruined. Nonetheless, people continue to hike to the top and occasionally spend the night.
Red Mountain from the Granite Peak trail
The mountain itself is forested almost all the way to the summit. Granite outcroppings line many of the drainages. About four hundred feet from the summit the trees thin dramatically and and the mountain's namesake granite is exposed. Granite Peak is an isolated granite intrusion to an otherwise red peridotite and serpentine region. The nearest granite mountains are Siligo and Gibson Peaks, to the north and the White Trinity region around Canyon Creek to the west. Despite its different composition, Granite Peak is located in a cluster of high peaks. It is separated from Red Mountain
by Stonewall Pass and Red Mountain Meadow. Middle Peak lies just to the north, connected by another high but unnamed pass.
As stated previously, Granite Peak is the only mountain in the Trinity Alps with a maintained trail all the way to the summit. It is a grueling climb, gaining 4,000 feet in 4.5 miles. The trail swithcbacks numerous times as it follows a ravine up the side of Granite Peak. Another option is to hike up the more moderately graded Stoney Ridge trail, the route that leads to Red Mountain
. A connector route links the Stoney Ridge route with the Granite Peak trail a few hundred feet from the summit. The connector route departs the Stoney Ridge trail at the 43rd switchback after crossing the wilderness boundary. The connecting trail is officially designated as a "scramble" which is the Forest Service's way of saying that the trail receives minimal maintenance. It is nonetheless an easy trail to follow, although it is quite steep in sections.
Granite Peak is one of numerous summits in the Trinity Alps range of the Klamath Mountains. The Trinity Alps are divided into three 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 here. The White Trinities, the granite core of the range, is where the association with the Alps is derived. This area occupies the center of the Trinity Alps. East of the granite heart of the range is 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. Among the most notable are Siligo, Gibson and Granite Peaks.
From Weaverville drive north on Highway 3 to the signed turnoff for the Stoney Ridge trailhead. The turnoff is shortly after the Stoney Ridge trailhead turnoff. Follow the dirt road to the trailhead.
Trinity Lake from near the summit of Granite Peak
Granite 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
The north slope of Granite Peak rises above Red Mountain Meadow
The USFS operated Stoney Point campground is a short distance down Highway 3 from the turnoff to the trailhead. The campground is adjacent to Trinity Lake. The Tannery Gulch campground is located a little further away but has excellent views of Red Mountain and Granite Peak from across Trinity Lake. Camping is allowed at the trailhead but there is no water or facilities. Red Mountain Meadows provides a great place for a base camp from which to climb Red Mountain, Granite Peak and Middle Peak. Water is available there most of the year from a few pools in the meadow and from seasonal creeks. Van Matre Meadows also makes a great basecamp, but one has the added climb back up to Stonewall Pass before climbing the peaks.