This page was created by Trinityalpsman
who has since passed away. It is currently being maintained as he created it.
***Original content by Trinityalpsman
The huge peak to the north of Canyon Creek Boulder Lake is 8964 foot Mt Hilton, a little higher than Sawtooth Peak that you see across the canyon to the east. Speculation has it the mountain was named for James Hilton, author of Lost Horizon, who compared the town of Weaverville to Shangri La, "that strange and wonderful somewhere which is not a place, but a state of mind." Hilton, only 38 feet lower than Thompson Peak, and only two feet lower than Mount Caesar, is the 3rd highest peak in the Alps, and makes a worthwhile and rewarding climb. There's a metal ammunition box with a summit register left there by a Boy Scout troop from Oregon. The view does not disappoint and there's that wonderful sun-warmed lake waiting for your hot tired body when you return from the top. The water is so clear you might wade up to your knees before realizing you've broken the surface.
Views from mountain tops, and Mt. Hilton is no exception, combine immensity, openness, silence, and timelessness to put the rest of the world into its proper place.
It’s a fairly easy climb from Canyon Creek Boulder Lake. Head for the skyline rocks that look like a castle wall to the east of the summit.
As with most peak experiences, you come quite suddenly and unexpectedly to the top. After hours of short oxygen-starved steps, sweat stung eyes focused on the ground, lactic acid turning muscles to mush, you find yourself standing on the granite edge of time. The world falls away from beneath your feet in all directions on an inassimilable scale, deep, silent, distant, and timeless.
Looking back down the route, you’ll see the irregular blue eyes of the CC Boulder Lakes lying on their back gazing quietly at the sky. The sky is a great blue cup inverted overhead, its apex directly over Mt. Hilton, its rim just touching the distant, miniscule horizon. A faint breeze born out of infinity bears the distant sound of falling water.
Gaze in all magnificent directions; there’s Thompson Peak, Mt. Caesar, Sawtooth Peak, Gibson Peak, Monument Peak, Weaver Bally in the foreground, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, Shasta Bally, the Sacramento Valley, Bully Choop, Black Rock, South Fork Mountain in the distance. It is a solid immensity, a feeling of penetrating openness. Infinitesimal perspective.
Turn west on highway 299 at Redding, CA and drive an hour or so to Weaverville. Another 8 miles west of Weaverville, turn north on Canyon Creek Road (it's an easy turn to miss, so pay attention) to the end of the road in 13 miles and the trailhead. Head on up the trail about six miles until you come to the marked trail left for Canyon Creek Boulder Lakes. It's a couple of side hill rocky miles to the first lake. From here you put one foot in front of the other and pick your way to the summit.
If you plan to spend the night you'll need a wilderness permit for the USFS.
Ripstein USFS Campground is free, a mile before the trailhead. Plenty of campsites at the Canyon Creek Lakes. Not much firewood, however. But if you're are still building fires in wilderness areas maybe you don't belong here.