The Gray Rock Lakes lie in the Trinity Divide Mountains just west of Mount Shasta. A moderately easy trail leads to Lower Gray Rock Lake, Upper Gray Rock Lake, and Timber Lake, which all see few hikers while offering good swimming and camping opportunities.
Gray Rock Lakes in the Trinity Divide Mountains
I love hiking the Trinity Divide Mountains. They’re just west of Mount Shasta in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and although they don’t boast the spectacular beauty of the high Sierra Nevada to the south or the Trinity Alps further west, they have rocky peaks and ridges and some sweet glacial lakes with clear and cool water for summer swimming.
My sweetie Stephanie and I just returned from a multi-day exploration of the Trinity Divide. For now I’ll focus on Gray Rock Lakes and Timber Lake.
Gray Rock Lakes Trail
The one main trail is accessible from an extremely bumpy dirt road that leaves just past the second bridge across the South Fork Sacramento River. We parked my Subaru Outback about a half-mile below the actual trailhead to avoid the worst of the punishment. The good news: the nasty road means few people come here.
The trail itself is a beauty, with initial views of Mount Shasta. It rises a bit and then drops to Lower Gray Rock Lake.
Lower Gray Rock Lake
Lower Gray Rock Lake shallow waters are the best and warmest for swimming in the entire basin. It’s not too shallow though — you’ll quickly reach water over your head. I like to swim from the north shore to the south shore and back.
Upper Gray Rock Lake
Upper Gray Rock Lake awaits a half-mile climb from the east shore of Lower Gray Rock Lake up a steep path. It’s smaller and more secluded than it’s lower sibling, and hardly anybody comes here. The water is a bit cooler, though still inviting, and it has large submerged rocks in the middle that you can stand on.
Timber Lake lies just east and below Upper Gray Rock Lake. We didn’t hike there this time, but on past visits I’ve swum out to a large log and sunned myself.