Taylor Lake is the most accessible lake in the Russian Wilderness. Camping, fishing, swimming, and picnicking await at the end of the level 0.3 mile hiking trail. This makes Taylor Lake perfect small kids or hikers with physical limitations; nearly everyone can enjoy the beautiful waters, the forest, and the surrounding granite peaks.
Taylor Lake Trail Key Data
Distance: 0.6 mile roundtrip
Type: Day hike or Overnight
Elevation gain: 50 feet
High point: 6492 feet
Season: mid-June through October; earlier in low-snow years
Contact: Klamath National Forest, Salmon/Scott River Ranger District
Maps: USGS Eaton Peak, USFS Marble Mountain Wilderness & Russian Wilderness
Trailhead GPS coordinates: N 41 22.067 W 122 58.477
Notes: Dogs allowed. The trail is wheelchair accessible,. Toilet at trailhead. Very popular.
Taylor Lake Trailhead Directions
Drive CA Highway 3 to the Etna turnoff, which is 26.5 miles from the junction of Highway 3 and I-5 in Yreka and 12.7 miles from Callahan. Drive a half mile down Collier Way, turn right on Main Street, and then drive 10.5 curvy and paved miles on Sawyer’s Bar Road to Etna Summit. Continue downhill 0.3 mile and turn left onto the paved access road (Forest Road 41N18) that travels another 2.4 miles to the trailhead.
Hiking the Taylor Lake Trail
The trail begins between two cedars and quickly crosses the Russian Wilderness boundary. As you progress on the slight incline on the wide and shaded trail, note that the forest also includes ample firs and pines. Reach the north shore of Taylor Lake at 0.3 mile.
Camping at Taylor Lake
If you backpack in everything you need for overnight camping, you’ll find several good camping sites near the north shore in the region where the trail meets the lake. If you plan on a campfire, you’ll need a California campfire permit.
Fishing at Taylor Lake
Eastern brook trout are the best bet. Note that a lot of people fish here, so don’t get your expectations too high.
Hiking from Taylor Lake to Smith Lake
A trail fork awaits at the north shore. You can go left and hike along the east side of Taylor Lake; about halfway along you’ll come to a steep trail rising east to the ridge, where it meets the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) allowing you to head north to visit beautiful Smith Lake, a Klamath National Forest gem.
Hiking from Taylor Lake to Hogan Lake and Big Blue Lake
If you take the right fork, it’s another 3.0 miles and nearly 1500 feet of roundtrip elevation gain to visit Hogan Lake (and have the chance to hike cross-country to Big Blue Lake). This route is Hike 82 in my book Day Hiking: Mount Shasta, Lassen & Trinity Alps Regions, and it’s also described in Hike 53 of my 100 Classic Hikes: Northern California.
My Other Russian Wilderness Hiking Trail Posts
Find my full trail descriptions:
Also find several other Russian Wilderness hiking/backpacking/trail posts here.
Questions or Comments?