The Old Ski Bowl is one of the best drive-to vistas around. Not only does it have a great perspective on Mount Shasta and many of its landmarks but the view of the surrounding North State are tremendous. The entire Trinity Divide, the Sacramento River Canyon, Trinity Alps, the McCloud Range and the southern end of the Cascade Range around Lassen Peak are all unfolded below the vista like a giant map. Many of the landmarks are easy to distinguish and identify. However, beyond recognizing the entirety of the Trinity Alps on the horizon, it may be a challenge to name each of the summits visible.
It is the purpose of this article to provide a locator in order to put a name with a peak in the Trinity Alps. However, I think it will be interesting to take things a step further and look at them up close as well, to put a face to the name, so to speak. Looking at mountains from a great distance away looses many of their distinctives and it is hard to appreciate them individually. I hope that this different approach inspires some interest in these awesome mountains and adds color and perspective to the amazing view from the Old Ski Bowl.
The approach will be to work through the peaks identified in the locator, moving from left to right. A larger image will be followed by some brief commentary on the peak.
1. Monument Peak
Granite spires of Monument Peak.
This is one of the southernmost peaks in the Trinity Alps. Just a few miles north of Weaverville, it is a large, isolated jumble of granite spire. In some ways it resembles the Castle Crags, but it is not set apart from the range quite like the Crags. In truth, it is part of the larger Canyon Creek area of the Trinities. It harbors a few spectacular lakes amidst its towers.
Looking down on Upper Rush Creek Lake on Monument Peak.
2. Granite Peak
Granite Peak from the climb above Red Mountain Meadow.
At over 8,000 feet, Granite Peak is amongst the higher peaks in the Trinity Alps. It is one of a trio of peaks, along with Middle Peak and Red Mountain that form the southeast rampart of the Trinity Alps. Unlike all its neighboring peaks, it is composed of granite (obviously), making it a bit of an outlier in this extremely complex area.
3. Middle Peak
Middle Peak from a tarn near Echo Lake.
Middle Peak is not particularly prominent, but it is an incredibly beautiful mountain. The best perspectives are from Echo Lake and from Red Mountain. From these angles, the mountain is revealed to be rugged in nature, with lots of cliffs and towers around it. Of the high peaks over 8,000 feet in the Trinity Alps, this may be the least appreciated.
Middle Peak from Red Mountain.
4. Red Mountain
Red Mountain presents a striking profile.
Red Mountain is a magnificent chunk peridotite. Rising to a sharp point and a southern face that falls away steeply, it is a remarkable guardian of the Trinity Alps southeastern corner. Perhaps the most attractive angle to view the peak from is to the north, from the far side of Van Matre Meadow. Here the red cliffs are laid bare and the mountain holds court regally above the lush amphitheater. Explorers will enjoy finding the small lake hidden amongst these cliffs.
Red Mountain above Van Matre Meadows.
5. Echo Twins
The Echo Twins from Van Matre Meadows.
These peaks do not have an official name but their geminate likeness is striking, weather viewing them up close or from Mount Shasta. They also have the enviable position above Echo, Anna and Billy-Be-Damned Lakes. Their setting could not be more beautiful. They are particularly close to Echo Lake, which lends them their unofficial name.
6. Temple Peak
Temple Peak towers above Siligo Meadow.
While this peak is also unofficially named I have seen literature dating back 60 years refer to it by the name of Temple Peak. It is a strikingly rugged peak, especially when contrasted against the lush alpine landscape of Siligo Meadow. Anna and Billy-Be-Damned Lakes like on the east side of the tower.
7. Gibson Peak
The mighty walls of Gibson Peak rise above Siligo Meadow.
Gibson Peak is the highest peak in the Trinity Alps that is not part of the cluster of granite peaks that is focused around the Canyon Creek/Caribou Lakes area. Climbing over 8,500 feet, it is one of the tallest peaks in the North State. There are only 7 peaks in the entire Klamath Mountains range that are taller. It is surrounded by stunning scenery on all sides, including the Four Lakes Loop area, Long Canyon, Siligo Meadow and the Granite Lake Basin. This is really one of the great peaks of Northern California but it always seems to go unnoticed unless standing right below it.
8. Siligo Peak
Siligo Peak gazes down on Deer Lake and the Deer Creek Canyon.
Siligo Peak ranks among the most beautiful in the Trinity Alps (and therefore the entire North State). It is the focal point of the incredible Four Lakes Loop, a loop trail that connects the four lake basins that lie below the summit. It is one of the most scenic trails around. It is remarkable how distinctly different each of the four lakes are, despite being situated around the same mountain.
9. Dolomite Ridge
Dolomite Ridge is a striking contrast to lush Deer Creek Meadow.
Another peak with no official name, I have also seen this cluster of peaks referred to by an unofficial name. Regardless of what its moniker is, it is a momentous wall of granite, especially when seen from the vast meadow that is found along Deer Creek. The sheer wall looms almost 1,700 feet above the grassy valley. It is an idyllic setting.
10. Seven Up Peak
Seven Up Peak (left) above Luella Lake.
Seven Up Peak is evidence of the complex geology that makes up the southeast corner of the Trinity Alps. A massive mound of peridotite, the peak is slammed up against Dolomite Ridge, the two distinct rock formations have been welded together by terrific geologic forces. The peak is a beautiful presence above Deer Creek and a fascinating loop trail of its own encircles the peak.
I hope that this little tour of a magnificent corner of the Trinity Alps has been helpful in illuminating how amazing these mountains are and how amazing the view from the Old Ski Bowl is. We are blessed to be surrounded by this staggering landscape!