Siphon Lake

Location: North Central California
Trip Starts: USFS 39N48, Carter Meadows Summit
Trip Ends: USFS 39N48, Carter Meadows Summit
Total Distance: 20 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trails Used: Pacific Crest Trail
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Type: Overnight or Multi-Day Hike
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Klamath National Forest
National Forest Service
1312 Fairlane Road
Yreka, CA 96097-9549
(530) 842-6131


The Klamath National Forest of northwest California offers backcountry solitude, clear streams and lakes, and includes five designated Wilderness Areas: Marble Mountain, Russian, Trinity Alps, Red Buttes, and Siskiyou. The 12,000 acre Russian Wilderness spans the major ridge dividing the Scott and Salmon River drainages. It contains 22 lakes, most set in glacial bowls surrounded by granite peaks. The area is of national botanical significance because of the great diversity of trees and other plant species, and it has an extensive trail system, including the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), that provides access to many high mountain lakes in the Russian Wilderness. During a summer trip in 1999, I hiked to Siphon Lake with The Joker, Mackie, and The Ox. We planned to do some trout fishing in the area but many of the lakes were still partially frozen. We ended up camping on a high ridge near the Pacific Crest Trail and spent three days exploring the area including a number of peaks and lakes.

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