Russian Wilderness Lake Table

Lake

Elevation
(feet)

Size
(acre)

Depth
(feet)


Camp Use Level

Trailhead
Access

Miles
To Hike

Difficulty
(hiker)

Alberts

6900

2.6

15

Moderate

Etna Summit
Paynes Lake

3.4

2.5

Moderate

Difficult

Big Blue

6800

17

96

Moderate

No trail

   

Big Duck

6400

25.8

27

Moderate

Duck/Eaton

4

Moderate

Bingham

7050

8.5

55

High

Bingham Lake

2.5

Difficult

Eaton

6600

11

27

Moderate

Duck/Eaton

4.5

Difficult

Golden Russian

6800

1.5

8

Low

No trail

   

High

7300

4.6

55

Low

No trail

   

Hogan

5950

7.4

26

High

Taylor Lake

3.3

Mod. to Diff.

Horse Range

6600

2.5

5

Moderate

No trail

   

Horseshoe

6400

6.1

21

Moderate

Duck/Eaton

4

Moderate

Josephine

7350

1-4

7-16

Moderate

No trail

   

Lipstick

6350

1.25

9

Moderate

Duck/Eaton
Music Creek

4
3.5

Difficult
Moderate

Little Duck

6700

5.2

18

Moderate

Duck/Eaton

4.5

Difficult

Lower Russian

6500

2

12

Low

Deacon Lee

 3.8  Moderate

Paynes

6450

16.7

50+

High

Etna Summit
Paynes Lake
Music Creek

3

2

4.5

Moderate

Difficult

Moderate

Russian

7100

5

72

High

Deacon Lee
South Russian

4
4.8

Moderate

Mod. to Difficult

Smith

6950

5.9

56

Moderate

Etna Summit

1.4

Moderate

South Sugar

6850

3.5

 

Moderate

Non-maint. trail

   

Statue

7200

.7

15

Moderate

No trail

   

Sugar

5850

2.5

6

Moderate

Non-maint. trail

   

Siphon

7250

1.7

22

High

South Russian
Deacon Lee

4.1
4.8

Moderate

Mod. to Difficult

Taylor

6500

12

35

Very High

Taylor Lake

.5

Easy

Upper Albert

7150

1.8

15

Moderate

Paynes Lake

 2.7 Difficult 

Upper Ruffy

6400

2.5

8

High

Etna Summit

2.5

Moderate

Waterdog

7000

3.5

16

High

 

Deacon Lee
South Russian

3.3

5.4

Moderate

Moderate



 



 

Russian Wilderness
 


The United States Congress designated the Russian Wilderness in 1984 and it now has a total of 12,000 acres. All of the wilderness is in California and is managed by the Forest Service.

Description

Russian Wilderness sits astride a major ridge dividing the Scott River and Salmon River drainages with steep slopes and broad, U-shaped glacial valleys surrounded by granite peaks.

You'll find 22 named lakes, most of them set like jewels in cirques high in the valleys and drained by streams. Lakes and streams contain rainbow, brook, and brown trout.

A diverse array of plants can be found here, including 17 species of conifers--probably more than anywhere else in the world.

The forests are laced with meadows, and rocky pinnacles and bluffs rise in numerous locations. Wildlife species include bountiful populations of deer and bears.

Elevations range from 4,800 feet to Russian Peak's 8,200 feet.

An extensive trail system generally crosses steep and rocky ground, difficult going for stock animals. Stock forage is limited in most of the lakeside campsites.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs the entire length of the area north-south for about 17 miles, but stays high with few campsites and snow until late in the season.

Despite its steep three miles, the Paynes Lake Trail to 17-acre, 50-feet-deep Paynes Lake is the most popular of the Wilderness pathways. Overall, human use is light.

Deacon Lee Trailhead


Elevation: 6850 foot elevation
Location: R10W T39 S8


Waterdog Lake - For description of lake see South Russian Trailhead. Because this lake is easily accessed it receives very heavy use.

Russian Lake - For description of lake see South Russian Trailhead.

Siphon Lake - Hike ¾ of a mile beyond the turnoff to Waterdog Lake to reach Siphon Lake. For description of lake see Etna Summit - PCT Trailhead

Duck/Eaton Trailhead  South Russian Trailhead



Elevation: 4650 foot elevation
Location: R10W T40 S22


South Russian Creek - Good day hike. The first two miles of this trail are fairly level and alternate between old-growth trees and lush meadows.

Waterdog Lake - Waterdog Lake has brook and rainbow trout.
There are limited campspots at the lake. This trail is steep and difficult in places

Russian Lake - The deep blue water of Russian Lake contains rainbow trout. There are limited campspots at the lake. From the upper end of Waterdog Lake, it is a ¼ mile hike to Russian Lake.

Taylor Lake Trailhead



Elevation: 6400 foot elevation
Location: R10W T41 S26


Taylor Lake - The trail to the lake is an easy walk! It has been designed to accommodate families with young children, elderly less-mobile visitors, and physically challenged of all ages.

Wheelchairs are permitted in the wilderness; those with wider tires are recommended as the trail surface is packed earth and the gradient is 1% to 2%. Taylor Lake is heavily used. Fishing for eastern brook trout is best early and late in the season.

Hogan Lake - This rectangular lake has rainbow and eastern brook trout. There are some camp spots at the lake.

Follow the trail at the upper end of Taylor Lake up and over the ridge down across Hogan Creek. Follow the faint trail up the drainage to the lake.
The trail can be difficult to follow in the meadow areas.

Lipstick Lake - Follow the signed trail along the roadbed past Horse Range Creek. Look for the Lipstick Lake Trail sign.
For description of lake and trail end see Music Creek Trailhead.

Big Duck Lake - Big Duck contains both eastern brook and rainbow trout. There are campspots at the lake. The trail to the lake is fairly steep.

Little Duck Lake - This lake contains eastern brook trout. The last ½ mile of the trail can be obscure.

Eaton Lake - There are rainbow trout in the lake. The trail to this private lake can be hard to follow and very steep. A smaller lake lies above Eaton Lake. This trail is not recommended for stock.

Horseshoe Lake - Both rainbow and brook trout to can be found in Horseshoe Lake.

Elevation: 4800 foot elevation
Location: R9W T40 S7


NOTE: Many of these trails follow abandoned roads that were in use before the wilderness was congressionally designated in 1984.

Bingham Trailhead


-------------------
Elevation: 7600 foot elevation
Location: R9W T40 S31

Bingham Lake contains rainbow trout. This lake is very popular and receives heavy use. It is not advisable to take livestock down to the lake.

Access to Trailheads

· From I-5, take the South Yreka/Highway 3 exit. Follow Highway 3 to Etna.
· For trailhead access to Etna Summit, South Russian, Music Creek and Taylor Lake follow Sawyers Bar Road from Etna.
· For Paynes Lake and Duck/Eaton follow Highway 3 south, turn off at French Creek Road.
· For Bingham Lake and Deacon Lee follow Highway 3 to Callahan, turn right at Cecilville Road.

Facilities at Trailheads
Parking and turnaround space is available at the trailheads. Taylor Lake Trailhead space is limited. There is no water available at any of the trailheads. Please pack out all trash

Summit - PCT Trailhead



Elevation: 5960 foot elevation
Location: R10W T41 S21




 

Upper Ruffy Lake
- The lake is stocked
with Eastern brook trout, and is outside
the wilderness boundary.
 
 
 
 
 


 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Smith Lake - Eastern brook, rainbow and
brown trout have been caught in Smith Lake.
This lake is outside the wilderness boundary.
Camping spots are very limited.


 
 
Paynes Lake - You can usually find eastern brook and rainbow trout. Numerous campspots are available.

The trail follows the ridgeline and is a gradual climb to the lake.

This is the longest route into the lake, but is very scenic. Stockmen should be cautioned of narrow, bluffy areas and lingering snowbanks on the trail.

 

Albert and Upper Albert Lakes - The lake has brook trout. It is located 400 yards beyond Paynes Lake and is 500 ft. higher in elevation.

Siphon Lake - Syphon Lake is named for an old mining syphon at it's outlet. The lake contains rainbow trout. It is found near the intersection with the Deacon Lee Trail.

Music Creek Trailhead



Elevation: 6000 foot elevation
Location: R10W T40 S12


Lipstick Lake - Eastern brook trout can be found in tiny Lipstick Lake. Follow the trail past the PCT.
Then look for the Lipstick Lake Trail sign and hike another mile.

Paynes Lake - Find the intersection of this trail and the PCT, turn north and hike 1½ miles further to the lake.
For description of lake see Etna Summit - PCT Trailhead

Paynes Lake Trailhead



Elevation: 4400 foot elevation
Location: R9W T40 S6


Paynes Lake - This trail to Paynes Lake is steep. For description of lake see Etna Summit - PCT Trailhead.

Albert and Upper Albert Lakes - For description of lake see Etna Summit - PCT Trailhead.

Bingham Lake
Lower Ruffy Lake -  The lake is stocked with Eastern Brook trout
Russian Wilderness
Russian Peak
Hogan Lake
Big Blue Lake
Russian Peak
South Sugar Lake
Golden Russian Lake
Eaton Lake
Upper Eaton Lake
Little Duck Lake
Paynes Lake
Wicks Lake
Meeks Meadow Lake
Twin Lakes
High Lake
Pacific
Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

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