The Telephone Lake trail northwest from the PCT is not hard to follow, once you've found it. A cairn in the edge of the meadow and blazed trees mark where it turns west to zigzag up the hill away from the meadow. Look for blazes on large foxtail pines at the upper edge of a small meadow higher up the hill, and they will lead you to the crest of the divide .25 mile above the PCT. West of the crest the trail drops very steeply to a heavily grazed meadow, then turns more northwestward to descend steeply again not far from the little stream that drains the meadow.
As you come out on top of a low ridge running north and south .4 mile from the crest, look for the lake off to the east. Telephone Lake is an irregularly shaped, 3.5 acre pothole lake with no outlet and no permanent inlet. The water level fluctuates 3-4 feet during the summer. A little bay at the north end, separated from the rest of the lake, gets warm enough for good swimming by late summer, and large rainbow trout rise occasionally.
Just beyond the Telephone Lake junction, the PCT passes a junction with a trail heading down to Eagle Creek and then descends around the southeast side of Eagle Peak, mostly in thick fir forest. A fair-sized creek flows across the trail in a mass of alders .5 mile from the junction. No cattle graze on this hillside, and the stream may look good enough to drink, but just beyond it a fine spring that looks even better flows from an iron pipe just above the trail. A fair campsite is below the trail beyond the spring, where a miner's cabin once stood.
Another spring, a quarter mile farther on, is piped through a piece of old, riveted, sheet-iron mining pipe. You climb a little from this spring to a very obvious trail junction, where the old trail, signed "Bloody Run Trail, Eagle Peak Divide," turns left away from the PCT down to the divide at the head of Eagle Creek. A major trail crossing with signs is 100 yards down this old trail from the PCT. Trail 7WO5 down Eagle Creek turns left (east), and Wolford Cabin and Granite Creek are to the right (west).
The PCT continues making an ascending traverse along the south ridge of Eagle Peak to an open saddle on the top of the divide. A small rock knob east of the saddle presents a perfect opportunity to quickly climb to its summit and take in the magnificent views, north down the West Boulder Creek drainage, south across to the central Trinity Alps peaks, and west to Lassen Peak. For the more adventurous, it is possible to make the 475-foot climb, through low open brush, up the ridge to the top of Eagle Peak, where the views are even better.
A short descent culminates at another saddle on the ridgetop above the West Boulder Creek canyon. Campsites and water are available down in the pastoral canyon, but since there are no trails you will have to go cross-country to get there and back. Another mountainside traverse, beginning in open vegetation, then entering fir forest, crosses a lush creek and comes to the trail junction to Mavis Lake and Wolford Cabin in yet another saddle along the top of the ridge, 1.2 miles from the previous saddle.
The PCT contours around another unnamed peak, breaks out of the forest briefly into manzanita as the trail rounds a spur ridge, and then makes a long descending traverse to a three-channeled tributary branch of Granite Creek, 1.7 miles from the Mavis Lake/Wolford Cabin trail junction. Then 1.2 miles of traverse take you around another ridge and over to an open saddle where you encounter the junction for the trail down Saloon Creek to the North Fork Coffee Creek trail.
The PCT crosses over the crest to the north side of the Scott Divide, heading downhill and following an old roadbed as you bid farewell to the last of the views toward the central Trinity Alps peaks. In .2 mile you reach a junction with the Noland Gulch trail, where the old roadbed continues on toward the site of the abandoned Loftus Mine, as your trail, the newer, better-defined, PCT trends slightly uphill through the head of a meadow basin strewn with wildflowers and rimmed with rock cliffs. Cresting a ridge, you begin to round the head of the next basin and descend to the crossing of the east branch of the South Fork Scott River, 1.1 miles from the junction with the trail to Noland Gulch. A spring just a short distance upstream, gives birth to this lovely watercourse, which should be a reliable source of water for the thirsty hiker.
From the crossing you descend along and then away from the water .8 mile to a trail junction in a lush green meadow filled with wildflowers. To the right (north) is the trail to South Fork Meadows and to the left (south) is the trail to the two South Fork Lakes.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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