Picayune to Porcupine Lake via PCT

Trail Highlights

LocationTrinity Divide
Length12 miles (round trip)
Elevation gain / max1,300′ / 7,300′
When to goJune – Oct
Other restrictionsNo bikes (PCT)

This walk along the Pacific Crest Trail features exhilarating views of major northern California landmarks ranging from Lassen Peak to Mount Shasta to Mount Eddy to the Trinity Alps and other Klamath Mountain ranges. You’ll also visit Porcupine Lake, pass by meadows and springs, and walk near the head of a glacial cirque with an amazing display of wildflowers.

Trail Map

Other Maps

Printable CalTopo PDF


Trail Details

Follow the below directions to the trailhead, an unsigned intersection with the PCT at Picayune Summit. Follow the trail north, looking north to Mount Eddy and west down to Picayune Lake.

Continue straight and climb, soon reaching a series of spring-fed and flower-festooned meadows that stretch west down the mountainside (one spring flows year-round). The PCT returns to the east side of the crest and walks by more meadows and a thick red fir forest, then enters open country with an expansive vista southeast to Lassen Peak and its neighboring volcanoes.

Reach a trail fork at 5 miles and go left, leaving the Pacific Crest Trail for a brief climb to Porcupine Lake. Surrounded by the high rock walls of its glacial cirque, this beautiful lake has deep, clear waters for swimming and several campsites near the eastern shore.  If you see Toad Lake, you have gone beyond the turnoff to Porcupine; the view of Toad is a worthwhile extension to your day hike.

Controlling Agency:

Mount Shasta Ranger Station
Shasta-Trinity National Forest
204 West Alma, Mount Shasta, CA 96067
(530) 926-4511 http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/shastatrinity

Directions to Trailhead

From I-5, take the Central Mount Shasta / Lake St exit, and head west to the intersection with N. Old Stage road, home to the Mt Shasta Fish Hatchery.

Directions to Picayune Summit from the Hatchery:

Miles from startDirection
Start (0.0 mi)Head southeast on S Old Stage Rd toward Lake Siskiyou
Mile 0.3Slight right onto W A Barr Rd, continue 5.2 mi
Mile 5.5W A Barr Rd becomes Forest Rte 26, continue 9.4 mi
Mile 14.9At FR 40N37, slight right to stay on FR 26 for 1.4 mi
Mile 16.3Turn right onto 40N45, continue 0.7 mi
Mile 17.0Picayune Summit (PCT) (No signs)

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