This trail, like the Devils Kitchen and Boiling Springs Lake Trails, begin by following the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) southward from the Drakesbad Trailhead. This trail leads two and a half miles across and out of the Hot Springs Creek drainage to a small lake. This lake is fed mainly by snow melt. If you visit it late in summer expect a small body of water. The Drake Lake Trail can be used in conjunction with the Devils Kitchen Trail and Boiling Springs Lake Trail to form a nine mile loop through the Drakesbad area.
Begin your hike by walking southward along the PCT. Within the first ten minutes you'll cross Hot Springs Creek and begin ascending out of the valley. A short distance further on the trail is a junction. The trail to Devils Kitchen leads to the right at this junction. Follow the left side of the fork and turn right at the next junction, which is just a few steps away.
Walk southward along this route. It climbs 80 feet then turns westward and crosses two small creeks which feed into Hot Springs Creek. The trail levels for three quarters of a mile leading above several springs and a generally wet area.
Beyond this level stretch your climb begins. The trail turns southward again climbing moderately at first. You'll leave the forest where the switchbacks begin in earnest. Seven sets of switchbacks, along an exposed trail, bring you to a more moderate gradient at approximately 6,400 feet. Once you've ascended the ridge the lake is less than a half mile away. Walk through a thickly forested area which brings you to the lakes northern shore. The trail continues south of the lake along the western flanks of Sifford Mountain. It ends at a trail junction on the banks of the North Arm Rice Creek in the Lassen National Forest.
Directions: From Chester, Drive westward on Chester Valley Road approximately five miles to Warner Valley Road (County Road 312). Turn right toward Drakesbad and Warner Valley and follow Warner Valley Road 12 miles to the Pacific Crest Trailhead. This road changes to dirt a few miles before reaching the trailhead. It is not recommended for RVs or trailers.
Elevation: 5,600 feet
Ending Elevation: 6,510 feet
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