This trail begins approximately 600 feet north of the Summit Lake Ranger Station on Highway 89. It leads three and a half miles one-way from Highway 89 past Terrace Lake to joining the Paradise Meadows Trail at 7,925 feet. The destination of this trail Terrace,Shadow and Cliff Lakes can be reached from a very short trail, three miles round trip, which begins south of Upper Meadow on Highway 89. The advantage to using this longer, more difficult trail is that you'll find solitude en route to the three lakes. This trail can be used in conjunction with the Paradise Meadows Trail, Hat Creek Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Cluster Lakes Trail to create a long backpacking trip. If camping at the Summit Lake facilities the trailhead lies within walking distance from your campsite.
Begins the trail along Highway 89 and walk southwestward on this little used trail. The first half mile of the route climbs 110 feet on a very mild grade. Beyond this the terrain becomes somewhat steeper gaining 370 feet in the next three quarter miles. While climbing this grade the trail parallels a small stream. Shortly after the trail levels it crosses the stream and turns slightly northward to meet the outlet stream of Cliff Lake.
The trail remains north of the lake and a meadow area formed by this outlet stream. Almost one half mile after crossing the outlet from Cliff Lake the trail forks. The trail leading to the left (south) leads a quarter mile to Cliff Lake. The trail reaches 7,400 feet immediately before this junction.
Beyond the Cliff Lake trail junction the trail continues westward to Shadow Lake. It crosses a level area before climbing 160 feet to the next lake shore. The long ridge of Reading Peak, 8,701 feet, lies south of the trail and you'll be walking along its base when on the southern shores of Cliff, Shadow and Terrace Lakes.
Upon reaching the eastern shore of Shadow Lake, the trail circles the southern shore and begins climbing toward Terrace Lake. Within 500 feet you'll reach the southeastern shore of Terrace Lake. At this location and on the shores of Shadow Lake you'll see the most people as they are closest to the park road. Once on the shores of Terrace Lake you are only a half mile northeast of Highway 89.
Follow the trail westward a quarter mile to reach the Paradise Meadows Trail. From Terrace Lake to the trail junction the trail climbs 200 feet. This is the steepest part of the route. If you're not using this trail as part of a backpacking loop end your trip at Terrace Lake and avoid this steep uphill. Your return trip will be all downhill on a moderate grade.
Directions: From Southwest Entrance, Drive northward on Highway 89 past Summit Lake the the Summit Ranger Station, approximately 12 miles. Park in the ranger station lot and walk 500 feet north along Highway 89 to the trailhead on the western side of the road.
Elevation: 6,650 feet
Ending Elevation: 7,925 feet
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