July 7, 2020

Fastpacking to Big Blue Lake, Russian Wilderness (NorCal)

What a fantastic trip!

The Russian Wilderness is tucked away in NorCal between Marble Mountains and the Trinity Alps. It’s been on my list for a while now and with Friday off it was the perfect time to give it a visit.

I did some research and found a post about a loop to Big Blue Lake, a rugged high mountain lake nestled between granite crags with no direct trail access – my type of place.

I started at Taylor Lake TH, heading west counterclockwise to Hogan lake where the established trail ends. After snapping a few pics, Tucker and I began trekking off trail around the lake then ascending the steep rocky face up to Big Blue Lake.

We paralleled the drainage stopping a few times to appreciate the water running over slabs of granite. Reaching Big Blue I took a dip in the pristine (and cold) waters then setup camp, made some grub, and enjoyed the views.

After a lazy morning we worked our way up the steep eastern side of the lake, over the top and down into Upper Albert lake, then further down to Albert Lake. At this point we were reconnected with the trail system which took us to Paynes lake, then around the ridge and back to Taylor lake from the day before.

All in it was about a 10 mile trek, five miles from either side of the Big Blue, and 2,700 feet of vert. I’ll be back to this lake for sure!