Gumboot Lake is a well-known body of water that’s been enjoyed and written about many times. Many people don’t know there’s another cool little lake just over the ridge.
Gumboot Lake gets all the press and attention because it’s beautiful and easily accessible by road. Upper Gumboot tends to get dismissed because it’s much smaller and is accessible only by trail.
Last Wednesday after work, I decided to check it out for myself.
There’s no official trail that connects the two lakes, so I wanted to be pretty sure of my direction before wandering into the woods. By studying a topographic map, I could see that Upper Gumboot would be located to my right side if I was at the lake exit. When I arrived at Gumboot Lake, I walked over and stood on the stone dam, facing the lake. By raising my right arm, I could tell the direction I had to walk.
I headed up the slope and quickly found a trail without any problem. Continuing up the hill, I came upon a field of California pitcher plants. I peeked inside one to see if I could see any trapped insects, but they all seemed dried out.
Tom Stienstra, one of my favorite outdoors writers, described Upper Gumboot as “a pond with small trout”. When the lake came into view, I was really surprised because it was much bigger and prettier than what I imagined it to be.
I walked around the lake and found the exit point on the east side of the lake, but there was no water flowing out because the water level was too low. I continued around the lake and found a primitive campsite. Beyond that, I found the water source for the lake, which was a small spring.
At the spring, I encountered a Pacific Crest Trail hiker who was filling up. He said the PCT was just up the ridge, and he expressed his frustration with the maps and signs in the area, which he said were sometimes unhelpful. He said his best source of information was his topographic map.
Overall, I think Upper Gumboot Lake is a worthwhile place to visit, especially if you’re looking for a spot more isolated than lower Gumboot.
Panorama of Upper Gumboot Lake:
Upper Gumboot Lake Quick Facts:
Lake Size: 3.5 acres, mostly 8″ deep or less
Elevation: 6,350″ (300 ft higher than Gumboot Lake)
Facilities: No toilets, and only 1 primitive campsite, which is free.
Access: 10 minute hike from Gumboot. The forest service says the lake can be accessed by jeep.
Shasta-Trinity National Forest Site: