Wander Your Watershed
What HABs Don't Want You to Know About Red Lake
By Debbi Waldear, Friends of Hope Valley President
Red Lake tends to stay in Alpine County’s current news due to its battles with the above mentioned harmful algal blooms, but that’s not all Red Lake has to offer. When not experiencing a bloom, Red Lake is a beautiful place to visit, and wildlife is abundant in the area. Busy beavers have moved into both the inlet and outlet. Bears enjoy the Lahontan cutthroat trout in the lake. There’s a bald eagle nest adjacent to the lake, and one seldom visits the area without seeing an osprey or two. Red Lake is the backup broodstock source of Lahontan cutthroat trout (if California Department of Fish and Wildlife can’t collect from Heenan Lake). The trout make it popular with anglers as well.
At the end of the parking area, just beyond the interpretive sign, there’s a great walk up the old highway. The overgrown roads afford great views of the surrounding area. Several springs cross the road creating bog areas with a wonderful variety of wildflowers. Approaching the top of the road you cross the Emigrant Trail. Before turning left to follow the Emigrant Trail, look down at the steep slope to view where the emigrants climbed up. It was quite a heroic feat to get the wagons and animals up the hillside. Follow the old trail up to the Odd Fellows rock, a resting point after the struggle up from Red Lake. A group of Odd Fellows signed their names on the rock in 1849. The old road continues on up to Carson Pass.