Backpacking Stoney Ridge Trail in Trinity Alps Wilderness

We spent the weekend hiking the Stoney Ridge Trail in the Red Trinities. As expected, there was still plenty of snow. Sure it’s a drought year, but May 3rd is pretty damn early to be in the mountains. It made the trip more of an adventure.

After the first major climb, we planned on a series of passes on our way to and around the famed four lakes loop. On the third pass, with multiple more planned that day, we decided to skip out on the opportunity for more steep snow and drink whiskey by a fire instead.

Unsettled weather was forecasted on Sunday and it played out pretty much how expected it would. Low clouds made navigating the steep snow fields back over the passes interesting, but thankfully the fresh precipitation was barely a flurry. The limited visibility, and trail over snow in trail runners, made navigation one of the most fun parts of the hike.

It was a great weekend and nice to get out on a hard hike so early in the “summer” backpacking season. It reminded me of visiting Boundary Lake in Yosemite early last summer.

We cooked steak, potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, green beans, mushrooms and parsley on the fire.

We cooked steak, potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, green beans, mushrooms and parsley on the fire.

Climbing the north side of Stonewall Pass.

Climbing the north side of Stonewall Pass.


  1. Anonymous

    You go on amazing adventures. How did you learn to navigate accurately in difficult conditions?

    • Jack Haskel


      I’ve been learning about and practicing navigation since childhood really. A whole lot of my skill just comes from real-world experience. Boy Scouts, especially orienteering merit badge was an early boost. I then taught navigation in scouts, in my high school outdoor program and again in my college outdoor program. My time as a guide in the trail-less juniper forests of Nevada and Utah, teaching other guides, was also a great learning experience. Teaching, combined with challenging person trips, has been my course.

      If you’re looking to learn, I highly recommend building in-person experience via other knowledgeable people. Find experienced partners. Perhaps join an orienteering club. And take a paid class, those are good too.

    • Jack Haskel

      Hi Mike,

      I generally prefer to share only general indications of where I went so that people are forced to do some research (and hopefully don’t recreate my exact trip.) There’s plenty of detail in this post to find out where I was.

      Have a great adventure,

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