Coffee Creek is the northernmost community in Trinity County, and
was a very rich mining center during the Great Gold Rush. Legend has
it that a pack train loaded with coffee for the gold fields was washed
away in a torrential flood, hence the name "Coffee Creek." Others
contend that the normally crystal clear waters were colored a deep
rich coffee color by the spring runoff. Either way, today Coffee Creek
is a community in a spectacular mountain setting. You can get a meal
here, and a tank of gas for the 39-mile trip over Scotts Mountain
toward Interstate 5.
Coffee Creek village is the gateway to the Trinity Alps wilderness
area. In the late 1800’s when gold rush fever struck
and the Wintu Indians had essentially vanished, this area was a temporary
home to more than 1,000 gold miners. As a young engineer, Herbert
Hoover stayed in Coffee Creek at the Carrville Inn, a stagecoach–baiting
stop along the California–Oregon trail.
Twenty miles up Coffee Creek Road at Big Flat Meadow, a settlement
of about 1,500 gold miners and support people lived in a tent city.
The tales of several–pound gold nuggets are just part of the story
lore that locals continue to pass along. Every year, people still
spend time in the streams sluicing and panning for gold. If anyone
has made a significant find he or she is keeping very quiet.
In more modern times, hikers, fishermen, and hunters travel into
the wilderness area to visit many of the more than 450 Alpine lakes.
Many of the lakes are stocked with Brookies and, some say, Golden
trout. Coffee Creek flows out of the Alps and is home to Rainbows,
Brookies, and Brown trout. Deer, mountain lion, and bear are common
inhabitants. The Coffee Creek area offers a great variety for bird