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 watchers.
Trinity Lake formed in about 1961 when the Trinity River dam was completed. Nearby Trinity Center was moved from what is now lake bottom to its present location along Highway 3. The lake offers small and large mouth bass, Rainbow and Brown trout, Kokanee and Coho salmon as well as white channel catfish. Some years back a nearly 9–pound small mouth bass caught in the lake set the record for California.
There are several pairs of breeding bald headed eagles and osprey that make their home nests in tall trees along the lakeshores. Several large gaggles of geese have their breeding grounds along the shores at the north end.
Thanks to 5 MPH zones in various coves, fishermen and nature watchers can easily share the lake with water skiers. Two nearby marinas offer fishing and patio boat rentals so you can enjoy swimming or sight seeing for a day on the lake.