How to get to my favorite hiking/boating spots:
Just past Meyer's Grade, a curve going up and away from Twin Bridges and Strawberry is a little private family camp facility on the out skirts of National Forest Land. Large road signs give you input on where you are... past the town of Apple Hill all the way to Meyers. Keep your eyes peeled!
Horsetail Falls and Pyramid Creek:
Horsetail Falls (not to be confused with the one in Yosemite is a dramatic waterfall leaving Desolation Wilderness and flowing under the freeway before it joins the South Fork of the American River. Just past the Twin Bridges Townnship sign, is a large and well kept parking lot ($5, 2011 prices) with large well maintained concrete outhouses. The upper reaches of Horsetail Falls and entering wilderness country can be exciting if you are prepared and dangerous bouldering if you are not. But you don't have to go all the way to the top to be up close and personal. Infact, only a 1/2 mile walk toward the water will allow you to visit the biggest parts of the falls as the decrease in steepness allows the water to spread out into a dramatic, wide whitewater slide. If you choose to go up, remember to leave yourself a trail, or follow someone else's, on the granite parts by leaving rock piles called cairns or duckies. Ask me if you are going in the off-season as some rules change with weather and time of year. This is a there-and-back-again hike so go as far in as you would like. It is almost impossible to get lost as the valley empties down and out across Highway 50. If you keep going down... you will eventually see the highway if not cross over it.
Pyramid Creek and Bryant Road and Mount Huckleberry
I have three secret hikes nearby here for people that would like that information, please let me know... I will tell you over the telephone or if I ever get a chance to type the specific markers for you or note the exact coordinates.
Strawberry Lodge is one of the oldest establishments in Northern California. Ask Mike or Robin for a brief tour of the historic lodge and rest stop for the Pony express. Stawberry Lodge was a trading post for hunters, trappers, and mountain men. It sits ideally under Lover's Leap and across from another beautiful hike for the agile adventurer not afraid of heights, called Sugarloaf. Kasey and I stop in Strawberry Lodge as an adventure tradition. For her and I, there is ice cream. You may be more interested in the bar!
Lover's Leap Campsite near Strawberry Lodge:
There is a campsite that climbers congregate to at the base of Lover's Leap. To find this.. go down the road on the back side of Strawberry Lodge. Just past the bridge, there is a T intersection with a white house with a steep roof line reminicscent of a church. Make that left turn and it will end in less than a mile at the campground. I have always called it Lover's Leap Climber's Campground... I don't know of the official name.
Lover's Leap Hike:
Park on the outside of Camp Sacramento. (There is also parking/camping on the north side of Highway 50) Walk into Camp Sacramento while smiling. As you enter the front guest parking area for the Main Lodge, pass it and go toward the side and front of the Lodge. It is quite ok for you to ask directions to the trailhead. There are signs to it, but other signs and the apprehension of feeling that you are trespassing can be overwhelming. If you are well behaved, the locals will more than welcome you and set your coarse and heading. From the start, it is a moderate 45 minute hike on a gravel trail to the top to dramatic vistas. Kasey did it when she was six and enjoyed every minute of it. We did it one year with a group of people to watch the Persied Meteor Showers on a new moon night hike!
Just past my favorite place to ski and snowboard, Sierra at Tahoe(Not coincidentally, also where I ski patrol), is a road called Johnson Pass. Make a left here before passing Little Norway and Echo Summit.
After making that left turn (North of Highway 50) make another left turn onto Atwood Road which will also be Echo Lake Road. Keep driving until you see the Echo Lake Chalet and marina. Boat rides are available here for about $10 on demand of three or more. They are a very friendly lot with kind hearts and peaceful tidings. This place is boating and swimming friendly so bring your floaty toys! http://www.echochalet.com/
Possibly the coolest and most tucked in little known lake is Lake Angora. Cliff Jumping, children swimming and splashing. SUP and kayaks and row boats available for rental. And the best lemonade stand in the world!
Drive past Echo Summit into South Lake Tahoe and at the "Y" of Hwy 89 (Emerald Bay Road) and Hwy 50 (drifting rightwards towards downtown South Lake Tahoe) is a sharp left turn onto Lake Tahoe Blvd. Travel on this road for a little over one mile passing the road on the left, called Sawmill Blvd. Make a well marked right turn onto Tahoe Mountain Road. It ends in a T intersection, make a quick right onto Glenmore Way Road and then a quick left onto Dundee Circle and another left onto Tahoe Mountain Road once more... These roads are either circular or without an outlet, so getting lost may happen... for about two minutes... but you will easily find yourself again. About 500 feet into the Tahoe Mountain Road is a small hidden left turn that is easily missed. (Turn on GPS unit here!) < plug in this longitude and latitude on www.maps.google.com 38.903625,-120.038295 > or continue until you see a Y in the road which leads to Fallen Leaf Road (Left to Fallen Leaf Marina, Right to Camp Richardson/South Lake Tahoe.) This Y intersection is about 700 feet away from the turn that you missed! The road is called Angora Ridge Road. It starts as a gravel track for about 500 feet complete with pot holes and rugged turnouts. Keep going! The road soon becomes well paved and climbs out of the forest and onto a ridge that separates Tahoe Basin to the left and Fallen Leaf to the right. If it is safe, stop and have a walk for a quick peek at the vistas. You will pass the historic Angora Fire Lookout Station. We use satellites now, so see earlier post to rent similar lookouts for star studded dramatic wilderness vistas. Keep going until you get to the large parking area of Angora Lake. It is $7 to park. (2011 prices). At the far end of the second parking lot is a small (Lower Angora) Lake and the trail head to your destination (Upper) Angora Lake. It is wide, sandy and about one mile with a few easily stepped parts. Welcome! and kick your feet up and chill in the wonderful gift of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Due to the sandy path, bikes and strollers are not optimal
Fallen Leaf Lake:
Just past Camp Richardson from South Lake Tahoe, is a well marked road to the left called Fallen Leaf Road. There is a large campground here as well as many trails leading onto the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake. The road is one lane. See the bottom of this posts for hints about driving on one lane roads. The road ends at a marina just after the volunteer fire station. The market and marina are perfect little places to chill and relax. I take Kasey crawdad fishing here! It is as easy as a small 1/4 slice of bacon, kite string and a rock. Google it or ask me via email. One year, a group of friends went kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding here during the Perseid Meteor Showers.
Wright's Lake is an idealic shallow and beautifully placed lake.
From Highway 50 pass Pollock Pines, Whitehall and Kyburz. The road is a well maked left turn onto Wright's Lake Road. Follow the road up to Wright's lake! Bring mosquito repellant, Kasey and I were attacked the last time! The loop trail and small waterfall should not be missed. Dark Lake and Beauty Lake are also great nearby destinations for you to walk to and enjoy.
Icehouse Reservoir and Union Valley Reservoir, Loon Lake
Past Pollack Pines is a very long and scenic road going up to Ice House and Union Valley Reservoir. Combined with Loon Lake and several smaller lakes and reservoirs, this area is home to many spring time waterfalls and wild flower hikes and meadows. Stay on paved and well maintained roads here unless you have a detailed map of the area. The ranger stations and visitors' centers offer a host of good insider information. also see http://www.waterfallswest.com/
Warranting it's own write-up, Bassi Falls is a very easy and incredibly beautiful waterfall to hike to. The way to get there is best described by pictures on my facebook photo album of the same name... feel free to friend me or google this information. (Terrain maps and regular maps are equally suggested as well as checking in with the ranger station.) The hidden turn off is immediately on the opposite side of Big Silver Campground. The last time I was here, there were about twenty tents set up. It would have been an ideal area for a first-time and or a family backpacking trip! You will really feel that you got away from the hustle and bustle of city life. When I lead a group here several years ago, several families brought children's umbrella strollers. There is another trail here that leads you to the top of Bassi Falls.
and this is my album of beautiful pictures in and around Sacramento
"Within 150 miles from home"
OK.. that's all for now... that should get you started... remember to time your hikes with constellations, migrations and berry picking for cobler...oh, and winetasting (Placerville and Gold Country).
Tips on driving on one lane roads:
Tail-gating and multiple cars make using turn-outs difficult. You will only get there twenty seconds before or after the next car... so turnout and enjoy the journey without the destination getting in the way. Give a lot of space when following other cars. Traffic going uphill have the right of way (therefore Downhill traffic should yeild) as vehicles going downhill have better control and view when backing up (UP the hill). You are probably not one of the locals... Please be cognicent of your dust and noise as you would not want someone blazing flames in your own neighborhood. Livestock doesn't know it is Saturday.
Always bring about $20 in one dollar bills (parking fees, ice cream, lemonade). Tell someone where you are and when to expect you back. Leave a map with a general location of your whereabouts under the front seat of your car. A supply list (I use the one that I used to prepare for my trip) of what I have also allows would-be rescuers some knowledge of who and what they are looking for and how prepared I am to spend the night or weather out a storm. Rescues generally happen the day after one is billed as missing. I realize that what will probably hamper my return is getting lost or an unforseen injury. If you are that prepared, think the next step: What would you do if you ran across an injured person on your hike?
Last year's (2010) blog has info about Santa Cruz/Big Sur Butterfly migration, Thule Elk Rutting in Pt Reyes and Biolumnenescent Paddling in Tomales Bay!
Please refer to last year's blogs for that information.
Much more to come... Pacific Crest Trail, Grover Hot Springs (near Kirkwood), Jenkinson Lake (at the end of Sly Park near Pollock Pines) and Iron Mountain (closed) Ski Area...That does not include all of the coastal destinations. Oh, I could go on and on and on...
Still want more pics? Here is my other working album...
Travelscape, Amazing places in the world:
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