We headed up a trail that was lined with every color of wildflower that you could imagine. The glassy lake reflected the rocky Eastman Lake shore and we saw some critters. But those rattlesnakes were out and we have the proof!
Distance: 8.1 Miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, depending on how far you go
Elevation Range: 586′ to 709′
Date: March 17, 2017
Maps: Ben Hur and Daulton Topographic Maps
Dog Hike: Maybe
You can start this hike from either end of the 4 mile Lakeview Trail. You can start at the upper end of the trail at the Raymond Bridge off of Road 613 where it crosses the Chowchilla River. However, we started from the lower end of the trail. We met up in Ahwahnee, drove down Road 600, then north on Road 607 to the Eastman Lake Recreation Area. The road inside of the Recreation Area led along the south side of the lake and we followed the signs to the Lakeview Trail. We were surprised to see quite a bit of storm damage on the trail. In areas, ruts ran down the middle of the trail and there was a washout that we had to skirt.
We started seeing flowers from the beginning of our hike.
The poppies were closed up in the early morning but beautiful with the dew.
How could we not take pictures of the large yellow Arnica blooms along the trail?
Even leaves of grass dripping with dew caught our eye.
Then we ran across this freshly killed rattlesnake right smack in the middle of the trail. To me, it appeared that a bird had killed it and was enjoying its breakfast when we interrupted it. The snake was gone when we returned back in the afternoon.
Deb took this really cool picture of teeny tiny mushrooms along the trail.
We saw a few Sierra Newts returning from their nighttime activities down by the water.
Eastman Lake was created in 1975 by the construction of Buchanan Dam on the Chowchilla River and as we reached the upper end of the lake, we saw beautiful reflections.
We made it up to the upper end of the trail where the bathroom is located and what a clean bathroom it was! The barbed wire fence right next to it was decorated with flowers.
We started heading back down the same way we had come up but we discovered so many flowers that had opened up. Each of us used our own artistic eye to capture their beauty.
Gail Gilbert took the beautiful pictures below.
Debra Kincade’s pictures are also gorgeous.
We found a nice bench with a view of the lake and I sat down to eat my peanut butter sandwich when I noticed that someone else had also picked out this prime spot.
After lunch, we walked back though the amazing colors of wildflowers.
We had a really nice walk and were surprised at the number and diversity of wildflowers this year.
I have brought my dog Sally on this hike but didn’t this time because I thought the recent warm weather would have brought the snakes out and I made the right call. We kept our eyes open for rattlesnakes and we saw lots of snake tracks. But earlier in the year, this could be a good dog hike for us. Later in the year it can get pretty hot and you may need to pack dog water or head down to the lake periodically.
Note that there is a $5 fee for a one day pass to Eastman Lake. The good news is that the Corps of Engineers is now included in the America the Beautiful Interagency Pass which you can purchase for an annual fee of $80, giving you access to National Parks and other federal lands. If you are 62 or older, you can purchase a Lifetime Senior Pass for $10 which will give you that same access. There are other fees for things such as camping and day use shelters. You can check out their website for more information at the end of this blog.
Map and Profile:
Prior Blog in this Area: