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Hiking with Sally and Raven on the Cowboy Trail

We loaded up the dogs and headed up a gated dirt road just out of Bass Lake to get some exercise between storms. Icy puddles, frosty leaves and some snow were highlights of this hike, along with the silly antics of those dogs.

Where: Sierra National Forest
Distance: 7.36 Miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Range: 3,640′ – 5,194′
Date: January 6, 2017
Maps: Ahwahnee Topographic Quad
Dog Hike? Yes!

I drove about 4 miles east on Bass Lake Road/Rd. 220 and parked my vehicle at Chepo Saddle at the large parking pull-out where United States Forest Service (USFS) Rd. 6S13 starts and I met up with my hiking buddies. There is a gate that was closed for the winter, but is open during the summer. We made sure that we parked our vehicles to give plenty of room for other vehicles and to keep the entrance to the road open.

 

We started up the road which was frozen, but had turned to a slick mess on our return.

We followed roads that were once used as cattle trails, moving cattle from the lower foothills up to higher country to graze on summer grass in the mountains. That is why this road is called the Cowboy Trail.

I recommend the book “Willow Creek History: Tales of Cow Camps, Shake Makers & Basket Weavers” by local author Marcia Penner Freedman if you would like to learn more about this area and the history. My prior blog in this area covers some of this history if you would like to learn more and is linked at the end.

We had some beautiful views to the east.

I saw a small pine tree glistening in the sun and when I took a closer look, I discovered that frozen dew was creating that sparkle.

We hadn’t traveled very far when the dogs found snow on the road. They were very happy.

In fact they were jumping for joy!

We headed up the road a bit more.

We turned around and headed back the same we came in but took the time to appreciate the little things like a frozen puddle in the middle of the road.

And frosty leaves.

Photo by Debra Sutherland

Photo by Debra Sutherland

Photo by Debra Sutherland

And ice crystals.

Photo by Gail Gilbert

We took a slight detour to check out a small dome and the puddles.

The dogs also liked the icy puddles.

It was time to head back and the dogs knew the way. There are lots of options for this hike. You can go farther on this road or along some of the other roads that branch off. The dogwoods put on a nice show of fall colors and spring flowers if you time it right. Just a heads up that you can encounter vehicle traffic, including motorcycles, even when the gate is closed because they may be coming in from the top. This is also a great place to ride a horse and you may also encounter them in your travels.

Dog Hike? Yes

In normal years there are water sources along the upper part of this hike but you might consider bringing some water along in the summer. Be advised that there are critters in this area such as Mountain Lions, Coyotes, Deer and in the warmer weather, the rattlesnakes will be out.

Here are the Sierra National Forest rules for pets from their website:

Domestic pets are allowed in wilderness areas. You are responsible for their actions as well as their welfare. Pets should either be leashed or under direct voice control. When camping in areas with other visitors, pets should be kept on a leash. Wilderness visitor’s who plan to travel into an adjacent National Park should be aware that National Parks do not permit pets.

When in campgrounds, public beaches or on trails local ordinances require pets to be leashed. As a consideration to others, please refrain from taking pets to beach areas to prevent contamination. Domestic pets are allowed in wilderness areas. You are responsible for their actions as well as their welfare. Pets should either be leashed or under direct voice control. When camping in areas with other visitors, pets should be kept on a leash. Wilderness visitor’s who plan to travel into an adjacent National Park should be aware that National Parks do not permit pets.

  • Clean up after your pet. It will only take a few minutes and there is no single action that will more favorably impress your fellow campers.

Map and Profile:

Doarama Link

Cowboy Trail Topographic Map

Cowboy Trail Profile

Prior Blogs in this Area:

Hiking From Chepo Saddle to Greys Mountain Campground

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