Fresh snow and lots of it called to us from above Shaver Lake where we had the bluest of skies, white and sparkling new snow to snowshoe on and gorgeous scenery.
Where: Tamarack Ridge SNO-PARK, Sierra National Forest
Distance: 3.03 miles
Elevational Range: 7,562′ to 7,789′
Date: January 13, 2017
Maps: High Sierra Ranger District Winter Recreation Guide, Dinky Creek Topog
Dog Hike? Maybe
We drove up Hwy 180 to Shaver Lake. The driver of our vehicle on this trip had already come up to this area to ski earlier in the season and had purchased a SNO-Park Season Permit for $25. If you are just coming up for the day, you will need to pick up a Day Permit for $5 before you leave Shaver Lake. This money pays for plowing of the SNO-PLAY parking areas and sanitation facilities. You can also pick up a free map that is perfect for this area. It is called the High Sierra Ranger District Winter Recreation Guide and has the trails, along with additional information such as trail etiquette, winter travel safety and the type of equipment that you should bring to be prepared for winter recreation in this area. Some of the trails are only for cross country skiing and some are snowmobile trails. There are also areas just for snow play. There are several areas where you can purchase your permit and the Tamarack link at the bottom gives you that list. Also note that there is a fine of $75 for parking in the SNO Park areas without a permit displayed.
We continued up the road to the Tamarack Ridge SNO-PARK on the right side of the road. It was 25 degrees when we pulled into the parking area, was nicely plowed, and we were the first ones there that day. The brand new snow was between 1 to 2 feet deep and we knew it would be work breaking that trail, so we decided to take the Tamarack Trail directly out toward Tamarack Ridge because it would be a bit shorter and less hilly than the Raven Trail.
We were the first ones on the trail since the last snow and the snow was pristine. I started out breaking trail but we all took turns. Since no one had traveled on this new snow, I could see animal tracks such as deer all along the way.
We met up with some skiers and we let them get in front of us, all of us heading up the hill.
The snow covered trees were gorgeous!
We hadn’t made it to the end of the ridge like we had planned. It was just too hard and slow making our way through that snow. It was also getting close to lunch time and we found a nice spot where we could admire the views.
It was much easier on the way down because we had those snowshoe tracks that we had made walking in. But that snow had begun to melt and every once in a while a big glob or ice ball would fall on you.
This is a fantastic area to enjoy the snow. We have seen families with small children tailgating in the parking lot, with the kids playing on toboggans and building snowmen. It always puts a smile on our faces to see families enjoying this area. The great thing about this area is that it is big and you don’t need to get too far from the parking lot where you can feel like you have the place to yourself. Some of these trails are groomed for snowmobile trail, some are designated for cross country skiing and some of the trails are used by all. With that said, snowmobile operators may not be able to hear approaching skiers and snowshoers so you want to be aware and use caution when you hear them coming.
Dog Hike? Maybe
I didn’t bring Sally on this hike but she has done this one before. I didn’t know how deep the snow would be and didn’t want to take a chance that it would be too much. We did see a dog with the skiers and that lab would jump and burrow its way through the snow as they worked their way up and down the slopes. And that dog was having a wonderful time! This is one of those instances where you will need to know your dog’s limitations, how well it can tolerate the cold and dress them accordingly.
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.
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