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Escape with Sally to Lundy Canyon

Dramatic high peaks, streaked with colors of red, white and brown and still capped with snow frame Lundy Canyon. Mill Creek was high and really moving, lined with aspens that lulled me to sleep as the wind moved through them. It was a perfect place for Sally and I to kick back and relax . . and maybe catch a fish.

Where: Inyo National Forest, Hoover Wilderness
Elevation Range: 7,800′
Date: July 9, 2017
Maps: Big Alkali, Buckeye Ridge, Falls Ridge and June Lake Topographic Quad
Dog Hike? Yes

Sally and I packed up the camper and headed over Tioga Pass, south on Hwy 395 through Lee Vining and up Lundy Lake Road. As soon as I make the turn to head up Lundy Lake Road, I could feel the history of this area. Lundy was the happening place back in 1880. Then it all went bust.

In 1879, news reached Bodie about new gold strikes in Mill Creek Canyon. The Bodie newspaper, the Standard (November 8, 1879) reported that “hundreds of people hurried to the scene of the new discoveries. Mining locations, mill sites, town sites, timber rights, and all that sort of thing was the order of the day. A town quickly sprung up, named after William O. Lundy who operated a sawmill in the area in 1878. The town of Lundy was built up in 1880 to serve the gold mines in the area and became home to 500 people until the May Lundy Mine (named after William O. Lundy’s daughter) temporarily closed in 1884. In 1887, much of the businesses area was destroyed by fire. Large scale mining pretty much stopped about 1914.

I just love this whole area from Tioga Pass up to Lundy and have written several blogs about my adventures and its history. There is a link at the end of this blog in case you would like to read more. There is also an excellent book written about Lundy that I cannot recommend enough if you can get your hands on it. It is Lundy by Alan H. Patera. It is one of a series of books from Western Places written by Patera that give a lot of detail about old mining communities and ghost towns, especially on the east side of the Sierra. I utilized his book on much of my research for my blogs in this area and am very thankful for him sharing his research.

Lundy Lake is a big attraction to folks who like to fish, which I sure like to do. The lake is nestled in between mountains still covered in snow with brilliant red, white and brown colors. There is also plenty of hiking to be had but you can also catch up on your reading or take a good nap.

Sally and I camped for a few days at the Lundy Canyon Campground owned by Mono County and located just below the Lundy Lake Dam. Mill Creek runs along one side of the campground and the campsites are tucked in a grassy aspen grove that provided a soft rustling sound as the wind moved through them. There are 36 sites, no potable water but there are restrooms, picnic benches, fire-rings and bear boxes. The price for 2017 is $16 per night. Sally and I picked out Campsite #17 to hang out for a few days.

As soon as I got camp set up, we took a short walk. I was surprised at the amount of flowers that were blooming.  Vibrant yellow was represented by the shrub below.


The white color was represented by what I think could be a Mojave prickly poppy (Argemone corymbosa), a flowering plant in the poppy family (Papaveraceae) native to the eastern Mojave Desert of the southwestern United States. The flower looks similar to Matilija Poppy (genus Romneya), also belonging to the poppy family.

I caught up on lots of reading and took some small walks and a couple of naps. Sally took lots of naps. We also tried our hand at fishing at Lundy Lake but received no bites. I like to blame the full moon on that but it could have been the wind which was causing small whitecaps at times. I like to think that because I would hate to think that it had anything to do with my fishing skills.

Since it was a full moon, Sally and I got up early for a walk to check it out.

I was hoping for reflections of it in Lundy Lake but it was not to be. That dang wind was already up.

Sunrise was looking pretty to me, so we headed up on the hill above the campground where we could also see Mono Lake.

 Our stay at Lundy Lake wasn’t as long as I would have liked. I just love the colorful mountains and the history in this area makes me daydream about the wild times that went on in this rough mining town. The sound of the creek and the wind blowing through the aspens sure made for some good sleeping weather. And speaking of that wind, I was thankful for it because it kept the mosquitos and little biting flies down some. They weren’t bad but wanted to give you a heads up.



Dog Friendly?

This area can be a great place to hike with your dog, if your dog is a good fit. There are some rocky areas that can be tough on a dog’s feet, wearing the paw pads down, with the possibility of slicing them. I carry boots with me when I bring Sally, just in case she gets too much wear or an injury to her foot. The water sources that a dog can access are good year round. This is an area that has Bubonic Plague, so need to keep your dogs away from squirrels and rodents. Below are the dog rules for the Hoover Wilderness:

  • Dogs are allowed in the Hoover Wilderness, but are not allowed in wilderness areas in adjacent national parks.
  • Pet food must be stored to the same standard as people food. In areas where use of a bear resistant food storage container is required, pet food must be stored in your container.
  • Leashes protect dogs from becoming lost and from wilderness hazards such as porcupines, mountain lions, and sick, injured or rabid animals.
  • Unleashed dogs may intimidate other hikers and their dogs, depriving them of a peaceful wilderness experience.
  • Unleashed dogs may harass, injure and sometimes kill wildlife.
  • A leashed dog’s keen senses can enhance your awareness of nearby wildlife or other visitors.

Prior Blogs in this Area:

Hiking with Sally from Lundy Lake through Mill Creek Canyon September 27, 2016

Hiking with Sally From Lundy Lake to the May Lundy Mine September 27, 2016

Hiking to the Old Mining Town of Bennettville and the Lakes Beyond November 11, 2014

Hiking with Sally up to the Hess Mine in the Tioga Pass Area October 26 2015

Gaylor Lakes & Great Sierra Mine Hike: Part 2 October 29, 2012


Lundy Campground Mono County

Patera, Alan, Lundy, Western Places, Lake Grove, Oregon, 2000

Mohave prickly poppy Wikipedia

Matilija poppy Wikipedia

One Hundred Years in Yosemite (1947) by Carl P. Russell

Bodie & Esmerelda by Joseph Wasson, William Phipps Blake, Benjamin Silliman


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