We were in need of a workout hike before storms hit and came up with one that was uphill both ways. The rolling Lakeview Trail along Eastman Lake had plenty of workout for us and if we were lucky, we just might spot a Bald Eagle.
Distance: 8.76 Miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, depending on how far you go
Elevation Range: 586′ to 711′
Date: January 30, 2019
Maps: Ben Hur and Daulton Topographic Maps
Dog Hike: Maybe
We drove down Raymond Road past Raymond and turned right on Road 607, following the signs to Eastman Lake. We stopped at the self-service Entrance Station because it had been a couple of years since I had visited and wasn’t sure what the situation was with the entrance ticket. They now have a self service kiosk where you insert your money and get a stub to display in your window. You can purchase a One-day Pass for $5, a Day Use Shelter for $30 or an Annual pass $40. I had my America the Beautiful Pass with me, which also includes the Corps of Engineers locations such as Eastman Lake. If you have a Lifetime Senior Pass, that will also get you in without additional fees.
Across the road from the Entrance Station is a Historical Marker related to the town of Buchanan. No matter where you go in our area, you are walking through history and this area is a perfect example. It is hard to imagine that back in the 1860’s and 1870’s, this was a thriving town of over 1,000 people. They had a post office, stores and bars. Why was this town here? To support the thriving copper mines in the area. After the Civil War, the demand for copper wasn’t there and by the 1880’s, most of the businesses had closed and folks had moved on. In 1904, the post office closed.
While researching Buchanan, I came across a Sierra News Online article published History Mystery #35 that mentions Buchanan, other nearby mines and a nearby old copper smelter. I also located an interesting article that had been published in the Madera Tribune back in 1968. I apologize for the fuzziness but that was the best I could get it.
You can start this hike from either end of the 4 mile Lakeview Trail, from where we started at the lower trailhead or from the upper end of the trail at the Raymond Bridge off of Road 613 where it crosses the Chowchilla River. To reach the trailhead that we started from, we took the paved road that skirts the south side of Eastman Lake Recreation Area and followed the signs to the Lakeview Trail. We followed the rolling trail as it wound along the lake. The lifting fog didn’t give us the opportunity to capture pictures of reflections in the lake but we have gotten some nice ones in the past.
There is a spot along the trail in a rocky area where many of these cool succulents thrive.
Then we came across this reddish fungus just emerging through the dirt.
The trail crossed a small creek, creating a reflection I could not resist capturing.
It wasn’t long before we reached the Raymond Bridge which was the end of the trail and our turn around spot. We used the very clean restroom, which we rated at the top of our bathroom cleanliness scale of 10 out of 10.
Then we headed back the same way we had come up.
The lifted fog gave us some really nice views.
We took a short lunch break on a bench overlooking the lake.
Just before we reached the end of the trail we headed toward the boat launching area. I focused on the restrooms that were in my sights and a man asked us if we had seen the Bald Eagles. Well, we hadn’t and there they were, perched in a nearby Oak tree. We started snapping away. And we used those bathrooms which were also very clean, another 10 out of 10 on our bathroom cleanliness scale.
As we walked up the road and back to our car, we continued to have views of the eagles and we continued taking picture. What an amazing end to our hike!
We kept our eyes open for rattlesnakes but didn’t see any. It was still winter but as the weather warms up, I just never know when one could be out warming up in the sun. This area is beautiful when the wildflowers are out and can get a bit warm, so you may want to carry plenty of water with you.
Dog Hike? Maybe
Dogs are welcome here and I have brought my dog Sally on this hike but didn’t this time. On prior hikes, we have seen plenty of snake tracks. They are here! Other animals also live in this area so you want to have control of your dog. 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. You can check out the link below for more rules and information.
Map and Profile:
Prior Blogs in this Area: