The historic Skelton Creek Trail shows up on maps in the 1850’s and walking down it was right up my alley. Tons of history in this area and I always learn something new when hiking with the Sierra Hiking Seniors, a friendly group of fellow hikers.
Where: Sierra National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Private Property
Distance: 4.62 Miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Range: 2,867′ – 3,711′
Elevation Gain: 1,156′
Date: March 11, 2022
CALTOPO: Hiking The Skelton Creek Trail to the Blue Glory Mine
Dog Hike? Maybe
I headed out to hike an area that I hadn’t hiked before with the Sierra Hiking Seniors. We met up in the Jerseydale area near the trailhead on Best Road, about .06 miles from the intersection of Scott Road. Rather than share detailed routing, I suggest you check out the CALTOP link to help better with that. There isn’t a sign at the trailhead and we tried to limit the number of vehicles, parking in small off the dirt road areas. Parking along the dirt road and the beginning of the trail skirts private properties and we tried to minimize our presence.
This hike with the Sierra Hiking Seniors was led by Sharon Giacomazzi and Linda Shepler. It had been a while since I had hung out with these two wonderful ladies and jumped at the chance to be with them on an adventure. Sharon is a best selling author, having hiked more miles that I can imagine. She has authored several books on hiking in our area and if you aren’t familiar with her books, Trails & Tales of Yosemite & the Central Sierra is a good place to start. The books includes hikes but also tons of history and stories about the area. Throughout our hike, I loved listening to her tell even more stories about the area that we live in.
But she wasn’t the only author on our hike. Lori Oliver-Tierney’s book Trudge: A Midlife Crisis on the John Muir Trail shares her personal journey while hiking the John Muir Trail. Her book’s bio: “Lori Oliver-Tierney is every woman with a dream. She is fifty, asthmatic, overweight, with arthrituc knees. And like many married women with children, she’s lost herself. . . . But by the end of the first day, Lori realizes she may have made a huge mistake.”
Lots of interesting people on this hike that I headed down the trail with. The trail had a past life as a dirt road, making the walking pretty easy.
At the beginning of the trail, a box held flyers prepared by Mariposa Trails on the Skelton Creek Trail. Mariposa Trails is a local organization of volunteers that provides trail access and promotes its use for adventure, health, stewardship, education and community prosperity. Many trees had fallen across this trail as a result of the Ferguson Fire and drought/bark beetle die off. What a wonderful thing that they have accomplished to clear this trail! They perform a lot of trail maintenance on trails in this area and welcome donations to help them with costs. If you click on the copies of the handout below, they will become larger.
And we continued down this historic trail which is one of the oldest trails in this area, predating the Southfork Trail to Peachtree Bar by between 25 to possibly 40 years. It is one of the few trails that shows up on a Surveyors General Map first published in 1855. Imagine the mining activity that took place in this area back in the day, along with so many trails leading from communities to mining operations and the people who supported them. But I think that many of these trails predated these maps and these miners, used by Native Americans for eons before that.
Baby Blue eyes lined the trail in a sunny spot.
We soon reached the location of the mining area associated with the Blue Glory Mine, probably first developed in the mid 1920’s. Sharon shared some research that Steve Garland had shared with her on this gold mine. This closed mine appears to be last worked by Richard Muller in the early 1980’s and had rails for the ore cart to dump its load, a two stamp mill and arastra for crushing ore. It is an interesting mine because if you take your time, you can see old mining equipment that includes stamps, cam shafts, an old tractor/grader and other mysterious pieces of equipment.
We crossed the creek to check out the mine more. There are many old remains of mines in this area and you need to be very careful in your wanderings around these places. A mine or tunnel l could collapse and you also need to be careful of gasses from those. I don’t go inside those old mines because the old timbers could collapse, burying you in the mine.
After a snack, we headed back up the trail, some of our group taking a spur trail down to the Cascades. I was hearing some interesting history from Sharon on the Merced River Canyon and didn’t want to lose out on that opportunity.
After our hike, the group gathered to enjoy their lunch and other goodies brought to share with everyone. Fun conversation was to be had!
We made sure to pack plenty of drinking water with us. We didn’t see any rattlesnakes on our hike but they are here! The trail from the Blue Glory Mine down to Devil’s Gulch is not maintained and is not recommended for use. I have gone with the Sierra Hiking Seniors on a few hikes over the years and they are a fun group of hikers of all speeds. They hike on Monday and Friday, putting out a calendar and weekly emails on their hikes. If you are interested in joining them on a hike or receiving their emails with information on upcoming hikes, you can contact Fran Goss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our hike was a no dog hike but you might be able to take your dog on this if your dog is a good fit. The hike led by private property and we need to be respectful of their property. There are plenty of rattlesnakes in this area, along with this being mountain lion country, along with other wildlife that you could encounter. I’m not sure of how well Skelton Creek runs in dry years so you may need to pack dog water during those periods.
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.
We ask the public to remember these rules when taking pets into the wilderness.
- Bury feces.
- Do not tie up dogs and leave them unattended.
- Do not allow dogs to chase wildlife.
- Leave unfriendly or loud dogs at home.
For additional information from Sierra National Forest regarding pets, please click the following link: Canine Camper
What is a Doarama? It is a video playback of the GPS track overlaid on a 3 dimensional interactive map. If you “grab” the map, you can tilt it or spin it and look at it from different viewing angles. With the rabbit and turtle buttons, you can also speed it up, slow it down or pause it.
Maps and Profile:
CALTOPO has some free options for mapping and here is a link to my hike this week: CALTOPO: Hiking The Skelton Creek Trail to the Blue Glory Mine
Prior Blogs in the Area: