We did not snowshoe Tamarack Ridge but we carried our snowshoes all day thinking that we would. We headed up above Shaver Lake to find well packed snow and once we left the main trails, that snow was pristine and untouched by people.
Where: Tamarack Ridge SNO-PARK, Sierra National Forest
Distance: 5.82 miles
Elevational Range: 7,354′ to 7,800′
Date: March 27, 2018
Maps: High Sierra Ranger District Winter Recreation Guide, Dinky Creek Topog
Dog Hike? Maybe
We drove up Hwy 168 to Shaver Lake and stopped by Shaver Lake Sports to pick up a Day Permit for $5 which is required November 1 through May 30 for each vehicle parked at a SNO Park site. You can also purchase a Season Permit for $25 Season Permit for $25. 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 SNO-Park link at the bottom gives you that list. Also note that there is a fine of $94.50 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.
There were only a few vehicles in the parking lot when we arrived but it was full when we left. The trails started at the gated west end of the parking lot next to the bathroom.
The snow wasn’t icy at all and was well-packed so we didn’t put our snowshoes on as headed out on the trail directly out toward Tamarack Ridge. . . but we planned to.
I need to be honest with you. I walked right by the unsigned trail spur to Tamarack Ridge. I had anticipated that with the weekend visitors, it would have been well used. There was a lone skier who had come out it and a snowmobile had come out up farther up the road so I was wondering if that could be it, but since I didn’t see the metal triangle trail marker, I walked right by it. We didn’t get too far down the trail, maybe a quarter of a mile or so, and from the lay of the land I knew we had gone too far so we backtracked and wandered. Well, let’s just say that we finally located it and headed up the trail.
Once we were headed in the right direction, we saw a few snowmobile and old ski tracks as we headed up. The snow was very nice and mostly undisturbed.
Since we got a late start finding the trail, we located a good lunch spot on some rocks.
And that lunch spot had a very nice view.
We decided to head up a little farther out Tamarack Ridge.
We came across an interesting stump with wavy patterns and a snow hat.
And we found the perfect place for Deb to do a snow angel. It was her best one this season!
It was time for us to turn around and head down the hill. And we all know the funnest way of getting down the hill.
We never did put our snowshoes on. We carried them in our hands for a long time, thinking we would be putting them on pretty soon. We finally put them on our packs and the walking was much more pleasurable after that.
If you plan on venturing up to our local mountains, you need to be aware of the area, weather, route and limitations of your body and equipment. You may encounter icy roads, wind, cold and snow without any notice. Bring a good map and know how to use it. Let people know where you are going, including your planned route of travel, departure and return times. I always check the weather forecasts right up to the time of our hikes to avoid storms.
Wear the right clothes and layer them. I didn’t come close to covering all of the information that you need to enjoy winter sports in our local mountains. There are many places that can give you additional information and the California State Parks SNO-PARKS Brochure linked under Sources is a good place to start for some good winter tips.
Dog Hike: Maybe
I didn’t bring Sally on this hike but she has hiked in this area in the past. 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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Prior Blogs in this Area: