Already February and I hadn’t gone on a single snowshoe this year. It was time to fix that problem with an adventure in Fish Camp but what would the snow be like?
Where: Sierra National Forest
Distance: 3.64 miles, but you can walk much farther or shorter if you wish
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, depending on the depth of new snow
Elevation Range: 5,097′ – 5,285′
Date: February 10, 2021
CALTOPO: Tenaya Lodge Up Jackson Road
Dog Hike? Yes
My original plan was to snowshoe at Badger Pass which was re-opening on this day. It wouldn’t be fully open but Glacier Point Road would be open up to Badger Pass for parking, which would get me close to all kinds of adventures. But Highway 41 did not reopen to coincide with this, so I came up with a Plan B. The Tenaya Lodge had just reopened some of its facilities and that meant that the parking lots were plowed. I headed up to those parking lots and when I park in these lots, I always park away from the main areas where people park.
It was 33 degrees when I got out of the car and walked up toward the Tenaya Lodge, then down through the valet parking area, then took the service road down to Jackson Road. Sometimes I park right off of Jackson Road just before the Tenaya Lodge entrance, making sure I don’t block any traffic. There are usually a couple of wide spots before the Jackson Road gate but since there was so much snow, I wasn’t sure if these would be plowed yet and that is the main reason I parked at Tenaya Lodge. BTW, there is also another good reason because when Tenaya is open, you can get a very good cup of hot chocolate there after you finish snowshoeing.
I put my snowshoes on near the gate on Jackson Road and headed on up. A tracked snow vehicle had gone up previously, laying down a mostly packed track for me to follow. Some people had also walked up this way, leaving some deep postholes where they had sunk in the snow. That must not have been much fun. It was fun to watch the sun rise over the snowy hill and peek through the trees though.
There were quite a few small down trees and large limbs on the road. The recent Mono Wind Storm had taken down so many trees and branches but these had fallen after that. I was able to navigate over or around them though.
Even though it was a cloudy morning, it was quiet and peaceful as I walked up the road . . . except for my crunch, crunch, crunch of my snowshoes on the snow. I was soon walking through the burned area from 2017’s Railroad Fire that devastated 12,047 acres.
It wasn’t long before I soon reached the Yosemite Trails Pack Station.
I took a quick break to look around and noticed something out of place. How so very sad.
I continued on, past the cattle chute covered with snow. There is a trail that heads up to the left of that cattle chute but no one had broken trail up it so I stayed on the road.
Walking around the closed gate, I continued up the road.
I soon encountered more down trees and limbs, but nothing I couldn’t get around or over.
I soon reached a spot that felt a little iffy to me since I was by myself. I could see that the snow had slumped off the exposed hill and it could be a little unstable on that hill. I had hoped to get to the old corrals for lunch but since I was by myself, I decided to turn around.
And the neat thing was that on the way back, the clouds started clearing and blue sky appeared.
It was a very pretty walk back.
I didn’t meet anyone on the trail. It was a short but fun little snowshoe and I should have brought a dog or two with me. They would have loved it!
No matter the season, there are a few options for heading out Jackson Road. It is close by and in the fall, those oaks turn beautiful colors. In the spring, the dogwoods put on their show. You can choose to continue up to where Chinese Ditch and Big Creek meet and there is a small waterfall. You can also walk farther up Big Sandy Road, even up to the Nelder Grove, if you wish. Lots of possibilities on this dirt road!
Dog Hike? Yes
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.
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.
Map and Profile:
CALTOPO has some free options for mapping and here is a link to my hike this week: CALTOPO: Tenaya Lodge Up Jackson Road
Johnston, Hank, Thunder in the Mountains The Life and Times of the Madera Sugar Pine Company, (Fish Camp, Stauffer Publishing, Fish Camp, 1995)
Negley, Brenda L., Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoia: A Grandaughter’s Stories, (Baltimore, Otter Bay Books, 2016)
Putnam, Jim, Favorite Hikes of the Sierra Hiking Seniors, July 2010
Prior Blogs in the Area: