“A ridge side trail through chaparral landscape and views of the High Sierras.”
— Hubbard Gravlee
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The ability to hike as little as 3 miles and camp in the wilderness makes this an excellent destination for families. The trail becomes markedly more difficult after Panther Creek.
Take the General's Highway toward Buckeye Flat campground. There is a fork to a dirt road on the left that will take you to the trailhead. There is not a traditional parking lot, but there is room for nine or so vehicles with bear boxes at the trailhead.
The first 3 miles to Panther Creek are fairly easy. This is the first place with campsites along the trail. Shortly after passing Panther Creek the trail increases in difficulty, climbing from roughly 4,000' to 4,800' in about 1.5 miles to Mehrten Creek. This creek has a few camp sites and is in tree cover with views of the valley below Castle Rocks and the Middle Fork River.
Continuing on, the trail ascends and descends for the next 2 1/4 miles, crossing 3 unnamed drainages, with a campsite and fire ring in tree cover at the third drainage. After another 1/2 mile the trail ends at the 9.4 mile mark at a fork.
This fork is not marked, but the left climbs up to Bearpaw Meadow and the High Sierra Trail
while the right leads to Redwood Meadow. Heading right, the trail descends to an area with an obvious campsite in tree cover with a fire ring, log seats, and water access. There are multiple places to camp in this area.
This trail follows the river for its duration but there is no river access until this point due to the steep banks. There are creeks along the way with flowing water and some of them collect in pools that would be nice to take a dip in during warmer months.
Flora & Fauna
Lots of wildflowers and blooming California Buckeye in spring. Very abundant wildlife from birds, squirrels, lizards, and even black bears.