“A nice loop trail in the Red Buttes Wilderness that passes Frog Pond and weaves through Cameron Meadows
— Bruce Hope
Lake · River/Creek · Wildflowers
This trail is within the Red Buttes Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics; camp 100 feet from fragile areas; bury human waste at least 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites.
This trail is usually closed by snow between November and May.
This trail has two trailheads, the Cameron Meadows trailhead and the Frog Pond trailhead, both of which are on Forest Road 1040. The trail can be done in either direction but feels less steep if you start at the Frog Pond Trailhead. It's easier on you and your car if you park at the Cameron Meadows Trailhead and hike (or shuttle another car) up Forest Road 1040 to the Frog Pond Trailhead.
The Frog Pond/Cameron Meadows Trail #953 starts climbing right from the Frog Pond Trailhead, up through a forest of very large cedar and fir trees, and passes some rare Brewer's spruce (also called weeping spruce because of its droopy branches) growing next to the trail. In less than two miles you reach a large meadow and Frog Pond.
Near the meadow among the trucks of several large cedar trees are the remains of a prospector's cabin. The cabin was built by a John Knox McCloy in the 1920s; he lived in and prospected this area for over 50 years.
The trail continues around the south end of the Frog Pond, past a very rare grove of Alaskan yellow cedar trees, and up a series of switchbacks to a saddle on the ridge. Here there are okay views of Pyramid Peak and Swan Mountain to the west.
From the divide, the trail drops into Cameron Meadows, passes a small pond, then heads down the ridge towards Cameron Meadows trailhead. Despite recent trail maintenance, it is easy to lose the trail when crossing the meadows and end up descending into French Gulch. Where the trail passes through meadows there are now properly located rock cairns to help you stay on the correct course - watch for them and keep an eye on where the track is going.