“An old mining road descending a deep cut, scenic canyon.”
— J. Bella
Need to Know
The day use fee at Hopewell Lake is $5 per vehicle and the campground has various sites for $16 per night. Free parking and dispersed campsites can be found along Burned Mountain Trail (Forest Road 91B). There's a lot of potential in this area to link up various backpacking routes or day hikes and get some serious mileage. The Tour Divide comes through here during June.
This is a rocky and in places steep road dropping into Placer Creek from Hopewell Lake, connecting to Forest Road 91B1 at the bottom. From the parking lot at the lake, hike up the first switchback to the gate where the trail begins.
The energy buzzes with history as you pass some old Forest Service signs and equipment left from the late 1800s when the area was a booming mining district. Hike along the rolling hills above a vast, green meadow to where the trail enters the forest, through some privately held old mines and a mill worth a glance, then a steepening descent towards Placer Creek where remnants of the mining operations are slowly being taken back by nature.
If you're into geology, this is a fascinating area to see as ancient volcanic outcrops line the canyon, interspersed among meadows and slopes covered with aspen and mixed conifer forest. After about a mile, you'll reach the valley floor, cross the stream, and cruise through some open meadows and wetlands to a junction with Forest Road 91B1.