Hike with Fannie at Chilkoot Lake

Just a short hike to a nice lake with Fannie the Corgi. We did this hike when the very rare plant named Shuteye Peak wildlife lily was in bloom. Although it’s been almost a month since we did this hike, it will still be a nice, short hike, but watch out for rattlesnakes and bring your bug spray! Oh, and I added a bit about Fannie’s rattlesnake avoidance training.

Where: Sierra National Forest
Distance: 5.51 miles (but shorter if you start in Cold Springs)
Difficulty: Easy
Altitude range: 7,129′ – 7,493′
Elevation Gain: 440′
Date: May 23, 2022
CALTOPO: Hike to Chilkoot Lake
Canine hike? Yes

Fannie the Corgi and I joined the Sierra Senior Hikers on an adventure. Two hikes were planned from the same starting point and we all met at Von’s in Oakhurst to caravan Beasore Rd. over Bass Lake, our unmarked starting point about a mile above the intersection from Central Camp Road and about 1/2 mile before the top of Cold Springs. There was a dirt parking area on the left side of the road but plenty more parking along the right side. We went around with our guides to understand the hike of the day. One of the group was heading towards Little Shuteye Peak and the group I was with was heading towards Chilkoot Lake. Rich Leyden was the leader of our hike, which was mostly along USFS routes to and around the lake.

Another dog joined our group at Chilkoot Lake.

Both groups set off, our group going up the trail, which was an old dirt road, towards Chilkoot Lake.

It didn’t take long for us to reach Chilkoot Lake, only a few miles away. If we had parked in Cold Springs it would have taken us about 1 mile.

The lake is part of PG&E’s Crane Valley project, built between 1895 and 1920 by the San Joaquin Power Company, which later became the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation. The Crane Valley Project includes five hydroelectric generating stations, as well as the Bass Lake and Chilkoot Lake dams which form storage reservoirs and seven smaller diversion dams along the North and South Forks of Willow Creek. From the California Public Utilities Commission:

Chilkoot Lake is the project’s top facility, primarily fed by the Chilkoot Lake catchment ditch, a rocky channel that diverts runoff from Chiquito Creek. The lake has a designed working capacity of 308 acre-feet (af) at an elevation of 7,497 feet above mean sea level (msl). The Chilkoot Dam is a rock-filled structure at the southwest end of Chilkoot Lake. The lake encompasses 57 acres. The dam includes a concrete-lined steel outlet pipe that is located three feet below the toe of the dam and discharges into Chilkoot Creek. In late spring each year, water is discharged from Chilkoot Lake to Chilkoot Creek, where it flows into North Fork Willow Creek and eventually Bass Lake.

We walked along the lake, down to the dam.

Then it started to get a little too bushy and we turned around.

We stopped for a while by the lake and Fannie and I admired the view.

After a bit we decided to take a walk on the northeast side of the lake. I noticed a lot of lilies starting to bloom but my photos didn’t turn out very good. Don’t believe me how bad the photo was?

But you’re in luck because here are some best from a previous year’s visit to this region of the same flower. I think it could be a very rare plant called the Shuteye Peak Wildlife Lily and known only to be found at Chiquito Ridge and Shuteye Peak in the San Joaquin River watershed. Their blooms don’t last very long and I feel bad showing you how pretty they are when they’ve probably finished blooming for the season.

Some of us turned around and went back to the west side of the lake and I found a great place to sit and have lunch. Others have found nice spots in the shade or on logs.

Fannie also had lunch.

Pretty cool lunch spot!

After being sated and rested for a bit, we headed back the same way we came in. Senior Sierra hikers rounded up the wagons so to speak, stalking with cold drinks and treats we brought.

I had Fannie on a leash all the way to the lake. There are rattlesnakes in this area and even though it was a cool day, I didn’t want her to run into one and get bitten. Fannie gets her rattlesnake vaccine booster every year and she just completed her refresher training in rattlesnake avoidance with snakeworx in Mariposa. For the past 2 decades or so I have taken my dogs through this training. Sally’s been there twice and the last time they didn’t think she needed to come back for an encore. Fannie was 6 months old at the time and they recommended that she come back for refresher training. Information on Snakeworx is below (including their schedule) and they shared that they plan to be back in Mariposa to train in December. Here is a short video of Fannie during her training although I missed the video from the first station. You might like to see what’s involved.

Canine hike?

I think this could be a good dog hike, but be aware of creatures in this area such as rattlesnakes, bears, deer, coyotes, and others that a dog could get tangled up with. This area can be swampy at different times and I would be careful not to let your dog drink from standing water.

The Sierra National Forest has a short article titled Canine Camper that you can access here. Even though it’s not classified as a wilderness area, here’s what they have on their website:

Pets are allowed in the wild areas. You are responsible for their actions and their well-being. Pets must be leashed or under direct voice control. When camping in areas with other visitors, pets must be leashed. Wilderness visitors planning to travel to an adjacent national park should be aware that national parks do not allow pets.

We ask the public to remember these rules when taking pets into the wild.

  • Bury feces.
  • Do not tie dogs up or leave them unattended.
  • Don’t let dogs hunt wildlife.
  • Leave hostile or noisy dogs at home.

Doarama:

What is a Doarama? This is a video playback of the GPS track superimposed on an interactive 3-dimensional map. If you “grab” the map, you can tilt or rotate it and look at it from different angles. With the bunny and turtle buttons you can also speed it up, slow it down or pause it.

Chilkoot Doarama Lake Hike

Map and profile:

CALTOPO has a few free options for mapping and here is a link to my hike this week: CALTOPO: Hike to Chilkoot Lake

Hike with Fannie to Chilkoot Lake Topographic Map

Hike with Fannie at Chilkoot Lake USFS Map

Hike with Fannie at Chilkoot Lake Profile

Previous blogs in the region:

Hike to Little Shuteye Peak June 14, 2017

Sources:

Crane Valley Hydroelectric Generating Stations Hydroreview

CPUC Project Description Crane Valley Project

Shuteye Peak Faun Lily California Native Plant Society

Peakbagger from Little Shuteye Peak

snakeworx