May 31, 2020

Trip Length: 7 Hikes
State: CA
Distance: 17.6 mi
Gain: 4,450 ft
Peaks: 8

Carson-Iceberg Wilderness
Stanislaus National Forest

Hike 1
Hike 2
Hike 3
Hike 4
Hike 5
Hike 6
Hike 7

Inspiration Point

2.7 Miles, 700 Gain

7,940 ft
440 ft

Inspiration Point is a short hike from Silver Valley Campground off of Highway 4 near Bear Valley. The campground and trailhead were still closed for the season, so I started from the highway and walked through the campground until I found the trailhead. There was patchy snow on the trail, but that cleared up as soon as I started up the north ridge of Inspiration Point. I followed a use trail past some volcanic outcrops, which led to a dog-friendly slope on the east side of the ridge. From the summit, there was a good view of many of the peaks in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.

Osborn Hill

1.4 Miles, 350 Gain

7,816 ft
236 ft

Osborn Hill is a short hike off of Highway 4. The Silvertip Campground was still closed, so I parked in a small pullout near the road. I followed a well-used trail that led up to the summit. The views were not as good as they had been on Inspiration Point, but I was able to see most of the route along Bloods Ridge that I planned to visit next.

Corral Ridge

6.4 Miles, 1400 Gain

8,495 ft
515 ft
8,180 ft
240 ft

The primary reason I had planned a trip to the area was to visit the Calaveras County Highpoint, which is located atop Corral Ridge above the town of Bear Valley. I parked in a large empty lot at the Bear Valley Ski Area and continued up an access road that is used to service the ski lifts. Along the way, I passed over the highpoint of Bloods Ridge, which has several large ski lifts and a communications building near the summit.

Corral Ridge, Calaveras County Highpoint

Continuing along the ridge, I descended a clearing in the forest that would normally be a ski run earlier in the year. I followed a road along the ridge before heading through the forest to find the highpoint. I found a small cairn at the highpoint, which had an old Gatorade bottle that held the summit register. There was a jumble of paper stuffed inside the bottle, so I didn’t bother to sign in. After taking a short break, I continued to nearby Point 8170, which was slightly lower but had a much better view of the surrounding area. Mokelumne Peak and the Mokelumne Tetons stood out prominently on the opposite side of the valley. In the distance, I could see Round Top and the impressive Mokelumne River gorge. After enjoying the views, I followed my same route back to the car.

Elephant Rock

2.0 Miles, 750 Gain

7,425 ft
165 ft

To reach Elephant Rock, I followed the main forest service road coming in from the south until it eventually ended at Elephant Rock Lake. A trail led past the lake before continuing over to Elephant Rock. From there, I found a dog-friendly route up some granite slabs that led to the east side of the peak. I had my dog wait near an old campfire circle at the base of the peak, then continued around the north side following a use trail. The trail ended near a narrow ledge that led to a short but enjoyable Class 3 scramble up to the summit.

Narrow ledge leading to the final scramble up to the summit.

Sapps Hill

1.1 Miles, 350 Gain

7,307 ft
367 ft

There were several other named and unnamed peaks along the road that I had used to reach Elephant Rock, so I did a short hike to reach each of them on the drive out. Sapps Hill was the first of these. I parked near the junction of a dirt road, then continued directly through the forest toward the summit. There was a small clearing at the summit, but not much in the way of views.

Peak 6963

3.0 Miles, 600 Gain

6,963 ft
303 ft

I continued a bit further down the road and found another pull-off near a small unnamed lake. To reach Peak 6963, I descended through a forested section to reach Corral Meadow. The meadow was still pretty damp this time of year, and I passed it on the outskirts before heading through the forest in the general direction of the peak. After a brief section of bushwhacking near the summit, I found the summit boulder in a clearing overlooking Highland Creek.

Peak 6900

1.0 Miles, 300 Gain

6,900 ft
298 ft

To reach the final peak of the day, Peak 6900, I parked just off the main road near an old campfire circle. I followed some orange flagging through the forest, likely put in place by hunters. I passed several small ponds before reaching a clearing at the summit. There were minimal views from the summit, although I could make out nearby Sapps Hill and Peak 6963 that I had just visited.