Friday, October 11, 2019

Soda Lake~~Habitat~~Aspen Loop

We were looking for an easier route to Spring Creek Park and discovered these trails accessible from north Soda Lake. It's another way of accessing Spring Creek Park, Lowline--Soda and Willow Lake, but a delightful short ride all in itself.  Park at the top of Soda Lake--driving in from the west is a better road. Please note human presence is only allowed May 1 through Nov. 30.

(Click on any photo to open enlarged images.)
Route to parking pullout from Pinedale.
Close up of parking.  There is a picnic table and fire pit.  So, as a camping spot, it may be in use during the summer season.  If so, there are other options further east on the road.
View from the parking pull out.
Easy lake access from the parking pull out to give the horses a drink.

One way to do the Habitat--Loop.  About 6.5 miles.  We did it counter-clock wise.  Nice trail.  Only about 3% rocky.

Track showing the Habitat connector AND the Lowline going into Spring Creek Park.  About 3.5 miles one way as compared to about 3 miles on the Forest Service Road and about 4 miles on the Lowline trail from Little Soda.  Refer to those posts for more information.  Trail conditions on this portion=60% soft dirt/grass; 30% dirt with some rocks; 10% moderately rocky.

Along the Habitat Trail on Nat'l Forest land.  As of October 2, 2019 there is a lot of fresh deadfall, but it is passable.

Along the Habitat Trail on Nat'l Forest land. This is the passage through one fence coming back towards the Habitat.

There are many of these signs within the Habitat along the trails and roads.

Looking west towards one of the Habitat ponds.

Road going north to connect with the trail.

Almost to the trail.  

The roadway looking west just before the gate out of the Habitat.

This is the correct gate to leave the Habitat and get on Forest Service land.

Along the Habitat connector trail.  Several little stream crossings.  Lots of aspen.

Along the Habitat connector trail.

Along the Habitat connector trail.

Taking the Southeast part of the "Loop" heading towards the Lowline.

Taking the Southeast part of the "Loop" heading towards the Lowline.
Large meadow on the trail connecting the Habitat and Lowline trails.

Taking the Southeast part of the "Loop" heading towards the Lowline.
Showing where to take the "Loop" from Aspen Meadow on the Lowline Trail.  Not marked and you really have to look for it.

West side of the Habitat Ponds.  Take a right turn as you come out of the gate back onto the Habitat.  This is another "loop" that will connect you back at the parking area eventually.

More along the West Habitat Loop.

More along the West Habitat Loop.  A nice stand of aspen great for a break.

More along the West Habitat Loop.

More along the West Habitat Loop, heading off the road east by the stand of aspen shown in the photo below.

Ponds at the southern end of the Habitat loop.  

Ponds at the southern end of the Habitat loop.  

Berm which we crossed over to the east to get back to parking area.  The signs below are near this part.

Yay, came right out in sight of the trailers!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Grand Teton--Hermitage Point Trail

 The Hermitage Point trails on Colter Bay, Jackson Lake looked like a good option on paper.  However, they had much more ascent/descent and rocks than we expected.  Definitely worth doing once if you are in the area.  Spectacular vistas of both lake and mountains and pleasant quiet forest riding.  If you are looking for autumn color, there is basically none. We parked at the Cabin Road overflow parking lot.  Park personnel told us we could park anywhere in Colter Bay area where our rigs could fit and didn't block traffic. (except where prohibited or noted otherwise.) The horse corrals have a small parking lot, but I assume they want it for horse rental customers during that season.  When the season closes about the third week in September they close the road.
Showing Cabin Road overflow.  It is "drive through"--no place to turn around and depending on time of year may be crowded.

Track for September 26, 2019.  Total mileage=13.3; Elevation=6,522' to 6,909'.  Ascent/Descent=1,630'  Trail conditions=40% hard pack dirt with gravel; 35% moderately rocky with hard pack dirt; 15% soft dirt; 10% very rocky.  The trail system may be extremely confusing unless you have a good map.  Some examples are shown below.  I took a photo with my phone and referred to it while on the trail.  

First choice of trails.  We opted to do the COUNTER clock wise loop  (keeping to the right) and that was an excellent decision because the views and trails were better.  If we were to do it again, we'd go both DOWN and BACK on the west part of the loop and then add in the other loop over to Swan Lake from Heron Pond.

Typical of much of the trail.

Just approaching Heron Pond.

Heron Pond

The western portion did have its share of downfall, but all of it was passable.  This particular one we found a way around.

More of the forest.

Typical of a good portion of the trails...rocky.

Some spectacular views just before getting to the "bottom" of the peninsula.
Taken on the eastern side.

This is typical of about a third of the eastern portion...sagebrush and rocks.  There are some views of Jackson lake and wetlands, but almost none of the mountains.

Eastern portion

Eastern part with a view of Third Creek.

Swan Lake view.  This is worth seeing.

A couple of forest portions where the trees are SOOOO straight.

This is our view of the horse corrals as we came back.  The horse rental operation stopped about 10 days ago and the "ROAD CLOSED" sign prevented us from parking here.  We were able to park in the Cabin Road overflow parking area, which is about 1/3 mile from the corrals where we found the access trail.