Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pole Creek--Photographer's Point

An impressive ride with gorgeous meadows, wildflowers, water features, stunning vistas, amazing evergreen forests.  The trailhead is easily accessible on paved road about 30 minutes from Pinedale.  It has some easy soft dirt, but plenty of rocks and mudholes.  Horses need boots or shoes unless they are super great barefoot.  Elevation goes up to over 10,000 feet and we encountered some snow patches even in July.  Probably good riding from July until the first snow. The trail starts at the car parking lot at Elkhart Park.

(click on any photo to open enlarged images)

Two options for parking.

Riding into the parking area.  There are even a few campsites right next to it and some horse corrals.  Camping fees are $7 per night.

Topo map track of our ride on July 18, 2017.

Total mileage to "The Point" is about 5.5, making about 11 miles round trip.  Elevation change 9,281' to 10,322'.  Trail conditions:  Dirt about 30%, moderately rocky 65%, extremely rocky, 10%, mudholes, 5%.

View from the "Main" livestock parking area.
Paved livestock parking area.

The forests just go on and on...

And on...

The first little meadow
Most of trail was like this.

Pond at about 3.5 miles in.

Trail intersection.  Keep to the left for Photographer's Point.  About 1.5 miles further.

Pond at about 4.5 miles in
The trees are spectacular.

Looking out from the Point.  We think the lake in the distance is Suicide Lake.
Panorama taken of the view by Teisha Preece
The "pond" at the "Point".  It even had frogs.
Another view at the Point.

And still another....Fremont Peak.

Time to head back.  It took us about 2 hours from Point to Parking Lot.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kelly Park

These beautiful trails are right near Sweeney Creek.  See that post for more information.  There are water features, sagebrush hills, wildflowers, meadows, grand forests and lots of grass and soft dirt.  Great for barefoot horses. Kelly Park is a well known mecca for cross country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter.  There are places at the beginning of the doubletrack to pull off for dispersed camping.  The road deteriorates rapidly up higher.  
(Click on any photo to see enlarged images.)

This is Kelly Park Meadow right where the Fortification trail joins it. We were stopped by deadfall as we attempted Fortification.

Kelly Park parking area.  Right off the paved road and 20 minutes from Pinedale.

Paved Kelly Park parking area.  Room for about 5 rigs.

This was our track on May 30, 2017.  We parked at Sweeney Creek trailhead, hoping to connect to Kelly Park and cross the road.  However, the intermittent creek was too deep and swampy to cross over at the Kelly Park trailhead. We wandered through the forest, doing some serious bushwhacking ending up on some forest service roads.  Total ride was about 6 miles.

Sweeney Creek Parking areas

Looking back on the Sweeney Creek parking area.

This is the creek that was too high to cross safely on May 30, 2017.

Nice forest.

Most of the riding was on soft dirt like this.

Some majestic lodgepole pines.
This is heading out on the graded forest service road.  It was quite hard and gravelly. We avoided it when possible.

Headed back to the Sweeney trailhead and a crossing over the intermittent creek.  This one was passable.

On June 10, we parked at Kelly Park Trailhead and explored some of those trails.  About 7 miles of fantastic riding.
Riding just above the Kelly Park double track.  Wildflowers galore!

The double track ends up in a meadow.  On June 10, it was boggy and wet all over.

Boggy, but Wow on the wildflowers!

Much of the doubletrack looked like this.

...and this.

That's Fremont Lake in the far distance.
We attempted the trail connecting to Sweeney Creek, but ran into impassable deadfall.

Some fun trail markers.

The trail wound back to a creek and the paved road about 1.5 miles from where we parked.  We turned right (North) and followed another nice trail for about 1.5 miles more, but were stopped again by deadfall.

This trail will definitely need more exploring.  So beautiful!