Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sweeney Creek

May 2018 update!  Most of the trail is like this.

  It's only a 17 minute drive to the trailhead from Pinedale and NO dirt roads involved.  It has mountain vistas, lush evergreen forests, water features (lakes and creeks), meadows of wildflowers and open sagebrush hills. We shared the trail with a couple of hikers in May, but the only ATVs we saw were during hunting season in October. In June, 2017, extensive rock blasting and road grading was going on.  There were numerous sharp rocks, but most were avoidable.  Google Map "Sweeney Creek" for directions.   At .79 miles in on the doubletrack, the trails separate.  Keep to the right for the Grouse Mountain/Half Moon Ridge portion. See the separate post on that.  Keep to the left for the North Sweeney Creek. ( The trail connecting to Kelly Park was cleared last fall.)

(Click on any photo for enlarged image.  Some photos courtesy of Teisha Preece)

Parking area. The first is graveled and graded with a great view of Half Moon Lake.  The 2nd area has been used for parking in the past, but as of August, 2017 has been "rocked" off. The pink line is a rocky trail from the parking lot.  The blue line is a "short cut" along the road.  

Our track on May 22, 2017.  7.66 miles.  Elevation= 7,979' to 8,468'.  Trail conditions:  90% dirt doubletrack with about 60% of that somewhat rocky.       This track went up the North trail, then back to the turn off to the Ridge trail.  Downfall blocked any further progress on that trail at that time.  It was cleared later in the season.

 Parking area with the view of Half Moon.

  Parking area, room for many rigs with plenty of turn around space.  No rest room.

 There are still some rocky spots like this.  A barefoot horse in reasonably good condition will have no problem.  Not nearly as much snow as in 2017.  Photo taken May 16, 2018.

Off the path in the forest. May 22, 2017

Place where snow covered the trail May 22, 2017.

Much of the trail looks like this.

And some parts are like this.

Some of the trail is like this, but thankfully not much.

May 27, 2017, still snow in many spots.

Off the path, May 22, 2017

This is the North "trail" higher up on June 20, 2017. This is just past the boundary where motorized vehicles are not allowed.  At least the snow was gone.

The beautiful meadow we stopped at June 20, 2017.  This area is probably the most gorgeous of the North Sweeney Creek portion.   A big change from the May rides. The flies and mosquitoes were bothersome, but not too bad.

June 20, 2017, Sweeney Creek by the meadow in the photo above.

No snow left anywhere on the North Trail, June 20.

On the Sweeney-Kelly Park connector trail, July 14, 2018

This is a track we did on July 14, 2018.  About 6.8 miles.  The red circles are where we ran into deadfall.  The pink circle is a faint trail going up Grouse Mountain, and most likely dead ends.  The Yellow circle is the Sweeney-Kelly Park connector.  The white circle is where we crossed the road and a small creek to follow a cross country ski trail, cross the creek again and back to the parking lot.

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