Back to index Plasse's Trading Post/Allen Camp Hike
Trip Date:  05/27/2015

: 12.9 Miles

Vertical Gain: 2000'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Plasse's Trading Post Route
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Plasse's Trading Post Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 38.087, W 120 08.494     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to the south end of Silver Lake, and turn east into the Mud Lake Trailhead parking area.  It is directly across the road from one of the Tragedy Springs access points.  Follow this road for about 2/10 of a mile, and then turn right into the paved parking area for the trail.  
Hazards of Note:   Bears, 4WD vehicles, and some discerning of the faded sections of the Carson Emigrant National Historic Trail.

Crowd Factor:   Moderate.   About 2/3 of this trek is on OHV roads, so there may be vehicle traffic on the way.   However, high clearance 4WD is necessary to navigate this area, so it should be minimal.  
General Notes:
From the parking area head back out to the road you came in on and turn at the Mud Lake Trailhead sign.  You will follow this dirt road upward for about 1/2 a mile, and then it will slope down a bit until you hit Porthole Gap.  Stop and take a look at the view from this location, as it is spectacular.  This is a camping area as well for hikers and OHV enthusiasts, and you may run into some here.  Continue on the trail, as it heads up for the next mile before eventually dropping down in elevation as you near Allen Camp.  This large meadow area is very scenic and tranquil, and you will have momentary views to the south and the towering Mokelumne Peak.  Past Allen Camp you will either continue on the dirt road all the way to Squaw Ridge, or you will find a junction that will take you a mile up directly to Plasse's Trading Post location.  If you continue on the OHV road, at the ridge you will find a sign pointing to the west for about a 1/4 downhill trek to the Plasse site.
From here head back down to Allen Camp via either trail, and then when you get to the camp continue through on the road that bends west past the old buildings.  The road will continue, and then when it suddenly bends to the north (right,) this is where you will need to head left to stay on the Carson Emigrant trail.  It is very difficult to discern at this point, but rock cairns will help guide you.  The next mile and a half is over this lightly-used trail, which guides you through forest and past basalt and granite rocks.  Eventually you will come to an intersection with an OHV road which heads off to the right, but you will continue straight for another mile until you reach a meadow where Mud Lake is just visible at the far end.  You can find a junction (Long Valley Trail) a little further up the trail past the meadow to head to the lake, or just continue on the actual Mud Lake trail until it gets you back to Porthole Gap.  Then head north (left) to finish the last mile back to the parking area.


This sign at the parking area is the beginning of the trek. Starting point
At Porthole Gap, which has a very nice view overlooking Silver Lake and Thunder Mountain, you will find this junction sign.  Do not head the Mud Lake direction, but that is the way you will come back if making this a loop. First junction 
Part of the expansive view you will get from the Porthole gap location. View
Stopped for a quick selfie at Porthole Gap. Yours truly
Some very rustic and no longer functional (or safe) cabins which are near Porthole Gap. Old cabins 
A nice view of Mokelumne Peak greets you along the way as you round a bend and look south. View of Mokelumne
Allen Camp meadow area is large and idyllic with gentle mountains all around.  To the south you can just make out the location you will eventually reach for the site of Plasse's Trading Post. Allen Camp Meadow
Some of the still intact Allen Camp buildings that are undoubtedly still in use over the summer given the heavy locks on all the doors and windows. Some of the Allen Camp buildings
One of the Allen Camp buildings no longer in use, for obvious reasons. Another building
The junction sign on the OHV trail as you reach the top of Squaw Ridge.  The mileages are off, a little bit, as the Plasse Site wasn't even a 1/5 of a mile away. Junction on Squaw Ridge
One of the interesting historical information markers that line the Carson Emigrant trail all along the way. Historical Marker
Plasse's Trading Post site, along with a great view of Mokelumne Peak. Plasse's site
The section of the Carson Emigrant Trail west of Allen Camp is difficult to discern at times, but well worth the effort for the feel of the settlers and their journey from long ago. Difficult to discern trail
Even so, it's nice to see these every so often along the trail to know that you are going the right direction. Verification
Testaments to man's ability to leave garbage anywhere. Old litter
Found another Carson Emigrant Trail marker very close to Mud Lake in the distance. Mud Lake marker
Looking across the meadow from the trail for a glimpse of the east end of Mud Lake. Mud Lake
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike