Back to index Salt Springs Reservoir Hike
Trip Date:  11//02/2018

: 10.3 Miles

Vertical Gain: 2100'

Group Size: 2
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
Salt Springs Reservoir Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Salt Spring Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 29.919, W 120 13.055     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to Ellis Rd in Amador County.  Head south until you see the signs for Salt Springs Reservoir.  It is a long drive of nearly an hour from Highway 88 to the parking area.
Hazards of Note:   Rocky trail on sections of this trek.  Getting to the trail from the trailhead requires a scramble up part of the cement near the north side of the dam.  Frequently extremely windy in the afternoon blowing in from the east.  Rattlesnakes are frequently seen at the lower elevation of the Mokelumne Wilderness.

Crowd Factor:   Light.   This is a long distance from any other trailhead and the destinations are somewhat limited for going far into the Mokelumne Wilderness.
General Notes:
From the parking area you will need to find the trail by scrambling up the cement near the north edge of the dam, or head down the access road on the east side of the dam and look for a good use trail up to the main trail from there.  The trail stays fairly close to the north side of the reservoir for most of the journey, occasionally diving into the forest before emerging again with continual view up the lake.  As you follow the trail you can look back at great views of the Calaveras Dome granite to the south and west, towering above that side of the lake.  Near the end of the lake are a number of makeshift campsites, which have pleasant views back down the reservoir and the way you came in.  In general, for a fairly out of the way trail, this one is well constructed and part of the CCC work crew efforts in the 1930s.  They did quality work whereever they went.

Lots of good information about the history and conditions you can expect on this trek. Trailhead signs
Surprisingly enough, this was the climb up to find the trailhead from the parkign area. Accessing the trail
An early bridge along the trail. Early bridge
Looking east from early on the trek.  Despite feeling very remote, Bear Valley Ski area is just on the other side of the large hill in the distance. Looking east
Yours truly taking a break to admire the quality work put in to carve much of this trail out of the rock.
Along the way
Looking back toward the Southwest and the imposing Calaveras Dome of pure granite looming over the valley. Calaveras Dome
The nearby bear population apparently doesn't want anyone knowing you are now entering the Mokelumne Wilderness at this point. Wilderness Boundary
We couldn't help but stop and admire the amount of work breaking through solid rock was done to create this trail. Rockwork Rockwork
Nearing the end of the reservoir it was getting pretty warm out.  Not a lot of shade by this point in the hike. Continuing on
At our turnaround spot at the end of the reservoir we could see how low the lake was getting near the end of the summertime. Half empty
We found a number of campsites at this far end of the lake, including one with a personalized log in it. Carved Log
This spot was a pretty nice overnight location, with water, shade and places to sit all around. Nice spot
One more time, some really nice work done by the CCC team over 80 years before this trip to make the way accessible. Carved trail
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike