Back to index Summit City Canyon (via Evergreen Trail) Hike
Trip Date:  09/30/2016

: 11.6 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1700'

Group Size: 4

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Summit City Evergreen Route
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Summit City Evergreen Hike Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 38.446, W 119 57.300     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to Blue Lakes road and turn south.  Follow the road for a little more than 15 miles to the parking area on the left between the two lakes.    After 11 1/2 miles the road turns to the north, and becomes dirt for the last few miles.   Park near the trailhead sign for the Evergreen Trail just at the north end of Upper Blue Lake.
Hazards of Note:   A relatively unused trail will require hikers to be aware of a good chance of wildlife encounters with many types of creatures.
Crowd Factor:   Negligible.  The only potential chance of running into other people on this trail might be an occasional hunter early on the trail.  Past the junction up to 4th of July Lake you will most likely not encounter anyone as far into the canyon as you wish to explore.
General Notes:
From the parking area head west on the Evergreen trail, which will gradually head up about 300 feet before beginning a relatively steep drop over about a mile of more than 1700' in elevation toward the canyon floor.  Most of this trek is through forest and along the old jeep trail which used to be accessible into the canyon.  There is one water crossing in the first mile that could be a bit tenuous in early spring and summer or after a heavy rainfall, but otherwise this trail stays to the north side of the creek all the way down to the turnaround point far ahead.  
Once the trail nears the canyon floor, there are spectacular views to the south toward Deadwood Peak, and the granite protrusion that extends about a mile to the north of the peak.  As you continue down the trail you will meet up with the junction of the Forestdale Divide Trail which dropped down the north side of the canyon walls, and then less than a half mile further west is a second trail junction.  This one has a trail which splits back to the north, and heads up to Fourth of July Lake, and eventually Round Top Lake 2000' above the canyon floor.
Past this junction the trail becomes very remote, and winds slowly toward the south west as it follows the canyon down toward the Horse Canyon Trail junction at the 5 and a half mile mark.  This was our turnaround point, after we wandered about a third of a mile past to check out a great camping location right next to the water.  Camp Irene, a main stop along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail is 8 miles past the Horse Canyon junction.  

The trailhead for Evergreen Trail, right at the entrance to the Upper Blue Lake Campground at the north and of Upper Blue Lake. Trailhead marker
Greg and Mark at the start of the trail, heading up into the early forested section of the hike.  Starting up the trail 
Yours truly at the Mokelumne Wilderness sign less than a half mile into the hike. Entering the Mokelumne Wilderness 
a great view of Deadwood Peak presents itself to the south about a mile into the hike.  The peak is in the middle of the picture, and the lighter granite outcropping to the right is an extension peak north of Deadwood. View of Deadwood Peak 
Dropping down to the canyon floor the trees thicken up, hiding the great views of the back of Round Top which will be visible in the next mile. Valley floor
The piles of rocks along the trail between junctions show some evidence of the old mining community which numbered 600 people at its peak.  Everything else has been washed away by massive thaws which have occured since then. Mining evidence 
Junction signs along the way have seen lots of tough winters, and the rock bases are all that are keeping them upright these days.   Junction sign Junction sign
Through the breaks in the trees you can see 3000' up to the back of Round Top mountain, the tallest in the Mokelumne Wilderness at over 10K feet.   Back of Round Top
Tracey pointing out the sign indicating the original site of Summit City.  Historians have since speculated that this is actually in the incorrect location, but it is still a fascinating historical location.  Hard to imagine a bustling community of 600 people this far into a remote location. Summit City Site
Looking south into Devil's Corral, a granite lined area with a large corral-type area 1000' feet above the canyon floor. Devil's Corral
In early fall this area has some pretty spectacular colors with all of the Aspen along the way.   Fall colors
Along the trail we passed some pretty impressive trees which dwarf my hiking partners Greg and Mark. Impressive tree
Looking back the way we came you can see Round Top in the far distance, and the unnamed peak closer that the Fourth of July Trail heads up between. Back toward Round Top
At the trail junction at Horse Canyon the marker post has been shredded.  Possibly by a bear, but more likely by someone with a hatchet as it was splintered on all sides.   Horse Canyon Trail junction
On the way back we found a great lunch spot below Devil's Corral which had unblocked views of the impressive granite walls on both sides of us. Lunch spot below Devil's Corral
This is a close up of Round Top, showing the gully and the final climb up to the peak that our group has made numerous times in the past.   Close up of Round Top
Our group making the long climb back up toward the trailhead from the canyon floor, a gain of about 1700' in a little over a mile and a half. Almost to the end
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike