Back to index Spaulding Lake Trail to Fordyce Falls
Trip Date:  02/13/2015

: 10.1 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1350'

Group Size: 3

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Spaulding Lake Trail to Fordyce Falls Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Eagle Lakes & Fordyce Falls Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 39 20.504, W 120 38.952     End Coordinates:   Same as starting coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 80 to the Highway 20 turnoff a couple exits west of Cisco Grove.   Follow the road back under the freeway and continue on Highway 20 until you get to Highway 18, also known as Bowman Lake Road.   Stay on this road until you get to the parking coordinates indicated just a little before Fuller Lake.  
Hazards of Note:   After heavy rains there can be high water near the start of the trail.  Some of this old trail is not maintained well and is difficult to follow. Crowd Factor:   Limited.  Spaulding Lake is a popular summer location but the further out on the trail you go the less likely you are to run into anyone.
General Notes:
From the parking at the trailhead, walk around the gate and find a small sign indicating the Spaulding Lake Trail in a tree near the road.  Follow this wide dirt track for about 3/4 of a mile, past the inlet for the Zion Hill tunnel to your right as you cross a bridge over a cement flume.   Off to the left around a mile in is an open meadow, with an old picnic bench which has completely collapsed under the weight of many years of snow.  A detour was in place to take you around the excessive runoff from Fuller Lake a mile and a half into the trail, with hikers needing to crawl under a large water pipe and then immediately turning left to head across a bridge and find the trail again a little bit further up the pipe.   The next three miles has the trail parallelling the north side of Spaulding Lake, and once at the end of the lake the trail continues into forest for another mile until it comes out at Fordyce Falls at the turnaround point.

The trailhead sign for Spaulding Lake Trail right at the gate on the road. Trailhead sign
Making a water crossing at the small meadow north of the trail about a mile in. Meadow
A couple of semi-permanent detour signs routed us around some serious water coming down from Fuller Lake about 500 feet above us. Detours on the way 
Overflow from Fuller Lake high above which was the cause for the trail detours after three days (and 5 inches) of rain over the last week. Runoff from Fuller Lake
A couple of ways to get under the water pipe on the trail detour. Under the tube Under the tube
Make sure after crossing under the pipeline to find the trail across this bridge and before the pipeline starts to head upward. The bridge to cross right after the pipeline ducking section
Looking across Spaulding Lake toward Old Man Mountain in the distance. Old Man mountain
We took at slight detour off the trail down to the water to check out the old Spaulding Power plant. Spaulding Power Plant
Hiking partners along a section of the trail that we could actually follow easily.  Not always the case with this location due to water coursing down sections of trail making them indistinguishable from creeks. Hiking along the trail     
All along the trail after the recent rainfalls we had water crossings and interesting waterfalls off to the sides of our path. Water crossings everywhere
Another look across the lake, with ripples in the water from the significant inflow from Fuller Lake after the recent rains. Another look across the lake
Not quite sure what this was, but it was man-made and definitely had some time spent on it. Unknown structure along the lake
Another glimpse of the water coming across our path, and this point this actually was the trail. More water
Two of us enjoying lunch and checking out the mileage on our GPSs just above the Fordyce Falls location. Lunch spot at the falls
Our first look at the Fordyce Falls this trip.  Five inches of rain since we had visited a week before made a significant change in the look of the falls. Fordyce Falls
Our first look at the Fordyce Falls this trip.  Five inches of rain since we had visited a week before made a significant change in the look of the falls. Fordyce Falls before and today
Our hiking group at the base of Fordyce Falls. At the falls
Drinking filtered ice water out of the Fordyce Falls. Drinking ice water out of the falls
The bridge across the cement flume on the way back to the trailhead. Water Flume
The inlet to the Zion Hill tunnel at the end of the flume the bridge crosses over. Zion Hill Tunnel
GPX image of the hike. GPS track of hike