Hike the Skelton Creek Trail to the Blue Glory Mine
The Skelton Creek Historic Trail appears on maps in the 1850’s and on the way down it was right up my alley. Tons of history in this area and I always learn something new while hiking with the Sierra Hiking Seniors, a friendly group of hikers.
Where: Sierra National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Private Property
Distance: 4.62 miles
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Altitude range: 2,867′ – 3,711′
Elevation Gain: 1,156′
Date: March 11, 2022
CALTOPO: Skelton Creek Trail Hike to Blue Glory Mine
Canine hike? May be
I went hiking in an area I had never hiked before with the Sierra Hiking Seniors. We met in the Jerseydale area near the trailhead on Best Road, about 0.06 miles from the Scott Road intersection. Rather than share a detailed routing, I suggest you check out the CALTOP link to better help you. There is no sign at the trailhead and we tried to limit the number of vehicles, parking in small areas off the dirt roads. Parking along the dirt road and trailhead runs alongside private property and we tried to minimize our presence.
This hike with the Sierra Hiking Seniors was led by Sharon Giacomazzi and Linda Shepler. It had been a while since I hung out with these two wonderful ladies and jumped at the chance to be with them on an adventure. Sharon is a bestselling author, having traveled more miles than I can imagine. She is the author of several books on hiking in our area and if you are unfamiliar with her books, Trails and Tales of Yosemite and the Central Sierra is a good starting point. The books include hikes but also tons of history and stories about the area. Throughout our hike, I loved listening to him tell even more stories about the area we live in.
But she wasn’t the only author of our hike. Lori Oliver-Tierney’s book Trudge: A Midlife Crisis on the John Muir Trail shares his personal journey while hiking the John Muir Trail. Her book biography: “Lori Oliver-Tierney is every woman with a dream. She is fifty years old, asthmatic, overweight, with arthritic knees. And like many married women with children, she got lost. . . . But at the end of the first day, Lori realizes she may have made a huge mistake.
Lots of interesting people on this hike that I walked the trail with. The trail had a past life as a dirt road which made walking quite easy.
At the trailhead there was a box with pamphlets prepared by Mariposa Trails on the Skelton Creek trail. Mariposa Trails is a local volunteer organization that provides access to trails and promotes their use for adventure, health, stewardship, education, and community prosperity. Many trees had fallen on this trail from the Ferguson fire and beetle kills and drought. What a wonderful thing they have done to clear this trail! They do a lot of trail maintenance on the trails in this area and welcome donations to help with the costs. If you click on the copies of the document below, they will become larger.
And we continued on this historic trail which is one of the oldest trails in this area, predating the Southfork trail to the Peachtree Bar by 25 to maybe 40 years. This is one of the few trails that appears on a Surveyors General map first published in 1855. Imagine the mining activity that took place in this area at the time, and so many trails leading from communities mining operations and the people who supported them. But I think many of these trails predate these maps and miners, used by Native Americans for eons before that.
Baby blue eyes lined the path in a sunny spot.
We quickly reached the location of the mining area associated with the Blue Glory mine, probably first developed in the mid-1920s. Sharon shared research that Steve Garland had shared with her on this gold mine. This closed mine appears to have been last mined by Richard Muller in the early 1980s and had rails for the ore cart to unload its load, a twin pad mill and an arastra for crushing the ore . It is an interesting mine because if you take your time you can see old mining equipment which includes buffers, camshafts, an old tractor/grader and other mysterious pieces of equipment.
We crossed the creek to learn more about the mine. There are many old mining remains in this area and you should be very careful in your wanderings around these places. A mine or tunnel could collapse and you also need to be careful of the gases coming out of it. I don’t go inside these old mines because the old beams might collapse, burying you in the mine.
After a snack, we hiked up the trail, with some in our group taking a trail to the Cascades. I was hearing an interesting story from Sharon about the Merced River Canyon and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.
After our hike, the group reunited to enjoy their lunch and other goodies brought in to share with everyone. A fun conversation was on the way!
We made sure to take plenty of drinking water with us. We didn’t see any rattlesnakes on our hike but they are there! The Blue Glory Mine Trail to Devil’s Gulch is unmaintained and not recommended for use. I have accompanied the Sierra Hiking Seniors on a few hikes over the years and they are a fun group of hikers of all speeds. They walk on Mondays and Fridays, posting a schedule and weekly emails about their hikes. If you would like to join them on a hike or receive their emails with information about upcoming hikes, you can contact Fran Goss at [email protected]
Our hike was a no-dog hike, but you may be able to take your dog there if your dog is fine. The trek is conducted by private properties and we must be respectful of their property. There are plenty of rattlesnakes in this area, as well as being mountain lion country, as well as other wildlife you might encounter. I’m not sure how well Skelton Creek works in dry years, so you may need to pack dog water during those times.
Here are the Sierra National Forest rules for pets on their website:
Pets are allowed in the wild areas. You are responsible for their actions and their well-being. Pets must be leashed or under direct voice control. When camping in areas with other visitors, pets must be leashed. Wilderness visitors planning to travel to an adjacent national park should be aware that national parks do not allow pets.
We ask the public to remember these rules when taking pets into the wild.
- Bury feces.
- Do not tie dogs up or leave them unattended.
- Don’t let dogs hunt wildlife.
- Leave hostile or noisy dogs at home.
For more information on Sierra National Forest Pets, please click on the following link: Canine Camper
What is a Doarama? This is a video playback of the GPS track superimposed on an interactive 3-dimensional map. If you “grab” the map, you can tilt or rotate it and look at it from different angles. With the bunny and turtle buttons you can also speed it up, slow it down or pause it.
Hike the Skelton Creek Trail to the Blue Glory Doarama Mine
Cards and profile:
CALTOPO has a few free options for mapping and here is a link to my hike this week: CALTOPO: Skelton Creek Trail Hike to Blue Glory Mine
Blue Glory Mine Excavations
Previous blogs in the region:
Hiked the Hite’s Cove trail with wildflowers and newts March 21, 2022
Hite’s Cove Hike: It’s Poppy Season! March 23, 2021
Hiked from Savage Trading Post to Hite Cove Trail April 15, 2018
Hike from Indian Flat to Hite Cove April 21, 2017
Hike from Indian Flat to Old Hite Mine January 15, 2016
Hite Cove Wildflower Hite March 22, 2015
Hiking the Savage Lundy Trail March 7, 2015
Hike with the Sierra Newt to see the wildflowers at Hite Cove March 22, 2014
Hite Cove Wildflower Hike – Part 1 March 18, 2013
Hite Cove Wildflower Hike – Part 2 March 18, 2013