Friday, July 22, 2016

Dinkey Creek Area And Courtright Reservoir Part I

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Tower On Top Of Bald Mountain

Before you get to Shaver Lake on Highway 168, there is a turnoff called Dinkey Creek Road. Heading east, you will come to the resort area of Dinkey Creek. If you look to your left you can see Bald Mountain with the lookout tower on top. Along the way there are several turn offs for off highway vehicles (OHV) that follow old logging roads. Probably the most traveled logging road off Dinkey Creek will take you to the trailhead for the Dinkey Lakes loop in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. Tom Harrison has a relatively new map developed for this area. Once at the trailhead the route is fairly straightforward with a vigorous hike to this lakes chain.

There is a fork in the road just before Dinkey Creek and taking the road to the right, you will find yourself crossing Dinkey Creek on McKinley Grove Road. This road essentially ends at Wishon Reservoir. Between Dinkey Creek and Wishon Reservoir is the McKinley Grove of Giant Sequoias. It is one of two Sequoia Groves in Fresno County (Grant Grove this the other grove). It is well worth the stop to wander under these stately giants. In the spring of the year, there are many dogwood trees in bloom including Dogwoods among the Sequoias.

My Truck Provides Perspective
McKinley Grove With Dogwoods In The Spring

Before you get to Wishon Reservoir, there is a left turn off to Courtright Reservoir (elevation about 8,000’) on Courtright Way. This is about an eight-mile climb to the north. Before you drop down to the reservoir, there is a vista pullout on the right with a view of the LeConte Divide and the prominent Mt. Goddard (elevation about 13,560’) to the east.

 Mt. Goddard

 Bald Eagle

When you are near the lake, take the road that heads toward and across the dam. Cross the dam. At the end of this road you will see the sign for the Maxon Trailhead that leads towards Kings Canyon past Hobler Lake and eventually over Hell For Sure Pass. There are also opportunities for fishing and day hikes. The infamous 33 mile Dusy Ershim trail begins in this location. The trail travels north and ends at White Bark near Kaiser Pass. It would be easier to hike the trail than drive it!

I recently drove up from Fresno CA and enjoyed the route taking photographs along the way. I especially enjoyed sitting at the south end of the lake and taking photographs of passing Ospreys and Bald Eagles. It is so good to see this beautiful high Sierra reservoir full again. I have biked this route from Dinkey Creek and during the week, there is not a great deal of traffic for cyclists. The trip back is quite a bit faster that the climb up!

Here is a day hike to Hobler Lake.

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