Sunday, April 2, 2017

Millerton Lake: Pincushion Mountain Day Hike From Finegold Day Use Area

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Hike Route From Suunto Ambit 2 Upload To Movescount

This is about a 2.7 mile round trip out and back trail with about 1,112’ of elevation gain outbound. Pincushion Mountain is 1,582’ in elevation with the trailhead elevation around 580’. The trailhead is at the end of Sky Harbor Road off Friant Road next to the Table Mountain Casino. The trail is initially the same trail as the San Joaquin River Trail but departs toward Pincushion Mountain at about 950’ of elevation. The climb is steep at times.

 We were out over 4 hours traveling at a slow pace with frequent stops for photographs and “sit downs” on boulders. This is a good time of year for this hike while things are still green, cool and relatively bug free. I have one cautionary note. There is poison oak along the trail. Watch where you put your hands in the few places you need to scramble! Also watch out for mountain bikers who also use this trail.

As you climb Millerton Lake looks less like a lake and more like a river, which it is, the San Joaquin River. There several bends and twists up stream as the river trends northeast. Boats can be seen traveling below. When the water is higher (Millerton is intentionally being lowered to make room for snow melt runoff), boats can travel beyond the wider Temperance Flat area.

When you reach the top, there is a 360-degree view with the main body of Millerton Lake to the southwest. Finegold Creek can be seen entering from the north. My photographs were taken with the Sony A7R2, Batis 18mm, adapted Leica 28mm and adapted Canon 400mm lenses. I was hoping for Eagle Photographs. That lens is heavy!

 Buzzards Warming Themselves In The Morning Sun
 Sharon Standing By Trailhead Sign

 Now You Know What Poison Oak Looks Like

 Telephoto Shot Of Table Area Accessible From Sky Harbor Road 

 Finegold Creek

 Sharon Preparing For The Final Climb

 Millerton Lake

 Telephoto Shot Of Mountains
 Telephoto Of Dam
 San Joaquin River Trail
 Telephoto Of Black Mountain Above Prather
 Vernal Pool On Distant Table Top
Telephoto Of Historic Millerton Courthouse


  1. Dale- good to bump into you and Sharon this day! I got a good shot of you two from afar on the trail.
    Let me know if you'd like to have it- I couldn't find an email here.

    I'll see you on the trails!
    ( sorry if this came through twice? I guess I had to log in before sending a post perhaps? )

  2. Brett,
    Likewise. I thought my contact email displayed at the top of the blog. It is and yes, I would like the photo since I rarely take a photo of myself. Have you met Troy at REI yet? He is a trail monster. I could not keep up with him even if I were back in my 20's. Hope to see you at higher elevations as the snow melts and I continue to recover from my anemia. My big day hike goal this year is Red Lake below Split Top Mountain in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. I have never seen a more beautiful mountain.