Off the beaten path – Two interpretive trails to experience before the snow hits |

Off the beaten path – Two interpretive trails to experience before the snow hits

Thank you to everyone who wrote in about the interpretive trails story we ran last month. It is gratifying to see a community so dedicated to preserving outdoor educational environments.

Here are two more interpretive trails, more off the beaten path, to enjoy before the snow settles in.

Loney Meadow Trail

Length: 1.0 mile loop

Sitting at a crisp 6,000 feet, Loney Meadow nestles into a high valley near Bowman Lake. Hiking in from the trailhead you may hear an odd sound: the persistent ringing of bells. When you crest the small rise around the valley, not only will you be greeted by a surprisingly large high mountain meadow, you’ll see cattle.

Grazed for over a century, the meadow is undergoing an ecological restoration and is home also to a wide variety of birds and wildlife.

Seemingly incongruous, the cattle with their bells and this beautiful high meadow provide a glimpse of co-habitation between the wild and the domesticated.

Take a camera and binoculars and go at the end of the day. The peaks surrounding the meadow, the light and the elevation are a photographer’s treat.

Directions: Highway 20 to Bowman Road. Follow Bowman approximately 10 miles to the end of the pavement, continue on gravel road, turn right at Loney Meadow sign, drive .75 miles up to parking area. Note: this road is not recommended for low clearance vehicles.

Pierce Creek Wetlands Trail

Length: approximately 1.0 Ð 1.5 miles

With anything but an OHV, this interpretive trail is definitely out of the way. On the other hand, that means your chance of meeting other hikers is highly unlikely.

Walk from the parking area steeply downhill for .5 miles and you’ll come to the Pierce Creek Trail. At around 5,000 feet, this rare Sierra wetland is surrounded by dense forest and evidence of glacial activity.

The interpretive signs encourage visitors to stop and listen – but the real treat is feeling like you are nestled in the middle of the forest far from anyone.

Make this a detour if you are exploring the Indian Springs Campground area.

Directions: I-80 to Eagle Lakes exit. Follow the road past Indian Springs Campground and continue on four-wheel drive road to parking area.

Depending on your vehicle, you may need to walk from the end of the pavement.


K. Ryan Hodgkin is a resident of Grass Valley. She can be reached by e-mail at ryanh@ or by telephone at 273-1801.

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