Return to Bear Diversion Dam RoadKrizan: explore California

June 18, 2013 

A few weeks ago, I took a drive into the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Once past Huntington Lake at 7,000 feet, Road 168 starts its 17 mile journey over Kaiser Pass at 9,200 feet. Now this mountain road starts descending to the San Joaquin River at 6,330 feet. Located along this river is the historic resort called Mono Hot Springs, which was built and completed in 1947 by a retired contractor named Walter Hill. Since 1963, it has been owned and operated by the Winslow family. Jeff and Joe Winslow, father and son, are the present family owners. I must state this rustic resort has all the modern conveniences not expected for a resort located deep within the mountains. Excellent trout fishing along the San Joaquin River and if hiking is to your liking, there are old established trails originally used for centuries by the American Indians.

If you follow this mountain road another four miles to the Edison Lake Vermilion, this is another rustic resort nestled up to Edison Lake that offers great trout fishing and trailheads leading into the remote areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If you were considering following part of the John Muir Trail, The Vermilion offers fiery service across the lake to the trailhead.

My destination this trip was to drive the Bear Diversion Dam 4x4 Road to the Bear Creek Trailhead. A high clearance 4x4 vehicle is necessary to complete this round trip adventure. The trailhead is located above the dam north of the parking area. If you prefer trout fishing and driving a winding steep rocky mountain road, then try your luck at catching those large German Brown Trout that are waiting for you in the still waters behind the dam.

My hiking partner, Nancy, and I followed this scenic trail up stream next to Bear Creek. Our objective was to photograph Twin Falls above Emerald Pool. During the spring run-off the falls can be quite impressive. Maybe early June will offer a memorable photo opportunity of the falls.

How come time always creates an issue for completing a planned day hike? I've followed this trail many times in the past, but today we had to cut our hiking time and turn back early. But Bear Diversion Dam did give us spectacular photos of Bear Creek cascading down over the rocks behind the dam.

The wilderness of our Sierra Nevada Mountains will never disappoint me. What I missed on this adventure will be waiting for me to return in the future. If you enjoy history and time that seems to stand still, make the time and experience the wonders of our California Mountains.

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