Wildflowers aplenty

The Lakeview Trail is a low elevation hike of eight miles out and back between the Raymond Bridge on Road 613 and Eastman Lake at the end of Road 29. The trail parallels the Chowchilla River with the Raymond Bridge trailhead 27 miles from Oakhurst.

My friend, Cindy, and I took this hike in early March. Not beginning the trek until afternoon meant an extremely warm but most rewarding hike. Signs at the trailhead warn hikers to carry plenty of water. There is water available at the Eastman Lake end of the trail.

We began at the Raymond Bridge trailhead finding scat embedded with a piece of fabric. The trail is wide but uneven in some areas and has enough ups and downs for a good workout even though there is not a significant elevation gain.

Wildflowers were plentiful: poppies, fiddleneck, popcornflowers, baby blue-eyes, lacepod (hairy fringepod), bush lupine and bird’s eye gilia.

Raccoon tracks were found in various places along the trail and a fox made a deposit in between our comings and goings.

A bald eagle sat near a nest in a tree toward the north end of Eastman Lake on a little peninsula, a northern harrier flew overhead as we were hiking back to the Raymond Bridge from Eastman Lake, and a red-winged blackbird sat in the cattails near the bridge.

The hike took about two hours in each direction. We did stop for photographic opportunities, a snack, and a chance to enjoy the view from a covered picnic area at the turn around point, which for us was at Eastman Lake. There are restrooms here as well and campsites that are open year round.

Eastman Lake was formed when the earth and rockfall Buchanan Dam was constructed on the Chowchilla River.

Car entrance to the facilities at Eastman Lake requires an entrance fee: $5 for a day pass but the America the Beautiful annual pass or the lifetime Senior Pass can also be used for entrance.

Several markers along the trail keep you apprised of your mileage progress. There are warnings posted at the trailhead to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes. The trail is open to hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers and the area is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Additional information about recreational activities in the area is available at: