Tony Krizan

Speckerman Mountain offers an easy hike with a little history

The hiking group heads up from the saddle to the summit
The hiking group heads up from the saddle to the summit Special to the Sierra Star

Recently I received an email from two seasoned hikers describing a forgotten hike snuggled close to us. The name Speckerman Mountain sounded familiar, but where did I read this information? I immediately started searching my library and there it was logged within those pages of Jim Putman’s book of Favorite Hikes of the Sierra Hiking Seniors. This trek is 5.3 miles of hiking with only 755 feet of elevation gain. The trailhead elevation is 6,400 feet and Speckerman Mountain is 7,155 feet.

tony krizan
Tony Krizan

Driving directions to this trailhead were almost a repeat of a few previous hikes. Travel Sky Ranch Road for 13 miles to road 6S07 turn left 0.2 miles to Big/Little Sandy Road. Turn left again at road 5S38 and look for a location to park, this is the trailhead. Hike this road 1.2 miles before starting the cross country trek. Also look for a used side road leading to a hunter’s camp. Do not follow this road to that camp. The trail you want to follow is at the intersecting point of both roads. Now following this abandoned trail or today we can call this path an established game trail that leads up to Grouse Meadow. Skirt the edge of this meadow until arriving at the saddle on the west end of Speckerman Mountain. Hike around to the north side before starting your ascent to Speckerman Mountain top. I would classify this hike as easy to moderate.

The only history that I could reference: this mountain was named after Thomas or Dewy Speckerman whose family ranch was located in Sugar Pine and they may have had a cabin at the mountain base sometime in the 1850s. Dewy must have been quite the hunter; it’s recorded that with a .22 rifle he shot a mountain lion which measured nine feet tip to tip. Dewy had a brother who lived in Coarsegold (no name) who died two days after hearing of his brother’s passing.

If anyone has any history concerning the Speckerman family, contact me and I will share the information with my readers. Also if anyone in your family has information from memory and would like to share, please contact me. Local history should not be forgotten.

grinding holes
Natural or sculptured grinding holes Special to the Sierra Star

The spring season should be the colorful season for this hike with wildflowers covering this small meadow. The Railroad Fire burned through this area two year ago so the underbrush is at a minimum. On a positive note, the fire exposed the canyon areas surrounding this mountain. On one huge flat rockcropping with the absence of brush it now exposed American Indian grinding holes. They could have been formed naturally from water erosion; I’m no geologist, so that is up for debate. Almost 95 percent of the ancient trees on this mountaintop have been lost to the Railroad Fire. Even today in this short period of time nature is starting to recover with new seedlings.

railroad fire scars
The aftermath of the Railroad Fire is evident at the top of Speckerman Mountain. Tony Krizan Special to the Sierra Star

With the natural removal of obstacles, the area has opened up distant views. Iron Mountain with its three ridge lines to the north and Fresno Dome to the south will fill your camera lens.

Retrace your steps on the return trek. At the end of Grouse Meadow make sure you cross to the left and follow the game trail back to the dirt road and the trailhead. If you decide to follow the run-off stream back to the road, you’ll add another mile to this hiking adventure. This hike should take no longer than 3.5 hours taking your time. With winter closing in on our Sierra, this trek will be a great start for your 2019 season. See you on the trail!