Old Mill Ruins

Large Fallen Tree at Anemometer Site

South and North Sisters from Lee Meadow

Traversing over to the Picnic Area Road

Lee Meadow (Upper & Lower) is the only mountain meadow for 150 miles in any direction! It is found on Lee Canyon Road to the right side just after the traffic circle. This is where ten hikers parked this morning for a very pleasant 3.3 mile loop of hiking. We parked along the side of the road at the meadow and started hiking across the meadow wash toward the South and North Sister peaks that rose to the northwest. This is also the direction of the nearby Old Mill Picnic & Camping area. Yes, after seeing several campers in the upper parts of the picnic area and seeing a sign saying that overnight camping was allowed for a fee of $12, we concluded that this is now a thing.

Starting up Old Mill Trail

So our route across the Lower Lee Meadow put us on a use trail that climbed a hill then gently dropped us into the picnic area. From there, we worked our way up to the picnic area paved road.

Old Mill Trail

Soon after we passed restrooms near the side of the road, we veered to the right onto a rock-lined path. This is the Old Mill Trail. Conversations were strong and I walked right by the South Sister Trail where I would have shown the group a cabin foundation that was associated with the Old Mill.

Pausing at the Old Mill Site

Reading Old Names on Aspens

We were walking and talking while following the clearly lined trail when we suddenly realized we were already at the Old Mill ruins. We stopped to take a couple of photos and read the engraved aspens nearby. The aspens were covered with carvings of old names from the time when the Old Mill was working. Names like Caleb, Sissy and Anel. We continued up the trail until we junctioned with Lower Bristlecone Trail, a forest road sometimes referred to as Scout Canyon Road. Our pace was slow with stops so we were keeping together pretty well. Here, we turned right and continued hiking to the apex of the hairpin turn not far away. Another right turn put us on the Pine Cone Canyon Trail. This trail begins on a gentle slope then turns into a steep bugger of a climb! We only ascended up to the weather anemometer where there are a few primitive campsites around. This is where we took our long break. When we got here, there were several horse and riders at the aluminum structure of the anemometer. We spoke with them for a few minutes and Rita got to rub one horse's nose!

Junctioning with Lower Bristlecone Trail

After our leisurely break, we hiked back down to the Lower Bristlecone Trail and turned left back from where we came. At the Old Mill junction, we kept going straight down the forest road.

Kids' Teepee Fort in the Woods

We were walking and talking again while taking in the beautiful scenery on this beautiful day. As we neared the Lower Bristlecone Trailhead, we noticed a trail that headed off the road to the left.

Horses & Riders at Anemometer Site

Break time at Anemometer Site

Feeling adventuresome, we all agreed to take the trail even though it was not familiar. After all, it led in the right direction! We had a lot of fun following the new route all the way down to Upper Lee Meadow. This route was about .25 mile shorter than the originally planned route that is reflected on the maps below but no one cared. It was fun to have a little adventure. Next, we followed the meadow down to our cars. This was a very pleasant and enjoyable day on the trails.
3.3 miles; 573' elevation gain; 2 hours; average moving speed 1.7 mph

Lower Bristlecone forest Road

Hiking into Lee Meadow

Arriving at the Cars